Economic Impacts of Projected Climate Change in Pennsylvania

Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, this assessment examines the impacts of projected global climate change on the state’s economy at mid-century (2050).  The economic impacts are discussed for the Forestry, Agriculture, Energy, Human Health, Property Impacts and Insurance, and Outdoor Recreation and Tourism sectors.

The report begins with an overview of the methods used to identify and quantify economic impacts. The economic impacts of projected climate change are then reported for the specific sectors of the economy and for the economy as a whole. The findings do not support an extreme impact on Pennsylvania’s economy from climate change. 

The study found that the overall impact of the projected shifts in the Forestry sector on the state’s economy is minimal.

The economic model results indicate that Pennsylvania production in all of the agricultural sectors in the model increases in 2050 as a result of climate change. As production increases, resources - labor, capital, and intermediate inputs - are drawn away from some other sectors of the economy and into agriculture through general equilibrium impacts.

A net increase expected in electricity demand from climate change was projected to have little impact on the Pennsylvania economy.

In regard to the impacts on public health, higher summer temperatures are projected to increase ozone concentrations by 5 ppb in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and by 2.5 ppb in the rest of the state. Using published concentration-response functions, the number of hospital admissions for respiratory disease is projected to increase by between 248 and 641 per year by 2050 as a consequence of climate change, with an estimated medical cost of $2.5-$5.8 million. Again, this impact is described as very small relative to total spending on health care, and its impact on the Pennsylvania economy is expected to be negligible.

The conclusions related to property damage do not provide a definitive case for a net increase or decrease in the frequency and severity of weather related property losses in Pennsylvania due to climate change.

Also, whether climate change will cause an increase or a decrease in outdoor recreation activity and related spending could not be determined with confidence. 



Publication Date: November 4, 2009

Related Organizations:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment

States Affected:


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