This report, which provides a range of information, warns that the impacts of climate change are occurring faster than anticipated and will have a large impact on all levels of our economy. The report estimates that on the higher range of impacts, the economy could lose 10% of its GDP as a result of a warmer planet. The report listed several specific examples of impact including crop production, estimating that corn production could be reduced by 75% as a result of the climate. The report indicates that in the southeast over a half a billion labor hours will be lost by 2100 as a result of extreme heat.
The report indicates that the average temperature could rise by as much as 9 degrees by the end of the century. Even a best-case scenario, the report indicates that the planet’s temperature will increase by more than a degree. The report analyzes the impact a changing climate will have on our transportation system and outlines a number of ways that changing climate will impact our system. The impacts are not just tied to storms and rising sea levels. The report indicates that rising temperatures will also impact the sustainability of our transportation network as heat can reduce the structural integrity of our roads, bridges, and rail systems.
The report does not offer specific recommendations on how to fight climate change but does suggest that if the United States immediately reduced its fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, it could save thousands of lives and generate billions of dollars in benefits for the country.
CoaST Policy Director Jason Pavluchuk had the following today,
As a nation, we need to get serious about climate change. Transportation is the single greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Smarter transportation policies that expand options, increase vehicle occupancy, and promote active and shared transportation provide immediate impacts. Simple, common sense policies can reduce congestion, improve quality of life, and improve access to jobs all the while also improving air quality. It is a truly win-win situation.
However, this will not happen without leadership. Over the course of the next several weeks and months, the Coalition for Smarter Transportation will be highlighting examples of policies that have shown to increase the efficiency of our transportation system and diminish the effects of climate change.
The Coalition for Smarter Transportation and its members are committed to working with State and local agencies to not only promote these policies, but to implement them. Additionally, we look forward to working with the incoming Congress to enact bi-partisan legislation that improves our transportation system as well as reduces its impact on the climate. Thus, reducing greenhouse gas emissions contributes to smarter transportation decisions.