Over the weekend, while many Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, the U.S. government released a federally mandated report that explained the dire foreseeable effects that climate change will have on the economy, quality of life, and health in the U.S.
The study exposed the severe impact climate change will have over the next century if nothing is done. One of the biggest losses will be major industries around the U.S. that have long been the backbone of the U.S. economy.
While this report may be daunting, it provides real insight into how business owners and leaders can navigate these destructive outcomes. It also gives industries most impacted by climate change a chance to salvage their businesses before the damage is done. Here are the main aspects that small business owners and entrepreneurs should know about the National Climate Change Assessment report.
1. The agriculture industry will be heavily affected by climate change.
In the next 12 years, the rising heat could cause the production of dairy to decrease between 0.60 percent and 1.35 percent. This statistic means the industry could lose billions of dollars. In 2010 alone, global warming cost this industry $1.2 billion.
The climate change we are seeing will continue to cause extremely hot weather. For farmers in the agriculture industry, this means increased heat, drought, and even flooding. One example of this is how these conditions could leave areas in the Midwest with the means to grow 75 percent less of the amount of corn these areas currently generate.
The ocean farming industry will be massively affected by climate change as well. This study predicts that in the next century selfish production will have seen a $230 million cut to its industry, and shows that our oceans current carbon dioxide levels are already killing coral and shellfish around the world.
For entrepreneurs, these statistics may show a giant pain point in the agricultural market which needs to be solved for. This may come in the form of supplying vegan-friendly pho fish or dairy-free options while capitalizing on the current rise of veganism. Or it may come in the form providing weather sustainable seeds. One thing is for sure, innovation is clearly needed to keep these major industry's afloat--or to replace them all together.
2. Increased global temperatures will impact a wide range of businesses.
This study predicted that climate change will lead temperatures in the US to rise over 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the next few decades. This may seem like a small increase, but it indicates a massive change. The main takeaway here is that extremely high temperatures are predicted to continue to increase making them more common than normal or typical temperatures. The number of days above 90 degrees will increase. As the number of days in America that will be below freezing is shown to lessen. This study finds that cold temperatures will become less frequent and severe, and heatwaves will continue to grow.
Do you have a small business or company dependent on winter weather (or fashion)? Or one that explores or works in the outdoors that might come to a full stop with rising heatwaves? It's important to consider the function of your business as it relates to the changing variables--including weather. This rise in heat is already something people around the United States are having to deal with. Ensure that your business has a plan to accommodate the changing weather.
3. Flooding and wildfires will only become more prominent.
The increase of wildfires and flooding will continue to have a large toll on the U.S. economy and businesses. States and cities along the coast are endangered by flooding and rising sea levels. According to CNN, their real estate projects boost US economy and provide $1 trillion of our national wealth. This major industry is being widely exposed to the dangers of global warming.
Wildfires continue to destroy major area's in California and the Southwest. In these regions alone, fires are projected to double by 2050. According to The Atlantic, in 1990 to 2009 damages caused by wildfires in the greater Los Angeles area were over $3.1 billion. The costs of these wildfires will only continue to worsen, which will lead to increased deaths, health risks, and a major financial burden.
Small businesses should be aware of the negative impact both these floodings and wildfires could have on the location of their businesses. These disasters can destroy your store, or office--and everything in it. Instead of taking out millions of dollars worth of loans to repair damages, you should take the time to institute preventative safeguarding measures such as retaining walls, safe rooms, and storm shelters. Or consider moving your physical location altogether.
While this study may be daunting, it provides key insights into how we can provide needed change for our climate crisis. It's an opportunity for leaders and entrepreneurs to do more to support efforts to decrease global warming. This study shows a major need for industries to provide innovative solutions to this massive problem. More importantly, this is vital information to know so you can adjust your business according to the predicted climate and economy changes.