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The U.S. National Climate Assessment

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Friday afternoon, the Trump administration (aka 13 federal agencies) released a 1,656-page report describing the potentially disastrous effects of climate change on the U.S. economy.

And while this report wasn't the first edition of the U.S. National Climate Assessment (the government is required to publish one every four years), it sounds the loudest alarm. The main takeaway?

  • "With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century."

In fact, the losses are already piling up. Here's a quick look at three different sectors profiled in the National Climate Assessment.

Supply chains

  • Big picture: "Current and projected climate-related impacts on our economy include increased risks to overseas operations of U.S. businesses, disruption of international supply chains, and shifts in the availability and prices of commodities."
  • Real-world example: Flooding in Thailand in 2011 cost U.S.-based Western Digital $199 million (it makes hard drives in Thailand). Ford was also forced to pause production there.

Ocean ecosystems

  • Big picture: "The Nation's valuable ocean ecosystems are being disrupted by increasing global temperatures through the loss of iconic and highly valued habitats and changes in species composition and food web structure."
  • Real-world example: Sea surface temperatures on the Northeast Continental Shelf experienced a dramatic increase in 2012. That extended the lobster fishing season, leading to oversupply and a "severe price collapse."

Vulnerable infrastructure

  • Big picture: "Sea level rise (SLR) is progressively making coastal roads and bridges more vulnerable and less reliable."
  • Real-world example: U.S. Route 17 in Charleston, SC currently floods more than 10x a year. By 2045? It could experience up to 180 floods annually (and each flood costs the city $13.75 million in 2015 dollars).

Zoom out: The administration's report is also noteworthy because it contradicts the administration's own climate-related economic policies (like rolling back environmental regulations). Just last week, the president mocked the threat of climate change in a pre-Thanksgiving tweet.

But there was so much we didn't get to, such as climate change's effects on agriculture, transportation, and tourism. Check out the full report while you pass the time in a car, train, plane, or buried in a sofa today.

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