Local Economies Have Been Decimated by the Coronavirus —But This Is Just a Preview of What Climate Change Could Do

This summer has been a cruel one in the American Sunbelt. In our hospitals, pain, fear and death abound because of COVID-19. Outside, a mass of restive, unemployed workers face down deadly heat waves, swiftly rising sea levels and the peak of hurricane season. But even if the viral hardship feels wanton, it doesn’t have to be without purpose. In South Florida, Phoenix and the Rio Grande Valley – all of which have battled surging COVID cases – citizens are being offered a vision of their climate-changed future through the pathogen’s devastation. Which means we have a chance to adapt now and avoid the worst of what’s to come. That’s because the economic ravages of the coronavirus are surprisingly similar to what these three regions can expect to suffer if humans continue to pump carbon dioxide into earth’s atmosphere with reckless abandon. The playbook for mitigating those negative effects is similar as well. Consider South Florida. The unemployment rate for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties this June hovered around 11%. Tourism – the main driver of its local economy – is almost at a standstill. People aren’t flying. Cruise ships aren’t sailing. Hotels aren’t being booked. It’s unclear when the more than 37 million holidaymakers who visited in 2018 will return. But what is clear is that the beaches those tourists enjoy are likely to disappear into the rising sea by the time that I’m 8...
Source: TIME: Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Uncategorized COVID-19 feature Source Type: news