The impacts of climate change are only going to become more apparent. Intensified weather and rising sea levels are the most well-known consequences of negative human activity, but perhaps the most crippling side effect of prolonged human degradation of the environment concerns the global economy.
In short, human pollution leading to an acceleration of climate change will cost us. Big time. According to a report from the Universal Ecological Fund, “In the coming decade, economic losses from extreme weather combined with the health costs of air pollution spiral upward to at least $360 billion annually, potentially crippling U.S. economic growth” (Leahy). The world economy has already felt these effects. Increased widespread droughts, wildfires, and floods have depleted entire regions across the globe. “Billion Dollar Disasters” have also seen a spike in prevalence throughout the last few decades. In 2016 alone, fifteen natural disasters were recorded to cost over a billion dollars in recovery. Hurricane Irma and Harvey required a combined $200 billion in recovery efforts in 2017. As these natural disasters become more apparent and more intense, they will drag an exponentially greater toll among the U.S. and global economies. Global markets will undoubtedly feel the strain of disaster relief, but as pollution of air and water continue, economic loss resulting from increased health problems of workers will increase, too.
Economic growth has a foundation based on workers’ ability to, well, work. A proposed warming of the surface temperature by 8 degrees Fahrenheit (RCP8.5) as opposed to 5 degrees (RCP4.5) by the year 2090 offers two drastic future strains on the economy. In relation to labor, “The projected warming will lead also to 910 million more lost labor hours per year in 2090 in RCP8.5 than in RCP4.5 – a difference worth about $75 billion per year” (Nucitelli). Billions lost to health effects caused by climate change presents an opportunity to act now. Adapting our economy and our policies regarding climate change is essential to the economic viability of future generations.
What are some things we can do to adapt to the pressures of accelerated climate change? Well, we can start by focusing on different aspects of industry that have been identified as key contributors to the climate crisis. For us, we have identified a climate killer in the backpack and outerwear industry. Solvent-based PU (Fossil Fuel) coatings have been used for decades to increase abrasion resistance on fabrics. The use of these coatings releases volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere which is depleting our ozone layer letting in harmful ultra violet rays. The compounds, then, accelerated the process of global warming by aiding greenhouse effects.
Our mission at PolyCore™ is to replace the use of solvent-based coatings that suffocate our planet and replace them with sustainable, water-based options. Investing in the adaptation of different areas of the market to combat climate change is just one way to avoid climate and economic catastrophe. Investing today in the future of our planet is essential. If everyone chose just one area of their business or lives to invest time, energy, and/or money into helping reduce their impact on the environment, we could all make a substantial impact on our world.