A photo taken at night of raging wildfires fueled by climate change’s higher temperatures and drier conditions.

Climate change is arguably the world’s most vital challenge. Communities are already experiencing its impacts in more intense storms, extreme temperatures, agricultural shifts, and more. Efforts to address climate change, however, continue to be stalled by a classic set of economic problems—the benefits that come from avoiding it are difficult to grasp, while the near-term costs of preventative policies are perceived as too high.

A deeper, evidence-based understanding of the present and future effects of climate change—on the environment, on regional business and the global economy, and on human health—is essential to accelerating progress toward policies designed to slow it. EPIC scholars are blazing the path to empirically grounded estimates of the local and global effects of climate change on mortality rates, agricultural yields, labor productivity, storm damage, and more at a highly localized level for communities around the world. Taken together, this work will inform the world’s first global social cost of carbon — the cost to society from each ton of carbon dioxide emitted – that can be used by governments worldwide to set climate policy. These efforts are leading the way to new policy approaches that will accelerate economic development, reduce harmful emissions, and improve lives around the world.