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October 10, 2018
What Does Climate Change Really Cost Society? This Lab Is Trying To Find Out
The Guardian's Emily Holden spent a day with Climate Impact Lab researchers at EPIC and profiles its work to calculate the social cost of carbon down to the local level.
By Emily Holdenvia The Guardian
One of the biggest hubs of real-time climate research is a lab hundreds of miles from the rising seas and melting ice caps. There are no test tubes or beakers. Instead young scientists and economists hunch over computers analyzing the newest data.
A group of them are currently reviewing a study that considers whether crime levels are connected to monsoon seasons. The findings are a tiny part of a big question: how much is climate change costing society, and who’s paying?
“Each time we use energy from fossil fuels, we are causing some kind of cost on someone who’s not involved,” said Amir Jina, a professor at the University of Chicago and member of the Climate Impact Lab. “By causing that damage we’re essentially taking money away from them because of some interaction, whether it’s driving our cars or turning on our light switches.”
The world is far off track to limit catastrophic climate change and needs to undertake unprecedented changes within the next 12 years to avoid the worst of warming, according to international scientists. Barring a radical transformation in how people live, temperatures will continue to rise and climate costs will grow. The Climate Impact Lab wants to know how much they will increase and how dangerous the planet will become.