The US Climate Report Is Devastating — Here's What You Can Do About It Today

Photo by INIGO CIA DA RIVA

Scientists released the fourth National Climate Assessment on Friday—a detailed report that outlines the current state of the planet and what its future looks like. The results, which describe in detail what we can expect in the coming years, are daunting.

The report, which is 1,600 pages long, isn't good news for the future of our planet—or the U.S. economy. For starters, we can expect more extreme weather events like the California wildfires, the continued spread of climate-change-related diseases like Lyme, worsening pollution, and a very, very steep bill that we'll all be picking up.

The actual cost of global warming was one of the biggest and most worrisome take-aways from the report. So how serious is climate change's effect on the economy? According to the researchers, climate change is set to do more damage to the U.S. economy by 2100 than the Great Recession ever did. In actual dollars, this means that by the end of the century, global warming and the damages it causes will cost the U.S. more than $500 billion. Yikes.

And it's not just agriculture this will hurt; it will hurt almost every major industry, including tourism. The assessment is written by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which is a collaboration between over a dozen federal agencies and 300 scientists—from places like NASA and the EPA.

As we all well know, any news about the current state and the future of the environment can be depressing, anxiety-provoking, and hard for us to accept. This anxiety is further exacerbated by the knowledge that our president and his administration still deny that climate change exists at all. The news this week may have left you feeling hopeless, but there ARE actions you can take today.

For starters, you can give to one of the environmental organizations we suggested donating to for Giving Tuesday. Other ideas include going plastic-free (it's not as hard as you think), being more mindful of the kind of meat you're consuming, and educating others on climate change. You can also check out Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warmingwhich puts together 100 ways people around the world are working to clean up our atmosphere—for inspiration.

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