I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Climate change will hurt most states, Sandia National Lab concludes
A newly-released Sandia National Labs study analyzing projected rainfall patterns across the U.S. suggests that most — but not all — of the lower 48 states would suffer economically from unchecked climate change over the next four decades.
California, the Pacific Northwest and Colorado could actually benefit from climate change-related impacts elsewhere, the model suggests. Populations leaving harder-hit states will migrate to these less-affected states, stimulating their economies. Nationwide, the effects would be more grim, including a sharply declining trade balance with other countries, the Sandia analysis suggests.
New Mexico populations would shrink with declining rainfall while Colorado’s population would increase, Sandia’s model predicts. Over the next 40 years, New Mexico’s economic contribution to the U.S. economy could drop by $26 billion and Arizona’s economy would lose $69 billion, the model suggests. Colorado could gain a relatively modest $1.2 billion over that time period.
The study estimates predicted ranges of rainfall and other precipitation, including high and low estimates, generated in computer models of climate change. The authors then estimated the economic impacts of changing precipitation patterns.
The analysis estimated impacts on employment, personal income and international trade for 70 industries at the state and national level.
On average, the nationwide economic impact of climate change “is on the order of $1 trillion over the next 40 years, with losses in employment equivalent to nearly 7 million full-time jobs,” the authors report.
“(U)ncertainty associated with climate change and its impacts that presents the greatest problem for policy makers,” the authors wrote. “If society knew how climate change would exactly unfold, it could readily determine what adaptation and mitigation responses should be undertaken. However, decades of climate science research indicate that it may not be possible to obtain a definitive reduction in the uncertainty, and certainly not possible within the time frame that is needed to counter the worst effects of climate change.”
Such certainty could come only after it is too late to intervene to “prevent the escalating damage,” the authors argued.