New Lab to Assess the Real-World Costs of Climate Change
Climate Impact Lab rolls out its first set of data in interactive map, featured in the New York Times.
The Climate Impact Lab, an unprecedented collaboration of economists, climate scientists, and computational experts from several institutions—led by EPIC, the Rhodium Group, Rutgers University and the University of California, Berkeley—rolled out its first research results today in the New York Times.
The Lab is building the world’s most comprehensive body of research quantifying the impacts of climate change and connecting those impacts to communities across the globe, allowing decision-makers to assess risks, plan and adapt. This research will also 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 critical figure can serve as the basis for energy and climate policies around the world.
“The Climate Impact Lab is redefining the way the world will measure, manage and communicate the costs and risks of climate change,” says EPIC Director Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics, the College and the Harris School. “In doing so, we are providing decision-makers with the information they need to both craft policies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and manage the risks of an already changing climate.”
The Climate Impact Lab launched today the first window into the results of its comprehensive effort: the Climate Impact Map. The interactive map allows users to explore the future of extreme temperatures in 25,000 regions globally. You can view the map on the Lab’s website here.
In the weeks and months ahead, the map will be updated to include additional insights into the social and economic impacts of climate change. For example, users will be able to see the link between temperatures and public health where they live, the change in labor productivity because of extreme heat, the need for new land use choices to mitigate damages from droughts or flooding based on changes in agricultural productivity, and the costs of infrastructure damage due to storms and sea level rise along their coastline.
You can read more about the Lab’s work thus far in the New York Times, here, and below.
Learn more about the Lab on its website here.
Follow the Impact Lab on Twitter at @impact_lab.
And, sign up to receive news from the Lab here.
NY Times: 95-Degree Days: How Extreme Heat Could Spread Across the World
By: Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich
June 22, 2017
Extremely hot days, when temperatures soar to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, can be miserable. Crops wilt in the fields. Electric grids strain to keep pace with demand. People are at greater risk of dying. And those hot temperatures are expected to be much more frequent in the coming decades.
Global warming under Paris pledges
The map above, based on a new analysis from the Climate Impact Lab, shows how 95-degree days (35 degrees Celsius) are expected to multiply this century if countries take moderate climate action. In this scenario, countries would take some measures, but not drastic ones, to curb emissions — roughly the trajectory of the current pledges under the Paris climate agreement.
The resulting global warming would still cause significant shifts for many cities. In Washington, from 1986 to 2005, an average of seven days each year had temperatures of at least 95 degrees. By the end of the century, the city can expect 29 of these extremely hot days per year, on average. (The likely range is 14 to 46 hot days per year.)
Phoenix is used to the heat, averaging 124 days per year with 95-degree weather. At the end of the century, that’s expected to increase to around 155 days — an extra month of extreme temperatures each year. Madrid would go from eight severely hot days per year to 43, Beijing from nine to 35.
The swings are even greater closer to the equator. New Delhi, India’s capital city, has historically averaged 105 days with temperatures of at least 95 degrees each year. That’s likely to rise to a range of 137 to 200 days per year.
Things could get worse if countries fail to take action
If the world’s nations took no action on global warming, and emissions continued to rise at the same pace they did in the first decade of this century — with total global warming of 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit or more — extremely hot days would become much more commonplace.
Global warming if no action is taken