Climate change is already affecting everyday lives. Record-breaking temperatures, melting ice on land and sea, more frequent coastal flooding, prolonged droughts, and damaging storms are just some of the intensifying risks communities face as the globe continues to warm. The best available scientific evidence suggests that these changes are likely to accelerate, with implications for the health and welfare of every community around the world and the performance of every sector of the economy.

To confront these challenges, business leaders, policymakers, investors, and other stakeholders need information about the nature of the risks they face. The Climate Impact Lab brings together some of the nation’s top climate economists, scientists, data engineers and risk analysts to paint a vivid picture of the community-by-community impacts of climate change on mortality, energy use, worker productivity, food supply, and coastal infrastructure around the world.

This research will allow decisionmakers in the public and private sectors to understand the risks climate change presents and mitigate those risks through smarter investments and public policy. The Lab’s researchers have combined this sectoral data to quantify the social costs of those impacts to produce the world’s first empirically derived estimate of the social cost of carbon — the cost to society from each ton of carbon dioxide emitted. This tool is designed to underpin climate policies in the United States and has been used to implement more than 80 regulations projected to produce more than $1 trillion of benefits. The Biden administration has relied on the Lab’s approach to guide new climate rulemaking, including vehicle and power plant regulations.

Through an extensive partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Lab research is bringing actionable information on the local impacts of climate change to those planning policies and adaptation measures in the poorest economies expected to experience the worst impacts. The jointly formed “Human Climate Horizons” platform launched at COP26 and returned to present updated insights at COP27, helping to guide global climate commitments and local policymakers.

The Lab has also partnered with Nike to study the connection between climate change and athletic performance; the International Monetary Fund, Federal Reserve System and Commodity Futures Trading Commission to provide an evidence-based snapshot of how climate change will impact investment decisions; and Realtor.com and Redfin.com to help investors, developers, homebuyers and homeowners gauge flood risk for any property in America. To advance the state of knowledge within the research community, the Lab has made its data available on the Microsoft Planetary Computer, empowering researchers to search, discover, and interact with the data with ease—amplifying its positive impact.

The Climate Impact Lab team combines experts from the University of California, Berkeley, the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), Rhodium Group, and Rutgers University. EPIC provides core financial and administrative support for the Lab.

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