The Cost of Climate Change: What We'll Pay if Global Warming Continues Unchecked


Synapse subcontracted to the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) at Tufts University to write a chapter on the costs and risks of climate change to the electricity energy sector for a report presented by the NRDC. The chapter explored current energy infrastructure in the US and how it might be put at risk from climate change, as well as how energy use could be expected to change under a changing climate. Synapse created a regionally explicit model of hourly energy use in 2005, and applied expected seasonal temperature changes to each region to estimate expected per-capita energy consumption in 2025, 2050, 2075, and 2100. With energy consumption increasing during summer peak periods in warm climates, the costs of procuring power in the south (Florida in particular) and southwest (S. California) resulted in high costs to consumers in those regions. Lower consumption of electricity, gas, and oil in northern latitudes provided net savings for a limited number of consumers. Ultimately, the analysis concluded that climate change could result in net costs of $28 billion per annum by 2025 and $141 billion per annum by 2100. These costs did not include the risk of losing coastal power plants and other infrastructure to coastal flooding. To view the results of the project, please visit

Completed 2008