Without action on climate change, the millennial generation in the U.S. will lose nearly $8.8 trillion in cumulative lifetime income, according to a a new study published on Monday by NextGen Climate.
The report's authors write that the U.S. "millennial" generation will carry the heaviest burden of unresolved environmental issues due to a series of bad public policy choices by lawmakers and elected officials.
“Unless our elected leaders take aggressive and immediate action, the millennial generation will have to live with the devastating economic, health, and environmental impacts of climate change,” the report found.
The findings from the 25-page report, titled “The Price Tag of Being Young,” concluded that by the mid-century climate change will result in reduced incomes and wealth for millennials and future generations.
The report predicts that higher taxes due to more frequent climate disasters such as rising sea levels, drought, wildfires, heat-related health problems, will eat away at the disposable income and savings of young households.
If countries fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a 21-year-old in the class of 2015 earning a median income will lose $126,000 in lifetime income and $187,000 in wealth as a result of climate change disrupting the global economy.
Meanwhile, for the children of millennials, the economic losses from climate change could be devastating, NextGen Climate argues.
“For example, a median earner born in 2015 will lose $357,000, or 11 percent of her lifetime income, and $581,000 in lifetime wealth due to climate change, if the income were saved,” the report found.
Additional financial burdens including student debt, child care, jobs and stagnant wages, will also exacerbate financial insecurity for millennials and future generations, the study found.
Financial losses due to climate change is much greater when compared with the losses due to student debt or caused by other major crises, such as the financial crash of 2008.