Construction worker

Some people worry that taking action on climate change may harm the economy.

Pretis: “But the costs of inaction are much higher.”

Felix Pretis of the University of Victoria in British Columbia says the effects of climate change can hurt economies in many ways.

For example, hot weather can make workers less productive. Consider industries such as …

Pretis: “… housing, construction, any work outside, people are more efficient at certain temperatures.”

Droughts can reduce crop yields. And extreme storms and wildfires can shut down businesses or make it hard for people to work.

Pretis was part of a team that recently modeled the economic impact of global warming. They found that if global temperatures rise about three and a half degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels …

Pretis: “… you see that economic growth seems to suffer significantly, especially for countries around the equator, so these are countries that are already poor.”

But his research also suggests that if temperature increases are limited to about two and a half degrees Fahrenheit, the economic consequences are likely to be far less significant.

So Pretis says there’s an economic incentive to reduce carbon pollution as quickly as possible.

Pretis: “It is definitely worth it to take action now.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.