Model Predicts Economic Damage from Climate Change to be Greatest in the South in the US

Caitlin Dempsey

Updated:

Academics have modeled the effects of climate change on six economic sectors using a model they developed called Spatial Empirical Adaptive Global-to-Local Assessment System (SEAGLAS).  The model combines forty-four climate models and model surrogates to look at the future economic effects of climate change.  The study, recently published in the journal Science, builds on the work outlined in the authors’ 2015 book, “Economic Risks of Climate Change.”

A sampling of how changes in average temperatures will affect corn production, mortality, and violent crime rates. Source: Hsiang, et. al., 2017
A sampling of how changes in average temperatures will affect corn production, mortality, and violent crime rates. Source: Hsiang, et. al., 2017

SEAGLAS assessed the combined value of market and nonmarket damage across analyzed sectors—agriculture, crime, coastal storms, energy, human mortality, and labor and found that every rise of  +1°C in mean global temperature costs 1.2% of gross domestic product.  SEAGLAS also found that the geographic distribution of economic damage in the United States is unequal, with the south experiencing a greater proportion of economic damaged.  The authors also concluded that income equality is predicted to increased with climate change as wealth transfer northward and westward.

Maps showing how climate change will adversely affect the United States in areas of agriculture, crime, life span, property damage, and labor. Source: Hsiang, et. al, 2017.
Maps showing how climate change will adversely affect the United States in areas of agriculture, crime, life span, property damage, and labor. Source: Hsiang, et. al, 2017.

References

Hsiang, S., Kopp, R., Jina, A., Rising, J., Delgado, M., Mohan, S., … Houser, T. (2017). Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States. Science, 356(6345), 1362. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aal4369


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Houser, T., Hsiang, S., Kopp, R., & Larsen, K. (2015). Economic risks of climate change: an American prospectus. Columbia University Press.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.