September 12, 2018
Climate Change Activists Defy Trump’s Inaction With Their Own Summit
EPIC's Amir Jina comments on the extreme weather and climate events of the past year and the effect climate change will have on the U.S. economy.
By Emily Holdenvia The Guardian
Senior figures representing US states, cities and businesses rebelling against Donald Trump’s denial of climate change are swarming San Francisco this week to proclaim their own efforts to meet US commitments to cut greenhouse gases.
The two-day Global Climate Action Summit beginning Thursday will also feature diplomats and mayors from around the world. As well, chief executives of Fortune 500 companies and celebrities ranging from actor Harrison Ford to primatologist Jane Goodall all plan to be there.
Local governments and corporations will announce new goals to boost renewable energy and run more sustainably. America’s Pledge – a group led by California Governor Jerry Brown and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – will unveil how close the US could come to the climate pollution reductions the Obama administration promised the world in Paris in 2015. Trump pulled out of that accord shortly after he became president in 2017.
Amir Jina, a post-doctoral scholar at the Climate Impact Lab collaborative group and professor at the University of Chicago, said the last year and a half in the US has been a harbinger for the future of climate change. Hurricanes are likely to become more intense, rapid sea-level rise will exacerbate dangerous storm surge, some regions will see record rainfall, and others will struggle with drought. The world can pay far less now to limit those effects or far more later to adapt to them, Jina said.
As temperatures rise, impacts will become more severe, and they will be uneven across the US, Jina and his colleagues’ research shows.
Climate change on its current path will be a drag on the economy, slowing gross domestic product 4% or 5% annually, Jina said. If the world limited warming to 2C , as the Paris agreement intends, that number would be closer to 0.5% or 1.5%.
“It might seem like a small amount, this is 4% of your income, but because we see this unequal impact, it’s important to think of not what the overall effect is but who is being affected,” Jina said.
In some parts of the US, climate change could decrease GDP 20% to 25% below where it would be without the effects of climate change, Jina warned.