http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/environment/the-real-cost-of-climate-change-in-the-usa-in-2017-is-staggering/article/503815

The real cost of climate change in the U.S. in 2017 is staggering

Posted Sep 29, 2017 by Karen Graham
Calculating the real costs of extreme weather events is a daunting task because most of us don't realize the type of data that is included in making an accurate assessment of total costs. But no one can deny the U.S. has been through a rough time in 2017.
Dry irrigation channel of the San Joaquin River.
Dry irrigation channel of the San Joaquin River.
Alison M. Jones/American Rivers
The American West has been plagued with literally dozens of massive wildfires this year, and if that wasn't enough, the country has been hit with three hurricanes - Harvey, Irma, and Maria in quick succession.
Besides the obvious costs, in loss of lives, livestock, homes, automobiles, and livelihoods, there is little thought about additional costs that need to be factored into the total. And these total costs for 2017 could end up resulting in the costliest string of weather events in U.S. history, according to a new report issued by the Universal Ecological Fund.
The Goodwin Fire in Arizona is but one of over 20 large wildfires burning in the western U.S.
The Goodwin Fire in Arizona is but one of over 20 large wildfires burning in the western U.S.
Arizona Department of transportation
According to the report released Wednesday, stronger hurricanes, much hotter heat waves, more frequent wildfires and more severe public-health issues are all adding to the costs of climate change, which will reach almost $1 billion a day in the U.S. within the next ten years.
The total costs of addressing rising temperatures will balloon to 50 percent by 2027 - to $360 billion annually, which will eat up almost 55 percent of the expected economic growth in the U.S. To put it more bluntly, the catastrophic damage the U.S. has experienced over the past couple of months could add up to nearly $300 billion, according to early estimates from the authors of "The Economic Case for Climate Action in the United States."
A woman paddles down a flooded road while shuttling deliveries for her neighbors during the aftermat...
A woman paddles down a flooded road while shuttling deliveries for her neighbors during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on August 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas
Brendan Smialowski, AFP
If the estimate is right, the cost of the damage would be equivalent to almost half the president's proposed 2018 budget for the Department of Defense. “The increasing damage from climate-change related storms, wildfires, human health, agriculture loss and the like are taxing the potential of economic growth,” said James McCarthy, a Harvard University professor whose co-authors included Robert Watson, former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Bottom line? The more fossil fuels we burn, the faster climate change becomes. President Trump has called climate change a hoax and has put oil, natural gas, and coal production at the center of his economic agenda because of his outdated beliefs that in order to grow the economy, we need to use more fossil fuels.
The growth of renewable energy in the U.S. is now challenging the belief that it is impossible to grow the economy without increasing fossil fuel use. As the report says: "Human beings are in general risk-averse—it's scientifically known. With the government, you can pool risk, but you can't-do that with climate change. There's nothing to pool because we're all going to be impacted."