A new study on the effects of climate change shows that rising temperatures are going to cost more than just money; they could also cost you your health, or even worse, your life.
The report, titled “Risky Business,” published by former hedge fund manager and climate activist Tom Steyer, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former treasury secretary Hank Paulson, discusses a variety of ways climate change is expected to affect the United States.
By the end of the century, the average American can expect to see three times as many days with temperatures of 95-degrees or more, anywhere from 45-96 days per year. This increase in temperature poses a risk to those engaged in outdoor activities, including outdoor workers, who could be at least 3 percent less productive in those extreme temperatures, the report suggests.
“As temperatures rise, toward the end of the century, less than an hour of activity outdoors in the shade could cause a moderately fit individual to suffer heat stroke,” said Robert Kopp of Rutgers University, climatologist and lead scientific author of the report. “That’s something that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world today.”
“If it’s humid you can’t sweat, and if you can’t sweat you can’t maintain core body temperature in the heat, and you die,” said co-author Dr. Al Sommer, dean emeritus of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.
Death totals from the heat are projected to increase by 11,000 to 36,000 additional deaths that what are occurring at current population levels.
Financially, most of the United States will see an increase in energy costs as more regions will become dependant upon air conditioning for longer periods of the year. The report projects that the cost of electricity could cost Americans an additional $12 billion annually.
The report also states that the higher sea levels, combined with an increase in coastal storms, could increase the amount of damage to coastal real estate. In Florida alone, “between $15 billion and $23 billion of existing property will likely be underwater by 2050, a number that grows to $53 billion to $208 billion by the end of the century,” the report warns.
Factoring in the potential changes in hurricane activity, the report states that “the likely increase in average annual loss grows up to $7.3 billion, bringing the total annual price tag for hurricanes and other coastal storms to $35 billion.”
Despite the amount of evidence widely accepted by the majority of the scientific community, and that the planet just had its warmest May on record, some conservatives– especially those backed financially by the Koch Brothers-– are still pushing the idea that climate change is not real. Maybe seeing just how much damage rising temperatures will do to their bank accounts will serve as a much-needed wake-up call.