January 16, 2022 – How could Earth’s changing climate impact socioeconomic systems across the world in the next three decades? A yearlong, cross-disciplinary research effort at McKinsey & Company provides some answers.
As average temperatures rise, climate science finds that acute hazards such as heat waves and floods grow in frequency and severity, and chronic hazards, such as drought and rising sea levels, intensify. In this report, the focus is on understanding the nature and extent of physical risk from a changing climate over the next one to three decades, exploring physical risk as it is the basis of both transition and liability risks.
Climate models with economic projections were linked together to examine nine cases that illustrate exposure to climate change extremes and proximity to physical thresholds. Across our cases, we find increases in socioeconomic impact of between roughly two and 20 times by 2050 versus today’s levels. The physical climate risks are increasing across our global country analysis, even as some countries find some benefits.