Apr 25, 2018
By CIARA LINNANE
Researchers calculate that climate change will shave more than $100 billion off GDP in those two states
Florida and Texas are the two states expected to suffer the greatest economic damage from climate change, according to a new study from Science magazine.
The study used a model that aimed to calculate the future impact on each state’s gross domestic product (GDP) from events including hurricanes, storm surges, changes in agricultural yields, changing electricity demands, changes in mortality rates, changes to the labor supply, rising sea levels and rising crime rates.
Researchers calculated that Florida will lose $100.9 billion from GDP due to climate change, while Texas will lose $100.7 billion.
California comes in third place at an expected impact of $59.6 billion. California has recently suffered a severe drought, as well as devastating wildfires, that caused billions of dollars in damages to homes. New York, still recovering from the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, comes in fourth place with estimated losses of $54.7 billion.
While coastal states are expected to lose the most as sea levels rise and warmer ocean temperatures make hurricanes stronger, states in the middle of the country are also expected to suffer billion-dollar hits to growth as tornadoes become more frequent.
Rhode Island is an exception as a coastal state with a low estimated loss of just $200 million, the study found. However, Rhode Island is one is the smallest of the 50 U.S. states. Equally, Wyoming, which is also expected to lose just $200 million, is the least-populated state.
The study comes amid a concerted effort by climate activists to help the U.S. meet the goals of the Paris Accord of limiting temperature change to below 2 degrees Celsius by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That goal has been put at risk by President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the treaty.
On Sunday, former New York Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg said he would donate $4.5 million of his own money to the UN Climate Change Secretariat, which helps other countries implement their Paris Agreement commitments.
Meanwhile, more companies are including disclosures on climate-change risk in their financial reporting and many are adopting sustainability programs and goals. Nonprofit Ceres says they are not still not moving fast enough, however, to affect real change.
On Tuesday, that effort won fresh support when Legal and General Investment Management, one of Europe’s biggest investors with assets under management of almost £1 trillion, said it is preparing to name and shame companies that do not pursue sustainability goals and will stop investing in their shares.
The firm is first planning to “name and fame” companies that have performed well, Helena Morrissey, head of personal investing, told a London conference.
“Climate change risk is a financial risk — in the last six years, coal companies have lost 75pc of their value,” she said.