Climate change and the economy

Combating the effects of global warming


Graphic by Emily McShane

Ambyr Baker and Melody Tian

Climate change, the long term shifts of temperatures and weather patterns, has drastic effects on the economy. According to the United Nations, though climate change may occur naturally, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, mostly due to the burning of  fossil fuels.

UN reports suggest limiting the global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius would help avoid the worst climate impacts and maintain livable conditions. However, temperatures are expected to rise by 2.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, with unpredictable consequences.

“Climate change makes it difficult for us to predict what the weather does,” environmental science teacher Jessie Crowley said. “Usually, we know what winter is going to be like, we know what summer is going to be like, but these weather changes are getting harder to understand.”

She said it would be interesting to see how people treat the symptoms of climate change.

“Australia had a huge wildfire a few years ago, and that takes money to rebuild people’s homes and insurance goes up as a result,” Crowley said. “That takes away from everybody’s cost of living.” 

Not only does climate change have environmental effects such as water scarcity, severe fires and declining biodiversity, it also has detrimental effects on the economy. A recent study by Nature found that 22 sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, could be significantly impacted and may cost the United States $520 billion each year.

According to Nature Food, global warming could make the current distribution of crops less efficient, potentially cutting maize yields by 6% to 24% by the late 21st century. To combat this, agriculture may need to shift in the upcoming years.

The Economist states that one solution is changing the crops planted on existing farmland since a surprisingly large share of farmland is used for crops that do not maximize nutritional or economic value. A study by Nature Geoscience shows that doing this could immediately help feed 825 million more people.

According to The Economist, climate change also disproportionately affects developing countries, which often bear the brunt of the increase in average temperatures caused by heat-trapped emissions from developed countries. 

The Economist reports that countries in northern latitudes that are further from the equator, which are mostly rich, are not nearly as affected by changes in soil moisture. This means that the countries most responsible for climate change are least harmed by its consequences.

“Developed countries like the U.S. are causing so many problems for the world stage,” All Green Club co-president Meera Thamaran said. “Then they’re not able to go into developing countries, where they face the brunt of it, and leave them to fend for themselves.”


Thamaran said All Green Club is working to fight climate change within Hockaday and the greater Dallas community. 

“We are doing social impact opportunities, advocacy and educational outreach,” Thamaran said. “We’re also known for just being able to talk to the lower school and middle school about implementing climate change solutions.”

Thamaran remembers making an installation of jellyfish and trash bags two years ago to show how indiscernible the two things are from each other and how sea turtles often die as a result of mistakenly eating the trash.

Currently, All Green Club has three main teams. The first group conducts general advocacy against climate change, while the second group is focused on environmental engineering and solutions to issues like the water quality in Bachman Lake. The third group is working to make Hockaday greener and more sustainable.

“Every single recycling bin here is not actually going to recycling,” Thamaran said. “They have the bins but they just go to the landfill because it costs a lot of money to get into recycling.”

Not only is All Green Club hoping to find solutions to some of the school’s issues, but they are also implementing innovative ideas. The club recently hosted a Winfo dress swap, since they wanted to keep dresses circulating within Hockaday and make sure there’s accessible clothing for students.

“We wanted to do our part working against fast fashion because a lot of the times people will wear a dress and never wear it again,” Thamaran said. “It’s a really big issue, and people often turn a blind eye to it because they want to fit in.”