And the price is exorbitant. So, in the previous five years, the United States has suffered direct losses of more than $500 billion (with a B) as a result of climate-related weather disasters. And it doesn't include the disasters of 2020, which are expected to cost tens of billions of dollars. That's according to a report published by NASA last week.
The total cost of hurricanes, cyclones, and other tropical storms has been estimated at $75 billion since 2005. The total cost of wildfires has been estimated at $9 billion since 2010. The total cost of sea level rise has been estimated at $120 billion since 1990. And the total economic loss from drought has been estimated at $50 billion since 2000. Yes, that's more than $300 billion in just five years!
The main cause of these losses is not climate change itself, but rather our failure to address it. Climate change increases the frequency and intensity of natural disasters like hurricanes and floods, which means that they affect more people and cause greater damage. In fact, according to NASA, "the costs of hurricanes, cyclones, and other tropical storms have increased by about $75 billion (in 2005 dollars) in the past seven years."
The reason we fail to address climate change is because it poses a huge financial risk to businesses. If countries don't reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it can lead to future climate changes and more frequent and severe disasters.
According to one research, climate warming has cost the United States billions of dollars in flood damage. Intensifying rainfall induced by climate change has caused about $75 billion in flood damage in the United States over the last three decades, according to Stanford University researchers in a new study. The study also found that climate change has led to more frequent and intense heat waves that have killed an estimated 70,000 people since 1995.
In addition, sea level rise has caused widespread damage through flooding and land loss. A recent study estimated that if current trends continue, we will see $20 billion in damage each year by 2050. The study also said that if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced immediately, then the financial impact could be less than what it is now.
According to the World Economic Forum, poor air quality costs the United States $617 billion in harm each year. Furthermore, the EPA estimates that the United States spends around $65 billion each year cleaning the air. This amount does not include other costs associated with air pollution such as increased healthcare expenses or lost productivity due to air pollution-related illness.
Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in the United States. Every year, air pollution causes an estimated 88,000 deaths -- nearly half of all deaths attributed to environmental factors. Additionally, air pollution has been linked to additional deaths from diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Taken together, these numbers make clear that air pollution is a serious public health issue in the United States.
The most common types of air pollutants are carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (primarily from diesel vehicles), fine particles (soot) from power plants and fireplaces, and ozone. All of these elements can lead to severe health problems if they are inhaled into the lungs. The main effect of air pollution on humans is through its association with lung cancer and respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, asthma attacks, and pneumonia.
Air pollution comes from many sources including cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trains, airplanes, boats, lawnmowers, sizzling hot plates, wood fires, and industrial facilities.
Learn more about the cost of reversing global climate change and obtain statistics on the consequences of climate change on communities worldwide. Estimates of the cost of reversing global climate change range from $300 billion to $50 trillion over the next two decades.
The best available evidence suggests that fixing global warming will be very expensive. The main obstacles are economic, not technological. Reversing current trends in carbon emissions would require a massive expansion in the use of renewable energy technologies and an aggressive effort to reduce waste heat-emitting industries release into the atmosphere. Even if all fossil fuels were abandoned immediately, the damage already done would be difficult or impossible to reverse.
The good news is that the costs of solar power and other renewables are falling fast, so they could provide part of the solution for free. Ocean science has shown that the faster we switch off fossil fuel combustion the less expensive it will be, because the transition would be done gradually and there would be time to prepare. But switching off the fossil fuels that power the entire world each year would be impossible without getting serious about nuclear power. In fact, some studies have suggested that shutting down all nuclear power plants now would be cheaper than keeping them operating.
The bottom line is that reversing global climate change is going to cost a lot, but it may not be as expensive as you think.
According to one analysis, defending the United States from rising sea levels will cost $400 billion over the next 20 years. According to a research published Thursday, protecting the United States' coastlines from rising sea levels may cost an estimated $400 billion over the next 20 years. The study was conducted by researchers at North Carolina State University and was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The price tag includes expenses for new defenses like seawalls and high-tide gates as well as repairs and improvements to existing barriers. It also takes into account lost tourism revenue and other costs that would be incurred if seas continue to rise in the future.
The price of $400 billion is actually less than previous studies have estimated. In 2016, another group of scientists said building sea walls along America's coasts could cost up to $50 billion. And last year, another study suggested that investing in coastal protection projects could cost as much as $90 billion.
The latest report notes that these are all large estimates that don't include funds needed for maintenance or replacements down the road. It also doesn't consider other benefits of coastal defense, such as reduced flood damages or increased land availability for development.
However, the report does confirm what many already know: Protecting our coastlines from rising seas is expensive.