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In The Southeast, Hotter Temperatures Will Be Costly, Report Concludes

Hotter temperatures in the Southeast will hit the economy hard.

That’s what one author of the federal government’s sweeping National Climate Assessment says.

Average summer temperatures in the Southeast during the past decade have been the hottest on record especially at night, giving residents little break from the day-time heat.

Kirstin Dow of the University of South Carolina says outdoors workers will need more breaks and projects the cost of lost productivity by the century’s end will be $4.7 billion.

“It’s still possible to avoid the worst impacts, but it’s more urgent and more difficult the longer that effort is delayed.”

She says that’s a third of the total estimated cost of lost labor in the United States.

Dow also says hotter temperatures in the Southeast stand to lay bare underlying problems plaguing especially rural communities with persistent poverty. She points to higher cooling and health care costs.

“These existing problems — the demands on incomes where there is already high levels of poverty, the demands on human health where there are already concerns about access to health care — stand out here.”

The 1,700-page National Climate Assessment is the work of 13 federal agencies.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »