How much will climate breakdown cost?

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Climate breakdown will dramatically impact the health of our planet - and have a huge negative impact on the economy.

The ultimate cost of climate breakdown could turn out to be close to $100,000 per ton of carbon

Climate breakdown caused by high carbon emissions and waste has already done severe damage to the planet.

But there is so much more on the horizon if world leaders, corporations and citizens don't step in, work together and devote resources to fixing the problem.

Climate breakdown impacts our air quality, food supplies and the health of the environment as a whole.


While the planet may already be suffering - and will no doubt continue to suffer more in the future without proper intervention - some people find it difficult to take those issues seriously.

Without facts, figures and images right in front of them, some people have trouble making the immediate connection.

But climate can and will have real ramifications.

Beyond the environmental impact, climate change will likely cost our global economy in very real dollars and cents, which is something plenty of people may find concerning.

While it might be hard to say exactly how much yet, plenty of experts and researchers have alarming estimates.


While not everyone will agree on the stats and figures, and the losses are subject to change based on society's actions as a whole, the potential for economic damage from climate change is worthy of concern.

This begs the question — how much will these climate change costs add up to?

Carbon emissions are one of the largest components of climate change, and therefore one of the largest factors of economic impact when it comes to the costs of climate change as a whole.

Few researchers have predictions of the societal costs of climate change stretching past the year 2100.

But now a team of various researchers at the University of Chicago have determined that the ultimate cost of climate change could turn out to be close to $100,000 per ton of carbon.

The ultimate cost of climate breakdown could turn out to be close to $100,000 per ton of carbon


This is a thousand times higher than the $100 or less usually determined for the cost to our generation.

Although the researchers make it clear that these numbers are subject to change, it's still worthy of concern, especially if climate rates and carbon emissions stay the same or increase with time.

This also raises the question of who, precisely, pays the bill.

While no one person will be responsible for forking over hundreds of thousands based on their personal carbon footprint, this number serves to demonstrate the wider hit that the overall economy will suffer.

Just like climate itself, numbers this high will be difficult to recover from. While economic harm sounds abstract in nature, it always has an inevitable impact on individual people.


While it's become more apparent in the past few years that most economic models underestimate the cost of climate change, it could cost even less to fix the problem even when measured at its lowest metrics.

While individuals and companies can do their part by engaging in risk management and governments can enact wider efforts to intervene, it's a combination of consistent widespread efforts that can help truly put a stop to the issue.

There are all different kinds of interventions that organizations can make, and it's all about being willing to step up in order to see change. In the long term, it will likely cost less to take efforts to prevent climate change than it will to do nothing about it.

Putting money in upfront will cost more in the short term and will likely not yield immediate tangible results for those involved. It may seem difficult to devote those kinds of resources without the promise of a definite payoff.


Even though the idea of assisting the environment in the long term - and eventually the economy as a result - may seem too far off, organisations, companies and governments need to act on it sooner rather than later in order for real, tangible change to work effectively.

Otherwise, the costs could be much greater further down the line.

Climate change might seem abstract to some people, but the impact it's already having is very real and needs to be taken seriously.

Otherwise, it hurts not just the planet, but also the economy, too. If the world gets to the point where the environment, the economy and the people are all suffering, it could be even more difficult to make the necessary changes.

This Author

Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability writer and the editor of Conservation Folks.

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