Climate change is generating major economic problems in the United States, the Biden administration said in an annual report published this week. The assumptions that higher-income countries like the U.S. would safely weather the risks associated with global warming, and that those risks would be clear cut, have proven to be false, administration economists wrote. A “wide array of risks” are currently impacting the “well-being of American communities,” the White House Council of Economic Advisers wrote in its report, particularly low-income and minority neighborhoods.
Heat, flooding, wildfires, and diseases that spread from animals to humans threaten public health and health care systems, the report warns. Trillions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure like bridges, roads, and, crucially, homes, are susceptible to flooding, posing massive problems for America’s insurance industry and federal mortgage lenders. And the cost of responding to disasters such as hurricanes and drought, which have totalled hundreds of billions of dollars in some recent years, are putting a strain on local and state governments, as well as the federal government.