A new U.S. government report confirms that due to climate change we are in for serious troubles in the future, which will cost countries hundreds of billions each year and displace many millions of people who live in danger zones.
The top three countries in the world to lose the most economically from climate change are India, the United States, and Saudi Arabia. Science Daily reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that carbon emissions at the level created in 2017 are already costing the U.S. economy about $250 billion per year. This cost is the second highest in the world following India.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Moody’s estimates of hurricane damage are already in the hundreds of billions. The damage from hurricane Florence that hit the Carolinas in September 2018 will be up to $50 billion. The damage from the three previous hurricanes was $133 billion for Harvey, $120 billion for Maria, and $82 billion for Irma. An article that appeared in the Insurance Journal says that the estimates of the damages from the recent wildfires in California are $9 to $12 billion.
The newest report called the Fourth National Climate Assessment comes from the U.S. Global Change Research Program. It summarizes the published research of over 2,000 scientists studying the effects of climate change on the world. The FAQs from the climate change report say that the expectations are that these natural disasters may occur with much more frequency. Natural disasters in the U.S. alone could easily top $200 to $400 billion each year. If you like to read it all, you can download the full report.
For those who would like to learn more about climate change in an easier way, there is a website that NASA made, which is very easy to understand. It is called Climate Kids or you can watch an excellent explanation narrated by a child on YouTube.
The Bad News is Global
Wired reports the record-setting hurricanes and wildfires that have already happened in America are just the beginning of much worse things to come. The impacts of climate change are global and will affect all parts of the world. High storm surges are just as likely to continue to damage part of the United States as they will cause disasters in Bangladesh.
What can an individual do?
Being afraid of climate change is not very helpful unless it motivates us to try to do something about it. Being motivated itself is not enough, we also need to know what we can do. Waiting on governments, technology, or some miracle to save us is probably not such a good idea.
Here are five things that almost any person can do right now that will make a difference:
Consume and waste less: Reuse and recycle more. We waste a lot. Make it one of your life goals to have a zero-waste lifestyle or get as close as you can to this lifestyle.
Pollute less: Ride a bicycle or walk for short distances instead of taking a car. This is a good way to help reduce carbon dioxide in the air that is part of the greenhouse gasses making climate change worse. It is also good for your health to get some exercise.
Help with disaster relief: Learn what you can about making yourself a useful person for disaster relief efforts and volunteer to help if disaster strikes.
Get out of danger zones: If you live in or near a danger zone (coast area, forests, places with seismic or volcanic activity etc.) now is the time to move. Make it your goal to escape the danger and live in a safer place.
If you cannot move, be prepared: If you own a home, get more insurance for disasters. For example, get flood insurance even if you do not live in a flood zone but there is one nearby. Have an emergency plan and always be diligent about emergency preparedness.
Climate change is already happening. Many think it is too late to do something about it. By taking some of the five steps we suggest to change yourself, you will feel more empowered about this serious issue facing the entire human race. Be part of the solution and contribute less to the problem before we all fade away.