Our economy relies on safe and reliable infrastructure, a healthy workforce, stable supply chains, and dependable natural resources and healthy natural systems. Each of these elements of a sound economy are impacted by climate change, and are specifically threatened by climate impacts that we are already experiencing in California. Drought, for example, exacerbates land subsidence that damages transportation and water infrastructure, threatens economic sectors including agricultural and commercial fishing, and worsens rural unemployment.
Increasingly, we are improving our understanding of the economic impacts of climate change. In California, numerous examples demonstrate how the climate crisis impacts our economy. The cost of removing hazardous materials from properties in the town of Paradise after the Camp Fire in 2017, for example, cost state government over $2 billion. Such costs demonstrate the need for up-front investment to reduce the long-term fiscal impacts of climate-driven disasters.
Well-established estimates used in the United States suggest that that on average every $1 invested in proactive efforts to reduce climate risk avoids at least $6 in in future costs to respond to such risks. For example, proactive investments that protect communities from wildfires not only protect our state’s residents but help reduce the long-term costs of wildfire recovery. Proactive adaptation and resilience measures are sound economic and fiscal investments.