CLIMATE CHANGE PREDICTIONS Office of Coastal Management
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. Such shifts can be natural, due to changes in the sun’s activity or large volcanic eruptions.
But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. Burning fossil fuels generates greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket wrapped around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures. The main greenhouse gases that are causing climate change include carbon dioxide and methane. These come from using gasoline for driving a car or coal for heating a building, for example.
Clearing land and cutting down forests can also release carbon dioxide. Agriculture, oil and gas operations are major sources of methane emissions. Energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and land use are among the main sectors causing greenhouse gases.
Climate Change Predictions $106 Billion By 2050, up to $106 billion worth of coastal property will likely be below sea level (if we continue on the current path).
$12 billion Per Year Over the next five to 25 years, greenhouse gas-driven temperature rises will likely necessitate the construction of new power generation that would cost ratepayers up to $12 billion per year.
12 Inches Higher The U.S. coastline is projected to rise 10 to 12 inches in the next 30 years.*
Hotter and Hotter … The year 2023, as of August, has broken multiple weather and climate records. Earth had its warmest July on record. The year-to-date (January to July) global surface temperature ranked as the third warmest such period on record. July also set a record for the highest monthly sea surface temperature anomaly (+1.78°F or +0.99°C) of any month in NOAA’s 174-year record.
According to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information’s Global Annual Temperature Outlook, it is almost certain (over 99 percent) that the year 2023 will rank among the five warmest years on record, with a nearly 50-percent probability that 2023 will rank warmest on record. It stands to reason that these increases will continue each year going forward.
Unprecedented Sea Level Rise The projected 10 to 12 inches (on average) of sea level rise over the next 30 years (2020 to 2050) will be as much as the rise measured over the last 100 years (1920 to 2020).*
Emissions Matter Current and future emissions matter. About two feet of sea level rise along the U.S. coastline is increasingly likely between 2020 and 2100 because of emissions to date. Failure to curb future emissions could cause an additional 1.5 to five feet of rise, for a total of 3.5 to seven feet by the end of this century.*
10% Crop Loss Without adapting to the changing climate, some Midwestern and southern counties could see a decline in yields of more than 10% over the next five to 25 years, with a 1-in-20 chance of losses of crops by more than 20%.
$7.3 Billion More Per Year Factoring in potential changes in hurricane activity, the likely increase in average annual losses is expected to grow by $7.3 billion, bringing the annual price tag for hurricanes and other coastal storms to $35 billion.
Trillions Below the Sea There is a 1-in-20 chance—twice as likely as an American developing melanoma—that by the end of this century, more than $1 trillion worth of coastal property will be below mean sea level or at risk of it during high tide.
Higher Temperatures If we continue on our current path, by the middle of this century, the average American will likely see 27 to 50 days over 90 degrees each year.