Climate Change Inaction Could Cost Millennials $8.8 Trillion in Lifetime Income

A new study has found that without action on climate change, the millennial generation as a whole will lose nearly $8.8 trillion in lifetime income dealing with its economic, health and environmental impacts. In this video, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! speaks with Heather McGhee, president of Demos. Along with NextGen Climate, Demos published the report “The Price Tag of Being Young: Climate Change and Millennials’ Economic Future.”

NextGen and Demos chose to focus on millennials for two reasons: they and their children will bear the brunt of climate change inaction, and they’re also the first generation likely to be worse off than their parents. Following the methodology from a Stanford and Berkeley study that uses 50 years of historical data from 166 different countries, the researchers were able to see the correlation between rising temperatures and falling GDP. Examining that at a household level, they were able to estimate that a recent college graduate would lose nearly $200,000 in wealth over his or her lifetime if no action was taken to mitigate climate change.

When asked how we bridge the gap between theory and policy, McGhee suggests the only way forward is through more democracy. She calls for a World War II-style mobilization, both of our politics and our economics, and suggests we put those communities that have been last in line in a fossil fuel economy first in line in a new clean energy economy. She cites the success in California of taking revenue from polluters and channeling it into the lowest-wealth communities for job creation and public transit. She claims the will to take action exists, and we just need to build upon the technology and policy we already have in place.

For the full video: