The US seems to be on fire these days. Apparently, a fair amount of The United Statespolitical leaders want it to stay that way and don’t want to sacrifice immediate economic gain for climate change prevention. The BBC reported that Donald Trump was asked "outside the White House about the findings that unchecked global warming would wreak havoc on the US economy." Trump said: "I don't believe it." This is incredibly unfortunate for the American people, seeing as the new Climate Assessment, issued by the US Global Change Program and 13 other federal agencies, outlines several ways that climate change prevention can avoid massive economic loss in the future.

Future climate change can cause more wildfires, flooding, and hurricanes that will cost the American people to lose out on copious amounts of money. The last couple of years have been evidence of this and the Climate Assessment tells us it will only get worse in years to come.

Impacts of climate change will cost more than not taking the steps to prevent it

Increased climate change won’t just lead to an increase (and subsequent worsening) of hurricanes. According to the Climate Assessment, climate change can cause shifts in the climate that will lead to severe droughts in some areas and severe flooding in others.

The National Interagency Fire Center shows us an increase in spending for wildfire suppression over the last 30 years.

Approximately seven billion dollars were spent on wildfire suppression in the last three years compared to approximately five billion dollars in the three years before that. It’s not too much of an increase at first glance, but stretch that trend over the next half-century and the numbers start to really stack up. When it comes to flooding, an increase can mean billions of dollars in damage to coastal cities.

If there are no preventative measures, infrastructure that wasn’t built to withstand such heavy flooding will not hold up over a long period of time.

Those are the big economic problems that can be caused by climate change, but there are also smaller problems that might go unnoticed including agricultural difficulties because of rainfall fluctuations, and a strain on fisheries due to warmer ocean temperatures.

The health of the American people may be in trouble if no action is taken

Obviously, an increase in natural disasters is not without an increase in the loss of human life. However, outside of natural disasters exist other threats caused by climate change that can also be fatal.

Something as simple as an increase in temperature can mean death for several elderly/young people. Some of the hottest years on record in the U.S. have been in the last decade. Heat-related deaths have been in decline in recent years, but this will probably change if it only gets hotter in coming decades.

There will also be an increase in mosquito/tick activity if there’s more rainfall. This can lead to an increased spread of viruses such as dengue fever, West Nile, and Lyme disease.

More air pollution can cause possibly fatal episodes for people with asthma and respiratory failure. All of these consequences of climate change will only get worse if preventative measures are not taken.

It’s not too late to do something about climate change

Some people think that because we can clearly see increased effects of climate change each year, that it might be too late to do anything about it. This is not true. The recent Climate Assessment outlines different scenarios based on the number of preventative measures the US chooses to take in the future. If we do very little to prevent further climate change, the consequences will be devastating by the time we reach the end of the century compared to if we actively fight it.

Simply reducing carbon emissions will not be enough to stop climate change that is already in motion due to the last century of carbon emissions. However, reducing carbon emissions will do far more to slow climate change compared to doing nothing. Coastal cities will also do well to do everything in their power to subvert damage done by future flooding and invest in improving infrastructure. Remember, all the impacts of modern climate changes can be traced back to carbon emissions, so if political leaders in the US won’t support reducing it, future Americans are looking at a worst-case scenario.