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Fifty State Report On The Costs of Climate Change

The American Security Project has issued a report on the projected costs of Climate Change for each of the fifty States entitled “Pay Now, Pay Later.” The premise of the reports is basically that, one way or the other, we are going to pay for the effects of Climate Change and taking the initiative now can prevent at least some of the significant economic disruption and human suffering projected to develop during this century.

The report on New York, for example, notes in part:

“By the 2020s, a consensus of climate models project annual precipitation to increase by (sic) to 5%, and sea levels to rise by 2-5 inches-or roughly twice that under a rapid ice-melt scenario. …Current 10-year floods are predicted to occur as often as every 6.5 years by the 2020s….Assuming a current 10-year flood triggered claims on just 1% of insured coastal properties (about $22 billion) then the increase in frequency during the period from 2020 to 2040 (three rather than two floods) could be expected to cost an extra $550 million per year ($22 billion over 20 years).”

The report goes on to note that in the event a category 3 hurricane hits New York City, it is predicted to flood a third of lower Manhattan, which is the home of the financial markets, where 160,000 people work. In addition, it is predicted that by 2020 heat related deaths in New York City alone could reach 850.

Similar effects are predicted in other states as a result of global warming, sea level rise and increased storms. Yet, the reports also point out that by preparing now and investing in programs and industries that can combat the effects of climate change there are opportunities.

Again referring to New York the report states:

“As dire as New York’s future seems from climate change, the state has a tremendous capacity for initiatives that will help offset these negative effects and produce positive results….A major investment in clean energy could create an estimated 109,000 jobs in New York State.”

Likewise, in the case of California, the report notes:

“Although climate change could devastate vital sectors of California’s economy, the state is well-poised to benefit from developing renewable sources of energy. This is especially pertinent considering that California is the 12th largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.”

-Steven Silverberg

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