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How the United States Economy Could Fare Against Unabated Climate Change

The economic prospects of the United States in the face of unabated climate change are fraught with considerable challenges. The escalating impacts of climate change, such as rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and sea-level rise, pose multifaceted threats to key sectors of the economy. Agriculture, for instance, may grapple with shifts in growing conditions, affecting crop yields and livestock productivity. Coastal regions, integral to commerce and trade, face heightened risks due to sea-level rise, impacting infrastructure, trade routes, and port operations.

The energy sector confronts challenges as climate change intensifies, with potential disruptions to the production and distribution of fossil fuels. Simultaneously, there is an increasing imperative to transition towards sustainable and resilient energy sources, necessitating substantial investments and reshaping traditional industries.

The insurance and financial sectors face heightened risks as the frequency and severity of climate-related events rise, potentially leading to increased claims and financial instability. Moreover, the health sector may experience amplified burdens due to the spread of infectious diseases, heat-related illnesses, and challenges in providing adequate healthcare in the wake of extreme weather events.

The map below shows anticipated annual damage from climate change at a county-by-county level during 2080-2099 under a high-emissions trajectory.

unabated climate change poses a systemic risk to the U.S. economy, impacting various sectors and potentially leading to increased economic volatility, reduced productivity, and heightened financial uncertainties. Adaptation measures and efforts to mitigate climate change are imperative to bolster the resilience of the economy and minimize the potentially severe economic consequences associated with unchecked climate impacts.

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