What is the economic cost of climate change?

Understandably, we talk a lot about the damage climate change is causing to our natural environment. The impact on a personal level is easy to see, in complaints about the impact of the heat on individuals, conversations about the unreasonably long and wet spell we saw at the start of 2024, and concerns raised over the increased risk excessive heat causes vulnerable family and friends.
None of these issues are new. They also did little to create enough momentum to kick start real change.
What I saw make a difference was change from the financial institutions. Banks wanted more information about social, environmental and corporate responsibility before giving loans. Insurers started forcing businesses to consider climate change related risks in their financial risk modelling, and charging those ill-prepared. The understanding that there has to be an economic impact to climate change started to be understood. 
Economic risk is not spread equally across countries, or socioeconomic economic groups. We know some people are already more heavily impacted at an environmental and financial level, which brings associated health risks and costs. 
The US decided the price of climate change is US$190 per tonne of Co2. Recent studies conclude though the real figure is 10x that. Increased risk of high impact weather events, infrastructure failures, increased rainfall, more need to heat and cool requiring more energy, billions being spent building industries to reverse damage that is still growing. The impact is estimated to be US$38 trillion each year.
An economist from Harvard has pointed out we have all already been severely economically impacted by climate change, without even knowing it. Adrien Bilal explains the average person’s purchasing power would be 37% higher right now in a world where GDP and consumption hadn’t been impacted the way it has over the last 50 years. He warns that without action, the cost to future lost wealth will compare to that caused by wars.
You are within your right to argue that it is not fair that it’s up to us, as individuals, to make changes. Change is hard, humans are creatures of habit. The impact will hit you just the same though, even in the incredibly moderate climate we (mostly) enjoy in the UK. It’s estimated average incomes in 2050 will be almost 20% lower than they should because of the climate crisis. That’s well within the working life of this author.
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