Tuesday, April 17, 2007

IPCC Predicts Climate Change Impact for U.S.

The latest IPCC report on climate change predicts that the warming climate will produce severe results in the United States. As expected, it details the likelihood of more extreme weather events, easier spread of diseases, and species extinctions. The report also puts a price tag on those changes:

North American forests will also suffer from a warming climate, the report says, and increases in wildfires, insect infestations and disease could cost wood and timber producers $1 billion to $2 billion by the end of the century.

The report also suggests that skiing and snowmobiling will suffer. The $27 billion snowmobiling industry is especially vulnerable because it is dependent on natural snowfall. By mid-century, the authors wrote, "a reliable snowmobile season disappears from most regions of eastern North America that currently have developed trail networks."
Discussions of solutions to reduce emissions often get sidetracked with complaints that solutions will cost too much. Unfortunately it is not a question of doing nothing and spending nothing versus spending a large sum of money to reduce emissions. It is more a question of spending a fixed amount to reduce emissions versus unknown extra costs do to warming.

Read the rest.