Two experts claim that climate change could ultimately hurt the economy almost as much as did the Great Recession, which officially ended eight years ago this month.
"An emerging body of research suggests that rising temperatures are eating into our productivity right now, in part due to the fact that human beings haven't evolved to operate well at climatic extremes," Geoffrey Heal of Columbia Business School and Harvard University Ph.D. candidate Jisung Park wrote in a 2015 study. "If we continue to move at our present pace, the possible future economic impact is equivalent to an endless Great Recession."
Heal and Park said a temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius or less could cause a 4.3% productivity decline, which would "lead to a drop in output on the same scale as the massive recession of 2007-2009."
The researchers said that's something that would only happen very slowly, but that the biggest single risk would involve coastal-property values.
Heal told TheStreet in an interview: "It is a real prospect that within 10 to 15 years, we should see a serious revaluation of those properties -- and that could affect the banks."
Getting Ready for the Next Recession
How should you prepare for the next recession, and how should you play the markets in June? Check out our special June Trading Strategies report for answers, including our columnists' take on: