CONNECTING THE DOTS: CLIMATE CHANGE & ECONOMY

Climate change impacts are affecting our economy.  From extreme algal blooms that impact our tourism and fishing industry, to our real estate, and infrastructure.  Climate change impacts all of us.  

United we stand to protect our economy.

Credit Risk

  • Long-term climate changes, including rising global temperatures and sea levels, are forecast to drive increased extreme weather events and other vulnerabilities like flooding that might put negative credit pressure on US issuers
  • Extreme weather events exacerbated by changing climate trends include higher rates of coastal storm damage and more frequent and severe droughts, wildfires and heat waves. 
  • These events present a multitude of challenges in the form of compromised crop yields, economic disruption, damage to physical infrastructure, increased energy demand, recovery and restoration costs, and the cost of adaptive strategies for prevention or impact mitigation. These challenges can result in lower revenue, increased expense, impaired assets, higher liabilities and increased debt, among other effects.  

Agriculture

  • Changing climate will have both harmful and beneficial effects on farming. Freezing temperatures will become very rare in most of the state, which would benefit citrus trees and other fruits and vegetables grown during winter. During summer, however, hotter temperatures are likely to reduce yields of corn, sugar, peanuts, and cotton, depending on whether sufficient water is available for irrigation. 
  • Higher temperatures are also likely to reduce livestock productivity, because heat stress disrupts the animals’ metabolism. 

Real Estate

  • Florida faces damage to coastal property due to rising sea levels and storm surge; and damage to property due to non-coastal events such as droughts, wildfires, floods and severe storms.
  • In terms of insured U.S. coastal properties vulnerable to hurricanes, New York ranks number one with $2.92 trillion, followed by Florida ($2.86 trillion). 
  • Greater wind speeds from hurricanes and the resulting damages can make insurance for wind damage more expensive or difficult to obtain. 

Extreme Weather 2017

  • Hurricane Irma (2017) cost $50.5 BILLION.
  • Hurricane Maria (2017) cost $90 BILLION 
  • Hurricane Harvey (2017) cost $125 BILLION.
  • Southeast Freeze (2017) heavily damaged fruit crops across several southeastern states including Florida cost $1 BILLION (mid-March freezes are not unusual in the Southeast, however many crops were blooming 3+ weeks early due to unusually warm temperatures during the preceding weeks).

Tourism

  • Florida is one of the 5 biggest contributors to ocean-based tourism and recreation, accounting for more than half of this sector’s total employment and gross domestic product.
  • Ocean-based tourism and recreation contributes approximately $116 billion in gross domestic product to the national economy each year. 
  • Nearly 61% of Florida’s sandy beaches are eroding.  
  • Coral reefs are worth $36 billion annually to tourism industries in key tropical coastal regions including Florida. 
  • Florida's tourism industry could lose over $178 billion annually by 2100, according to The Union of Concerned Scientists.

Infrastructure

  • Cities, roads, railways, ports, and water supplies in Florida are vulnerable to the impacts of extreme storms, flooding, and sea level rise. 
  • More than half of Florida’s storm water entities unable to  address all capital improvement needs.  Only 1 in 4 storm water utilities stated that today’s operation and maintenance capabilities were adequate only to meet the most urgent needs.  

Beer

  • Climate change affects three of beer’s core ingredients: hops, water, and barley.   
  • Hops and barley are affected by heat and drought.  Water available for irrigating the hops largely comes from annual melting of winter snowpack from the mountains. A warming world means more rain versus snow in the winter, meaning irrigation may depend more on ground water, which has a higher mineral content and affects the beer’s taste.      
  • Beer is also big business. Increasingly, locally owned craft brewers are having an impact on the industry landscape and on the economies in which they are located. 
  • In 2016, sales of craft beer were up 10%, accounting for nearly a quarter of the total U.S. market. Local craft brewers contributed $67.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, representing more than 456,000 jobs. 

Coffee

  • Coffee vies with tea as the world’s favorite beverage and employs 100 million people worldwide in farming the beans alone. 
  • Climate change is coffee’s greatest long-term threat, killing plantations or reducing bean quality and allowing the deadly coffee leaf rust fungus to thrive. 
  • Without major action both in the coffee industry and in slashing greenhouse gas emissions, coffee is predicted to become more expensive and worse-tasting