Climate change impacts state and national economies

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Chris Boone, Dean of the College of Global Futures and Professor at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss how climate change can affect our economy in very real ways.

Canadian wildfires have burned more than 20 million acres, which economists say will cost the country millions in trade. Canada supplies the U.S. with lumber, so those costs are expected to dramatically rise. Additionally, Arizona has many wildfires burning currently, which will cost the state money. Weather events have been responsible for large amounts of expensive damage across the country.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), last year they estimated there was $162 billion in damages from weather related damages and disasters. There were over $121 billion in damages during that one year, and this is increasing over time,” said Boone.

Arizona is currently in the midst of a record-breaking heatwave with temperatures constantly in the triple digits. Extreme heat brings health risks but also economic risks as well.

“When we get these high heat events like we’re experiencing right now, that means more visits to the emergency room, and there’s a cost associated with that. That means more emergency responders are having to respond to those events, and there’s a cost associated with that, and then the lost productivity is an economic cost which means we aren’t being as productive, we aren’t adding to the local economy,” explained Boone.

In terms of solutions to the problem, Boone believes preventative measures need to be taken to try and mitigate the damages that climate change can have.

“Instead of trying to get the exact consequence of what those future climate changes are going to be, we should assume that there’s going to be more extreme events and factor that into the investments and the designs that we’re making for the infrastructure we already have,” said Boone.

Chris Boone, Dean of the College of Global Futures and Professor at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University

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