The most talked-about effects of climate change—rising sea levels and soaring temperatures—can seem distant from Dallas. We’re far from the coast, and we’re used to the heat. But even if the worst case global scenario is prevented, Dallas won’t be exempt from the fallout that comes with a hotter planet.
A new study led by climate scientists and economists at the University of Chicago and the University of California, published last month in Science, drives that point home. It takes a detailed county-by-county look at how climate change will affect communities across the U.S., finding that Texas and the South are especially vulnerable to projected economic losses caused by global warming, as desirable jobs move to wealthier and cooler climes to the west and north, and an unpredictable climate wreaks havoc on agriculture and industry. (An emboldened mosquito population is another issue.)
While Dallas County will dodge some of the worst effects (Harris County, closer to the coast, is hit much harder, for example), charts included in the study show lower income, higher energy expenditures, and a higher mortality rate here by the end of the century. An interactive map from the Climate Impact Lab, as the researchers call themselves, unfortunately only includes projected average temperature increases by county. But it’s easy enough to find Dallas on the charts below, which measure anticipated changes from 2080 to 2099. Click the image to look a little closer.
This study seems like evidence that climate change will serve to worsen the problems already facing Dallas, from public health to widening income inequality. It’s a local issue.