We've been so busy with bail outs, unemployment, corruption and the destruction of the middle class, we as a nation seem to have put global warming on the back burner. With the country baking, temperatures so high assuredly there will be deaths, let's revisit the economic impact of climate change. Below is NASA's witness global warming in 26 seconds video.
The heat wave of March is already been blamed on global warming. May was the 2nd warmest on record. Climate change is being implicated for the Colorado wildfires . The corn crop has already taken a hit with the supply dropping to 1996 levels and just last week a hailstorm cost Dallas a record $2 billion.
Now the country is baking and it seems we maybe in the oven permanently. Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe has dire predictions of the number of over 100°F days expected for the United States. The below map shows the time temperatures were above 100°F from 1961-1979, or what should be considered normal.
Now here is what happens with emissions continuing on by 2070 if greenhouse gas emissions are 1000 ppm. Most of the country has 100°F or hotter temperatures for weeks on end.
NASA has said with greenhouse gas emissions at 850ppm we're looking at an overall 9-11°F temperature increase. Below is Hayhoe's temperature increase projections from 2005.
What is even more frightening is the claim the U.S. must reduce CO2 emissions by 80% below 2000 levels.
What we rarely heard about is the negative economic impact global warming will have. We continually hear denials this is happening as well as claims regulation and those nasty green and environmental people will cost businesses. We do not hear how global warming is a threat to economic activity. With that, we tried to find some facts as we could.
The global average temperature since 1900 has risen by about 1.5ºF. By 2100, it is projected to rise another 2 to 11.5ºF.
Last year two Texas towns literally ran out of water. Needless to say this shut down economic activity, without water there is nothing. Next we will have electricity shortages, both from a supply and demand perspective.
With more intense, longer-lasting heat wave events projected to occur over this century, demands for air conditioning are expected to deplete electricity supplies, increasing risks of brownouts and black-outs. Electricity supplies will also be affected by changes in the timing of river flows and where hydroelectric systems have limited storage capacity and reservoirs.
We just saw the East Coast shore become a 600 mile flood zone due to rising sea levels. Here are few of the more mundane economic impacts from the USGCRP:
Sea-level rise would potentially affect commercial transportation activity valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually through inundation of area roads, railroads, airports, seaports, and pipelines.
A 17 percent reduction in freight carrying capacity for a single Boeing 747 at the Denver airport by 2030 and a 9 percent reduction at the Phoenix airport due to increased temperature and water vapor.
Controlling weeds currently costs the United States more than $11 billion a year, with the majority spent on herbicides; so both herbicide use and costs are likely to increase as temperatures and carbon dioxide levels rise.
Insect pests are economically important stresses on forest ecosystems in the United States. Coupled with pathogens, they cost $1.5 billion in damage per year.
Agriculture production is expected to be less and flooding will be a major problem, straining insurance companies. The report also predicts greater immigration to the United States, from those lands closer to the equator being destroyed by the heat, straining further our limited resources. Yes folks, increased immigration does strain resources. It's population and that's part of the problem here, globally.
The WPF also lists some economic impacts:
Reports find that unless action is taken now, the economic costs of climate change could amount to US $20 trillion annually by 2100 - that’s 6-8% of global economic output. Since 1990, annual losses of around $60 billion due to climate change have been recorded - with 2005 costing a record $200 billion.
In The Economic Effects of Climate Change, by Economist Richard Toj, we have 14 estimates on global warming's impact on global economic output. It seems the consensus point for disaster is a 2°C (3.6°F) overall temperature increase.
We already have some cost estimates for natural disasters, but the disconnect seems to be thinking these are one time events. For example, Hurricane Katrina is estimated to have cost $125 billion in economic losses. European had a killer heat wave in 2003, which cost $15 billion in damages (and killed 70,000 people). Flood damages for Europe are projected to ring up €100 to €140 billion in damages. The Russian heat wave cost $15 billion and killed thousands. That's about 1% of Russia's economy.
Paul Volcker has spoken out about the economic effects of climate change, that something must be done or in the next 30 years we are gonna be in the economic crapper.
The Cap & Trade attempts to curtail CO2 emissions failed miserably and that's no surprise since it was a glorified new derivative trade for Wall Street.
Can anything be done right now, which wouldn't cause a major economic disruption? From the USGCRP report:
Reducing emissions of some shorter-lived heat-trapping gases, such as methane, and some types of particles, such as soot, would begin to ,strong>reduce warming within weeks to decades.
Aha! Will the globe do anything? No, of course not. Needless to say with the never ending drum beat to repeal Obamacare, doing something like saving the planet and our economy is not on the Congressional radar.
This lastest heat wave with extreme winds, destruction are astounding. We'll see what the scientists say about climate change being the direct connection, but anyone outside who was alive in 1979 knows it is just getting hotter and hotter.
76 daily high temperature records were set yesterday, and 1,456 daily high records in the past seven days.
By the way, if you haven't seen Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, here is it, with Vietnamese subtitles, below. Clearly Al is right and oh yeah, he should have been President.