How will global warming harm U.S. communities, infrastructure, and the economy?

October 29, 2020

Nationwide, the cost of weather and climate-related disasters is already rising, and the trend is likely to continue as many extreme events become more frequent and severe. The economic impacts of extreme events include not just the direct damages, but also the loss of productivity and interruption of essential services and supply chains that can reach deep into the national economy. 

A photo of mud and flood debris beneath an overpass in Ellicott City, MD

Mud and flood debris blanketed a section of main street below an overpass in Ellicott City, Maryland, after flash flooding in late May 2018. Photo courtesy Howard County Government

In many parts of the country, existing infrastructure—septic and stormwater systems, roads, bridges, the energy grid—was not designed to cope with current and future sea level and climate extremes, and current levels of investment aren’t enough to cover necessary repairs and upgrades. 

Beyond extreme events, human-caused climate change is likely to disrupt many sectors of the U.S. economy and the communities that depend on them, including commercial and recreational fisheries, tourism and recreation, and agriculture. 

References

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