Climate change will hit poorest the hardest in U.S.

Climate change will hit poorest the hardest in U.S.

Union County is Florida's smallest county with a beautiful landlocked stretch of pine forest interspersed with lakes. This county is the poorest co

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Union County is Florida’s smallest county with a beautiful landlocked stretch of pine forest interspersed with lakes.

This county is the poorest county by per capita income and is ground zero for the economic collapse that climate change will cause in the U.S.
The study was published in Science considering effects of climate change on the economies of all 3,144 counties in the U.S.

Union County is one of a host of developing counties in the South that will be stricken by the impacts of climate change. Wealthy counties in the north might make economic gains because of new agricultural land opening up and less deaths due to cold weather. The findings show that strong response is needed to address climate change at the national level.

Amir Jina, the co-author of the new study, said. “At high resolution, there will be winners and losers from climate change within the U.S., and we have a strong-evidenced based relationship between temperatures and damage (at the county level),”

Climate projections that have carbon pollution continuing on its current trajectory to 2100 were used in the study, which helped model how climate change could impact the economy.

Poor counties will suffer greatly from rising temperatures. An average loss of 11 percent of GDP will hit 100 poorest counties in contrast to 100 richest counties which will lose just 1 percent.

Jina said:“We’ve known for ten years or so that there’s a lot of important threshold effects in all these impacts. Labor productivity is a typical example. It looks like temperature doesn’t influence the time you work in agriculture or manufacturing until your day gets up to around 35°C, and then you start working a lot slower. So if I’m in a place close to the threshold, then a small change in threshold has notable risks on the economy or well-being.”

By the end of the century, Union County will lose 27 percent of its county income due to rise in temperatures.

Jina said: “You’re able to see where our policy priorities should be by matching those (economic sectors).

Noah Kaufman said: “From a methodological viewpoint, ‘bottom up’ county-level damage assessments are a massive step forward for this literature. Damage assessments are at the country level at best, which restricts real-world applicability. County-level estimates will have significant implications for adaptation and resilience planning, and, as the paper emphasises, the findings tell a new story regarding within-country distributional impacts of climate damage.”

Thomas Sterner, an environmental economist at the Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, said: “Similar studies can and should be done in many countries and eventually we will start to get a better picture of the damage to be expected. This will be crucial to decisions on both mitigation and adaptation investments.”

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