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34
Sensitivities, Impacts, and Adaptations

In Chapter 32 we wrote that the impact of a climate change on some activity is the integral during the change of the sensitivity times the rate of change of the climate. The hope, of course, is that adaptation can modify the sensitivity, ameliorating bad and increasing good impacts of a given climate change. In the sections that follow, the sensitivities, impacts, and adaptations of activities are examined. Because this is a U.S. report, much of the examination is of U.S. activities. The scenarios of change are generally within the ranges stated in our Assumptions, and they are given precisely in the cited publications.

Estimating the cost of impacts or adaptations is fraught with uncertainties. Uncertainties range from those about climate scenarios to ones about sensitivities and future technology. We do not know whether people will choose to adapt more or suffer more from harmful climate changes and benefit less from helpful climate changes. So, national let alone planetary estimates are difficult and may be misleading. Nevertheless, the scale or order of things must be judged. Accordingly, Table 34.1 gives some illustrative costs of impacts and adaptations.

The footnotes show that the cost estimates are drawn from diverse sources. Their accuracy ranges from the precision of the budget of the U.S. Weather Service to the imprecise multiplication of an assumed cost of a house by the number of houses that newspapers report that a storm destroyed. Few of the estimates, if anym include, for example, personal suffering, the advantages of a renewed home, or a construction boom after a flood. The accuracy of each cost can be judged from the cited sources.

These costs illustrate those of adapting and those that might be suffered more or less frequently if climate changed. For example, if hurricanes became more frequent and no one adapted, costs like the $5 billion for



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Page 541 34 Sensitivities, Impacts, and Adaptations In Chapter 32 we wrote that the impact of a climate change on some activity is the integral during the change of the sensitivity times the rate of change of the climate. The hope, of course, is that adaptation can modify the sensitivity, ameliorating bad and increasing good impacts of a given climate change. In the sections that follow, the sensitivities, impacts, and adaptations of activities are examined. Because this is a U.S. report, much of the examination is of U.S. activities. The scenarios of change are generally within the ranges stated in our Assumptions, and they are given precisely in the cited publications. Estimating the cost of impacts or adaptations is fraught with uncertainties. Uncertainties range from those about climate scenarios to ones about sensitivities and future technology. We do not know whether people will choose to adapt more or suffer more from harmful climate changes and benefit less from helpful climate changes. So, national let alone planetary estimates are difficult and may be misleading. Nevertheless, the scale or order of things must be judged. Accordingly, Table 34.1 gives some illustrative costs of impacts and adaptations. The footnotes show that the cost estimates are drawn from diverse sources. Their accuracy ranges from the precision of the budget of the U.S. Weather Service to the imprecise multiplication of an assumed cost of a house by the number of houses that newspapers report that a storm destroyed. Few of the estimates, if anym include, for example, personal suffering, the advantages of a renewed home, or a construction boom after a flood. The accuracy of each cost can be judged from the cited sources. These costs illustrate those of adapting and those that might be suffered more or less frequently if climate changed. For example, if hurricanes became more frequent and no one adapted, costs like the $5 billion for

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Page 542 TABLE 34.1 Illustrative Costs of Impacts and Adaptations in Current Dollars. An impact may help, as when a warmer climate reduces snow removal, or harm, as when a drier climate makes droughts more frequent. Adaptations may temper the harm or exploit the benefit of a new climate, as when a new and adapted wheat variety is created or forest planted. Some entries, like the U.S. gross national product (GNP) or the changing GNP per capita in the world, give a scale for judging the costs of impacts and adaptations. The numbers included for scale are in italics. Class Description Dollars Per GNP 1985 total U.S.a 4,015 billion     1985 average U.S.a 17 thousand capita   1985 global averageb 3 thousand capita   2100 global average projectedb 7–36 thousand capita   2100 average U.S.c 150 thousand capita Climate hazardsd 1980 U.S. heat wavee 20 billion     1988 U.S. droughtf 39 billion     1983 Utah heavy snow, floods, and landslideg 300 million     1985 Ohio and Pennsylvania tornadosh 500 million     1985 West Virginia floodsi 700 million     1989 Hurricane Hugoj 5 billion   Recent annual average U.S. lossesk Hurricanesl 800–1,800 million     Floodsm 3 billion     Tornados and thunderstormsn 300–2,000 million     Winter storms and snowso 3 billion     Droughtp 800–1,000 million     1988 budget U.S. Weather Serviceq 323 million   (continued on page 543)

