Climate Central shows a map of the United States showing projected economic impact from climate change by 2080-2099. The focus of the report is on the potential for economic and devastating impact, especially to the poor.
But could there be an interesting political impact as well by 2080 or even much earlier? Voters in states who see there could be tragic consequences from ignoring climate change — particularly voters in the southeast — may vote in large numbers for politicians who support policies to deal effectively with climate change. It is hard to say what climate change positions major political parties in the U.S. will take in 2025, 2050, or 2075. But looking at today’s politics, that might mean a shift towards more votes for one party over another in those states.
If one counts just the states with a fair amount of the browns or darker colors on the map at Climate Central, particularly noticing the southern half of the country, that’s about 280 electoral votes in a presidential election. Maybe that didn’t count for enough in the 2016 election, but by 2020, 2024, and onward, politicians should take note. Climate change could have considerable impact on our nation’s economy, but it might also have a powerful impact on politics as well.