Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Impact of Climate change on Economy

Currently the world is in severe economic crisis, triggered by the failing liquidity in the major banks of the world. The immediate outcome of this was evident on the stock markets. This is perhaps one of the largest stock market failures since the Great Depression.

However, the stock market crash is but a trifle in front of the economic disaster that is awaiting us in the near future.

Can you think about a world sans oil?

Oh well, that is the thing that is happening.
Alas, exploitation of natural resources is something that is happening. However, people have stepped forward and discussed on this issue.
Yet there is an imminent threat, known as global climate change. It is also a result of a phenomenon known as global warming, just as the stock market crash has been the result of failing banks.

The Ecology department of the state of Washington projects the following:
The economic effects of climate change in Washington will grow as temperatures increase.
  • Direct costs of fighting wildfires may exceed $75 million per year by the 2020s. This is a 50 percent increase from current costs and does not take into account the costs of the lost timber value.
  • Water conservation costs to offset the decline in guaranteed water of Seattle's water supply due to climate change impacts could exceed $8 million per year by the 2020s and $16 million per year by the 2040s. Eastern Washington communities in Spokane and Yakima will face similar impacts.
  • Public health costs will increase due to smoke related health problems like asthma from wildfires.
  • Tourism and recreation losses related to forest closures and smoke intrusion from wildfires could increase in some locations. An increase in flooding will also affect this area of the state's economy.
  • Hydropower revenues may be affected as water management changes in response to rising temperatures. University of Washington researchers suggest at most a 5% loss or $166 million per year.
  • Consumers could face water price increases in some basins. Water conservation costs about $680,000 per million gallons per day.
  • Dairy cows are affected by higher-than-optimal temperatures. Dairy revenues in two counties may decline by as much as $6 million per year by the 2040s.
  • More frequent droughts in Yakima may cause crop losses. While drought does not occur every year, the averaged losses may increase by $66 million for Yakima. Other agricultural areas statewide are likely to be similarly effected.
  • New sea level rise projections could trigger costly re-design of long-term investments in shoreline protection such as Seattle's Alaskan Way seawall increasing its cost by $25 to $50 million. A 2-foot rise in the sea level will flood 35,848 acres and affect 44,429 people in the Puget Sound.
  • Flooding due to more intense rainstorms, impacts on public health due to heat and vector-related illness such as West Nile virus, and impacts on snow sports as well as salmon and other fisheries are likely to increase as the climate warms up.
  • Cumulative economic effects are usually larger than the sum of obvious individual sector effects, such as those listed above. This is because of interactions between industries and economic sectors which depend on each other. As one industry declines, another may follow.
It is very important to take into account the fact that the figures given here are just for the state of Washington. Therefore we can assume the impact of it on the world.

Due to the ever increasing temperatures, the global climate can change and will be impossible to stop after a 20 years or so.

We have to start now!

NASA Image of the Day