Economist Joseph Stiglitz recently announced that he believes climate change is the most important issue facing the U.S. economy today. Certainly, climate change is serious global issue, but how exactly will it affect the U.S. economy? What follows are some statistics on climate change's impact on the U.S. economy, gathered primarily from non-governmental organizations that deal with climate-change issues.
- Climate change is projected to cost the average U.S. household $1,250 per year by 2020, $1,800 per year by 2040 and $2,750 per year by 2080.
- Climate change will likely cost the U.S. economy $3.8 billion per year by 2020, $6.5 billion per year by 2040 and $12.9 billion by 2080.
- The U.S. economy may be held back by 2% of GDP over the next 20 years because of climate change.
- Failure to act on climate change already costs the world economy 1.2 trillion dollars in lost prosperity each year, according to one study.
- Lost prosperity associated with rising temperatures and carbon-related pollution could double costs to 3.2% of world GDP by 2030.
- Climate change is a leading global cause of death, responsible for an estimated 5 million deaths each year.
- From 1980 through 2011, U.S. weather disasters caused losses of $1.06 trillion.
- In 2011, the United States broke the record for the most billion-dollar weather disasters in a year.
- Due to climate change, the timber industry is expected to suffer from an increased prevalence of pests, slower growth rates for trees and more frequent wildfires, resulting in a decrease in revenue of $1 billion to $2 billion per year.