Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Finanical Implications of Global Warming

Global Warming is generally agreed by most people to have some serious implications to everyone's lives. Often experts explain things like more severe weather and shifting rainfall patterns (for example see the latest from Environment Canada).

Perhaps this is the wrong approach after all I can't really understand things unless you talk in terms I can relate to. For example, why can't they take the information and hand it off to an economist and have them come up with some changes your personal spending. Now that is something I could relate too.

For example, if we take Environment Canada's rainfall map and do a little creative thinking about Canada's crops you are forced into some interesting conclusions. Like yes likely we will get a longer growing season overall with more rain, but not where we need it most ( the southern prairies). Instead that is going to dry out and we can kiss goodbye some great farm land. Which will force farming towards the north with poorer soil and more natural lakes and rivers which could flood with increased rain. So overall we would lose farmland. That would result in reduced wheat and canola yields which would be further reduced to do severe weather which could destroy crops in various areas. Overall your baking is going to cost more and your cooking oil is likely to cost more. If you add in the severe weather factor then the price is likely to be significantly more unstable as it will be hard to tell if you have a good crop until you can get it off the field and sold before bad weather strikes.

So imagine they did that for not just Canada, but the world? How expensive would your coffee get if growing conditions change in South America? How often would go to your timeshare if the warm island you knew was now a barren desert? Could you afford flood insurance in Canada if it happened more frequently everywhere?

For me that would be useful climate data and likely get a much better response from the general public that just rainfall patterns.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

WILD conjecture based on made up a guess. In how many years or is this a 'in the future' prediction?

Any suggestions to help or just another 'doom and gloom' prediction?

Canadian Dream said...

Anon,

Not completely wild guess work. Afterall most 'studies' do have a serious amount of assumptions (read 'guess work') involved in order to produce anything. I'm just taking my own knowledge of Canada and the studies results and producing an example of what I would like to see.

As for a time frame, some of the conditions are starting NOW. SK typically never gets humidex warnings (+40), but we been having them for the last few days going now in Regina. Saskatoon early this year got a one in fifty year rain fall. Basically it is starting now and conditions will continue to change over the next 10 to 20 years to start to achieve very noticable changes.

As to suggestions, they are literally thousands of things you can do. Drive your car less, get rid of the SUV, use CFL instead of regular bulbs, turn off a light when you leave the room, turn up your room tempeature a degree or two in the summer and down a degree in winter, grow a garden, start a compost pile. Pick a half a dozen ideas and start now. For a day to day changes you can make check check this blog for ideas.(http://greenasathistle.com/).

In general doing ANYTHING is better than NOTHING.

CD

Anonymous said...

That is, if you believe humans are the primary cause of global warming all those things matter.

http://mysite.verizon.net/mhieb/WVFossils/ice_ages.html

The more and more I read about it, the more I think I should just do nothing and wait it out.

The whole thing is probably leading up to some 'great new energy source' that will cost twice as much and 'save the environment'.

As far as I can tell, the amount of data we have is far to little to draw any large conclusions from. Currently the earth is warming, do we know the exact reason? Sure don't.

Canadian Dream said...

Anon,

Why didn't you just say you don't believe that global warming is caused by humans in the first place? That way I could have saved some typing and wrote you off as a crack pot.

Really if you believe that I'm not going to change your mind. I know that and so do you.

CD

Anonymous said...

What conclusive PROOF do you have that global warming is in fact caused by humans and only humans, and specifically only human introduced CO2? I sure haven't seen any.

How about try this one instead:
http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Reference_Docs/Lindzen_2005_Climate_Claims.pdf

Switching from 10 60Watt bulbs to a 14 Watt CFL will save 570 lbs (http://www.gobozzy.com/money-saving-tips/energy-savings-and-co2-emissions-savings-from-switching-to-cfl-bulbs.html) of CO2 a year. If everyone in the USA did that at about 140M families, you would have
79,800,000,000 pounds (rounded of course), That's 36.2M tonnes. Since the human contribution of CO2 is somewhere near 8000M tonnes (8 Gigatonnes) that change would be changing the output by only 0.45%. If we did 10 things that would be as impactful and all of the USA pitched in, you could change the amount to 4.5%.

If every single home in America were to plant a single fruit bearing tree however, the you would have save 2 tonnes of gas per year per family. That's 140M families times 2 or 280M tonnes. You also have free snacks. If you don't care for the fruit, try the Empress Splendor Hardwood, I've read that it converts 4-7 times more Carbon Dioxide to Oxygen than most trees.

Reduce your use of meat products and imported rice. It has been shown that the methane produced by rice patties as well as farms could potentially as bad as all the CO2 talk.

As soon as this 'disaster' is over we will see some other huge thing on the news 'protect your family from Immanent Doom - buy products now!'