Thursday, November 13, 2008

Report details global warming impacts on California economy

San Jose Mercury News: Global warming will have a broad and devastating impact on California's economy over the next century, a report released today says. Up to $2.5 trillion of the state's $4 trillion in real estate assets — homes and other buildings — are at risk from rising sea levels, wildfires and other extreme weather events occurring as the world gets warmer, according to a report by University of California, Berkeley, agricultural and resource economics professors David Roland-Holst and Fredrich Kahrl.

The 127-page report was funded by the non-profit Next 10 foundation that studies California's future and the intersection of the economy and the environment. It is believed to be the first time an academic institution has attempted to put a price tag on the potential climate damage in California between now and the year 2100. Roland-Holst characterized as a Golden State version of 2006's "Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," a look at the impact of global warming on the world's economy and the most well-regarded study of its type.….

  • Water: An estimated $5 billion in assets are at risk, and costs could reach $600 million a year in what the researcher calls the "high-warming scenario."
  • Energy: $21 billion in assets at risk, with annual damage ranging from $2.7 billion to $6.3 billion. Potential impacts could include less hydropower due to less rainfall; more hot days requiring greater use of air conditioning; and more winter storms causing more power outages.
  • Transportation: $500 billion at risk to ports, airports, roads and bridges.
  • Tourism and recreation: $98 billion in assets are at risk, with annual damage ranging from $200 million to $7.5 billion. …
  • Real estate and insurance: $2.5 trillion in assets are at risk, and water damage could cost $1.4 billion a year, while fire damage could result in $2.5 billion in damages.
  • Agriculture, forests and fisheries: $113 billion in assets are at risk, with annual damage ranging from $300 million to $4.3 billion.
  • Public health: Annual costs due to atmospheric changes range from $3.8 billion to $24 billion a year.

"Our estimates indicate that climate risk — damages if no action is taken — would include tens of billions per year in direct costs, even higher indirect costs, and expose trillions of dollars of assets to collateral risk," the researcher wrote in their executive summary….

Fog on the northern California coast, National Park Service

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