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The big new federal report on the effects of climate change released on Black Friday explores how global warming could eventually increase U.S. power costs by tens of billions of dollars annually.

Expand chart
Data: Hsiang et al. 2017; Map: Harry Stevens/Axios

Why it matters: The energy chapter of the 1,656-page report lays out a suite of ways that higher temperatures and extreme weather affect power and fuel infrastructure and availability — and the financial toll.

Threat level: On power bills specifically, even though buildings and appliances are getting more efficient, higher temperatures will generally come with higher electricity costs. Why?

  • There will be higher power demand (in part for more cooling in a hotter world), combined with higher temperatures reducing the efficiency of power generation and delivery.
  • And there's the need to build new generation capacity to meet higher demand, with billions in costs ultimately passed along to homes and businesses.

By the numbers: By 2040, nationwide residential and commercial power expenditures are projected to rise by as much as 18% if carbon dioxide keeps piling up in the atmosphere unchecked (with lower projections if emissions are cut significantly).

  • "By the end of the century, an increase in average annual energy expenditures from increased energy demand under the higher scenario is estimated at $32–$87 billion," the report states.

The big picture: Higher energy costs are one of many potential outcomes in a warming world. More broadly, the report warns of "hundreds of billions of dollars" in annual losses to some economic sectors without scaled up actions to adapt to current changes and slash emissions to avoid future warming.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

9 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

9 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 10 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."

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