A new study from the World Economic Forum argues that climate change could cost $12.5 trillion in lost global GDP and be the cause of death for 14.5 million people between now and 2050. America’s GDP in 2022 was approximately $25 trillion.
The report “Quantifying the Impact of Climate Change on Human Health” also estimates an additional $1.1 trillion in costs to the healthcare system over this period.
According to this report, floods will account for as many as 8.5 million deaths, followed by extreme heat at 3.2 million. These heat waves will cost $7.1 trillion in lost global GDP between now and 2050.
The spread of disease will be another result of climate change. “By 2050, an additional 500 million people may be at risk of exposure to vector-borne diseases.”
The list of diseases worsened by climate change and their costs is long. They include malnutrition, heart disease, infectious diseases, respiratory ailments, anxiety, stress and PTSD.
The 49-page study goes into great detail about the specific types of loss of life and economic productivity. It concludes with what almost all other studies of the climate crisis do. Time has not run out. Public policy can mitigate or even reverse some of the worst effects of climate change. At some point, although no one knows when that will be for certain, there will no longer be time or opportunity to reverse the impact of the climate crisis.
As is the case with many of these reports, 2050 is so far off that it is unlikely that the information will be accurate.