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A rainbow appears above homes on a hillside following a rain storm in Encinitas, California, U.S., January 31, 2019.   REUTERS/Mike Blake - RC1D4A71D2D0
Brookings Now

Charts of the week: Climate change costs and emissions targets

A collection of charts and data in climate-change related posts from recent Brookings research. For more on climate change, visit the brookings.edu topic page.

BY CENTURY’S END US CLIMATE COSTS WILL BE WIDESPREAD BUT UNEVEN

A team of Brookings researchers examine the geography of climate change with the help of county-level data from the Climate Impact Lab. The data include assessments of climate-change impact in various areas, including agriculture, mortality, coastal damage, and labor supply risk. The chart below aggregates these factors. The researchers conclude, among other things, that mortality represents the largest cause of the variability, and also climate change could “bestow net economic benefits” to some areas of the country.

Map 2

RED STATES WILL EXPERIENCE GREATER CLIMATE COSTS THAN BLUE STATES

From the same geography of climate change report, the authors write:

Drill down on the political geography of climate damage and it becomes clear that in much of the country Republicans are voting for people who are opposed to climate policy, even as they are most exposed to climate impacts.

States are shown below by the estimated economic impact of climate change by century’s end, with how that state voted in the 2016 presidential Electoral College. They find a similar pattern in counties that voted for Trump versus counties that voted for Clinton. This presents a potential political opening: “Activists who want to change the political equation,” they write, “can derive a clear strategy from the harm data: Work in the reddish swing states by focusing spotlights and cost accounting on the severe economic effect wrought by climate change.”Figure 1

GLOBAL CO2 EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS HIGHEST UNDER PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

The Paris Agreement, signed by 197 countries, entered into force in 2016, although President Trump withdrew the U.S. from it in 2017. Each country’s participation is centered on its own Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), a pledge to meet individual greenhouse gas reduction targets. In analysis from the Climate and Energy Economics Project at Brookings, researchers estimate CO2 reductions under Paris Agreement NDCs, with comparisons across various scenarios. Note that in the chart below, the “Paris Agreement” and the “Australia out” lines are nearly identical.

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