As temperatures rise in the coming decades, no part of the United States will pay a bigger price than the South.
That’s according to a study published in the June 30 edition of the journal Science that forecasts the economic damage of climate change on a county-by-county basis. Overall, researchers found, the parts of the country that are already the hottest and have the greatest economic disparities will likely suffer the most.
“In the absence of major efforts to reduce emissions and strengthen resilience, the Gulf Coast will take a massive hit,” Robert Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and one of the study’s co-authors, said in a release.
The Gulf Coast’s “exposure to sea-level rise ― made worse by potentially stronger hurricanes ― poses a major risk to its communities,” Kopp said. “Increasingly extreme heat will drive up violent crime, slow down workers, amp up air conditioning costs, and threaten people’s lives.”