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Climate Change Impacts

Economic Loss and Damage

Declining crop yields could put hundreds of thousands of people at risk for starvation. 

Climate change is affecting businesses and economies at home and around the world. If action is not taken to curb global carbon emissions, climate change could cost between 5 and 20 percent of the annual global gross domestic product, according to a British government report. In comparison, it would take 1 percent of GDP to lessen the most damaging effects of climate change, the report says.

These global costs will be felt by local communities and businesses:

  • In southern New England lobster catches have plummeted because of heat stresses and growing parasite threats due to rising sea temperatures.
  • Ski resorts located in the lower altitudes of the Swiss Alps have difficulty obtaining bank loans because of declining snow.
  • In Lake Erie, climate change may significantly lower lake levels, altering shoreline habitats and costing millions for the relocation of ports and shore infrastructure.

Globally, more intense hurricanes and downpours could cause billions of dollars in damage to property and infrastructure. Declining crop yields due to prolonged drought and high temperatures, especially in Africa, could put hundreds of thousands of people at risk for starvation.

High sea temperatures also threaten the survival of coral reefs, which generate an estimated $375 billion per year in goods and services.

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