One of the many ways that climate change damages the economy is the sucker punch it delivers to agriculture. For example, increasing summer heatwaves can slash corn yields. During silking, it only takes 4 hours of leaf rolling (from heat and dryness) to cut yield 1%; consecutive hot days cause other yield losses. After 6 hot days in a row, firing of leaves becomes likely and very large yield losses are incurred. See, for example, Too Hot for Corn.
Just weeks after this July’s searing heat wave, the US Department of Agriculture has already slashed its estimate of corn yields by 4%. Given the small profit margin that farmers live on, this will be tough for farmers. It also means higher food prices for consumers, as well as higher costs for ethanol producers. According to the Globe and Mail, the price of US corn has already gone up 74% in the last year.