Environmentalists and economists are starting to talk about the same thing: the world is changing. A new study quantified the impact of climate change on GDP. Climate is inherently local, so the effects are local environmentally and economically. Sudan’s GDP is 36% lower because of climate change. Norway’s is 34% higher. One reason so many Americans may not recognize the change is that mid-latitudes experienced smaller changes.
“The U.S. was middle of the road: Climate change dragged down its GDP by just 0.2 percent from 1961 to 2010.” – Grist
The US is also so large and diverse that various environments can balance each other out, even as some regions witness extremes. One consequence is that national wealth inequalities may be exacerbated. Countries that were poor because of poor climate, like desert areas, may become even less habitable. Cooler, richer countries may benefit from longer growing seasons and smaller heating requirements. The disparities are not academic for the people living in those regions. It won’t be a surprise to find refugees migrating from the tropics farther north and south. They feel it necessary for personal reasons, but the core causes may be climate affecting economies affecting political (in)stability. These are not projections. These are existing consequences that may explain current shifts in our world. If the climate doesn’t stop changing, the other changes won’t stop either.