Socio Economic Impacts of Global Warming

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					Socio-Economic Impacts of Global Warming
Ronald B. Mitchell Department of Political Science University of Oregon Governor’s Advisory Council on Global Warming 2 February 2004

Points of Departure
• Global warming is likely and impacts are likely to be negative • But costs and benefits of policy responses mitigation and adaptation – also matter • May choose to mitigate (reduce emissions) but will have to adapt • Environmental sustainability requires creating conditions for strong, long-term policy commitments (“policy sustainability”)

Impacts on Oregon: Determinants
• Global Business as Usual (BAU) emissions • Mitigation in Oregon – But Oregon only about 1% of global problem • Mitigation by Rest of World • Response of natural system depends on: – Total Oregon + Rest of World emissions – Causal linkages of GHGs to forcing events • Adaptation in Oregon – Proactive adaptation – Responsive adaptation

Climate Change: Likely Forcing Events in Oregon
• • • • Declining snowpack – up to 50% decline Rising sea level – up to 1 foot or more Rising temperatures – up to 5 F or more Weather variability – higher variance in temp, storm intensity, drought/rain cycles

The Future for Oregon’s Snowpack? Austrian Glacial Retreat Since 1900

Source: Gesellschaft für ökologische Forschung e.V. 2002. Das gletscherarchiv. http://www.gletscherarchiv.de/. Accessed: 15 January 2003.

The Future for Oregon’s Snowpack? Austrian Glacial Retreat Since 1900

Old water storage
Source: Gesellschaft für ökologische Forschung e.V. 2002. Das gletscherarchiv. http://www.gletscherarchiv.de/. Accessed: 15 January 2003.

The Future for Oregon’s Snowpack? Austrian Glacial Retreat Since 1900

Old water storage

New water storage

Source: Gesellschaft für ökologische Forschung e.V. 2002. Das gletscherarchiv. http://www.gletscherarchiv.de/. Accessed: 15 January 2003.

The Future for Oregon’s Coasts? Sea Level Rise

Source: US Environmental Protection Agency. State Impacts – Oregon http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/ImpactsStateImpactsOR.html Accessed: 31 January 2004.

Consequences of Inaction
• • • • • • • • • Flooding (river, coastal) and drought Energy (demand, supply) Freshwater (municipal, manufacturing, agriculture) Agriculture (crops, pests, disease, inputs) Forestry (fires, disease) Human health (heat, disease) Fisheries/hunting, Recreation Ecosystem services Politics: impacts uncertain, in future, may be hard to observe, easy to blame on Nature or “other’s” emissions

Consequences of Inaction: Vulnerability Varies
• Vulnerability of different citizens depends on exposure and ability to adapt, which depend on: – Income (rich/poor) – Location (urban/rural, mountains/ocean, western/eastern Oregon) – Type of employment (farming, hi tech) – Age (very young/very old) – Nature vs. humans

Mitigation Policy: Three Ways to Reduce Emissions
Emissions = Population * Technology * Behavior • Population, e.g., # of homes, # of cars • Technology, e.g., types of homes, types of cars • Behavior, e.g., thermostat setting, miles driven • Ex: Oregon CO2 emissions Pop’n CO2/cap Total CO2 1990: 2.8 M 19.6 tons 55.7m tons 1998: 3.3 M 17.3 tons 57.9m tons
(12% decrease)

Mitigation Policy: Three Ways to Reduce Emissions
Emissions = Population * Technology * Behavior • Population, e.g., # of homes, # of cars • Technology, e.g., types of homes, types of cars • Behavior, e.g., thermostat setting, miles driven • Ex: Oregon CO2 emissions Pop’n CO2/cap Total CO2 1998: 2000: 3.3 M 3.3 M 17.3 tons 19.0 tons
(10% increase)

57.9m tons 63.5m tons

Costs and Benefits of Mitigation: Non-Climate Benefits Matter
• Oregon benefits from Oregon mitigation are small • Indirect benefits unclear (WA/CA, US, RoW): – Symbolic effects of policy – “should do it” – Innovation/demonstration effects – “can do it” • Some strategies can win support: local, near-term, secondary environmental, economic, and social benefits sometimes outweigh costs • Most strategies won’t win support: local, clear, immediate, and concentrated costs outweigh global, unclear, future, and diffuse benefits

Costs and Benefits of Adaptation: Two Approaches
• Some adaptation will be necessary • Proactive adaptation: while impacts uncertain – E.g., construction of dams, seawalls, powerplants – Costs are local, clear, and concentrated – Benefits are local but uncertain and in future • Responsive adaptation: after impacts happen – Compensation, reconstruction, relocation – Costs are local, clear, but limited, “necessary” – Benefits are local, certain, and current

The Policy Problem
• Citizens currently engage in behaviors that contribute to climate change because: – Incentives: “it’s the best alternative I have” but also – Ability: “it’s the only alternative I have” – Morality: “it’s the right alternative for me” • How do we shape incentives, abilities, and morality so people change their behaviors?

Basic Elements of a Solution?
• Change magnitude of costs and benefits actors already consider important • Change which and whose costs and benefits actors consider important • Change what actors consider as “appropriate” behavior • Develop a portfolio of policies and strategies and promote policy experiments

Environmental Sustainability Requires Stable Policy Commitment
• Recognize need to manage not solve problem: 3, 5, or 10 years not enough • Do not let uncertainty breed inaction • Foster science that is policy-relevant • Ensure policy and management are inclusive and adaptive • Educate and engage the public, foster “open source” policymaking

Conclusions
• May choose to mitigate but will be forced to adapt • Mitigation by Oregonians has few direct benefits for Oregon, so building political support will be challenging • Adaptation is likely to be more viable politically • Responding to climate change effectively will require thinking in ways that are sustainable politically


				
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