From: Rutgers University
Published June 24, 2014 12:38 PM

The economic risks of climate change

New independent report identifies challenges facing U.S. businesses and policymakers; describes strategies to avoid significant, unequally-spread economic disruptions.

The American economy faces major risks from climate change, including damaging coastal storms, growing heat-related mortality, and declining labor productivity, according to an independent report released today by business, education and political leaders.

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The report, titled Risky Business, relies upon research also released today in the American Climate Prospectus: Economic Risks in the United States.(ACP). Like a financial prospectus, the prospectus assesses the risks and opportunities for the United States associated with ongoing and future climate change.

The ACP, co-led by a Rutgers climate scientist along with colleagues from the University of California, Berkeley, and from the private consultancy Rhodium Group, is the first to provide a national set of estimates of costs to key sectors of the state economies.

"We looked at risks across the United States in more geographic detail than most previous risk modeling efforts have done before," said Robert Kopp, associate professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences. "The costs of climate change in New Jersey differ from the costs in Florida, which differ from those in Colorado and Illinois."

Kopp, who is also an associate director of the Rutgers Energy Institute and affiliated with the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, worked with a team of scientists and economists to produce the ACP.

The new report also looks at a range of impacts, including property damage caused by coastal storms, changes in crop yields and labor productivity. The report projects that as the country suffers longer and hotter heat waves, many regions will see reduced crop yields, fewer hours that workers can spend outdoors and straining energy systems.

Image shows the Casino Pier Star Jet roller coaster submerged in the sea on January 13, 2013 in Seaside Heights, NJ via Shutterstock.

Read more at Rutgers University.

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