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Page 543 (Table 34.1 continued from page 542)   Comment: In an extremely adverse year, climate hazards may cost $40 billion or 1 percent of the $4,000 billion U.S. GNP, which is about $160 per capita.     Farming Create successful wheat varietyr 1 million     Kansas Agricultural Research Experiment Stations 33 million     U.S. and state agricultural researcht 2.3 billion     1974–1977 drought, federal expendituresu 7 billion     1986 U.S. farm GNPv 76 billion     Comment: During the drought of the 1970s, annual federal expenditures on drought relief averaged about 3 to 4 percent of farm GNP.     Forestryw Prepare and plant 130 acre   Treat with herbicide 41 acre   Fertilize 36 acre   Thin 55 acre   Protect from fire for 1 year 1.36 acre   1983 fire protection on state and private forestsx 245 million     1986 U.S. forestry and fishery GNPy 17 billion     Comment: Increasing expenditures to $1.36 per acre on all forest land would cost about a half billion dollars or 3 percent of forest and fishery GNP.     (continued on page 544)

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Page 544 (Table 34.1 continued from page 543) Class Description Dollars Per Natural landscape Preserve seed accession in a gene bankz 20 year Preserve a plant in botanical gardenaa 500 year   Purchase an acre in a large reservebb 50–5,000 acre   Preserve a large mammal in zoocc 1,500–3,000 year   Preserve a large bird in zoodd 100–1,000 year   Recover peregrine falconee 3 million 1970–1990   Recover all endangered birds of preyff 5 million year   1985 expenditure on wildlife-related recreation, including hunting and fishinggg 55.4 billion     Budget of National Park Servicehh 1 billion year   Comment: The cost of recovering all endangered birds of prey is 1 ten-thousandth and the cost of the National Park Service is 2 percent of the annual expenditures on wildlife associated recreation.     Water Delaware River above Philadelphiaii 51 acrefoot   Sacramento Deltajj 137 acrefoot   High flow skimming, Hudson Riverkk 555 acrefoot   Desaltingll 2,200–5,400 acrefoot   Present national averagemm 533 acrefoot (continued on page 545)

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Page 545 (Table 34.1 continued from page 544)   Present irrigation water in Californiann 15 acrefoot   Annual water bill for domestic useoo 60 capita   Annual cost of water for irrigationpp 45 acre   Value of an acre of tomatoesqq 4,000 acre   Comment: Doubling the cost of domestic water would cost a person $60/$17,000 or a third of a percent of per capita GNP in the United States. Raising the cost of irrigation water from the present $15 per acrefoot to the $137 per acrefoot for the prospective water from the Sacramento Delta would cost 2 percent of the value of the tomatoes on an acre.     Industry Raise offshore drilling platform 1 mrr 16 million     1986 U.S. manufacturing GNPss 824 billion     Comment: The cost of raising an offshore drilling platform 1 m is less than 1 percent of its total cost.     Settlement Raise a Bangladesh embankment 3 mtt 800 m length   Raise a Dutch dike 1 muu 3 thousand m length   Build seawall, Charleston, South Carolinavv 6 thousand m length   Nourish beach for 1 year, Floridaww 35–200 m length   Nourish beach for 1 year, Charleston, South Carolinaxx 300 m length   Hurricane evacuationyy 35–50 person (continued on page 546)

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Page 546 (Table 34.1 continued from page 545) Class Description Dollars Per Settlement— Strengthen coastal property for 100-mph windzz 30–90 billion U.S. coast   Floodproof by raising house 3 ftaaa 10–40 thousand house   Move house from floodplainbbb 20–70 thousand house   Levees, berms, and pumpsccc 17 thousand ¼ acre   1986 U.S. state and local servicesddd 331 billion     Comment: Strengthening coastal properties for 100 mph wind would cost between a tenth and a third of current state and local service budgets for the entire United States. The cost of moving a house would be one to four times the present U.S. per capita GNP and a tenth to a half of that of 2100.     Migration Resettle a refugee in 1989, federal contributioneee 7 thousand person   Move contents of 450 ft2 apartment about 400 miles to a 4°C cooler climatefff 1,500   aNational income in 1985 was $3,222 billion. U.S. Bureau of the Census (1987, Table 670). bLashof and Tirpak (1990). The range for 2100 is from their slowly changing world scenario to their rapidly changing world scenario. cAssumes 1.9% growth per year, which is the annual average growth rate for U.S. GNP from 1800 to 1985. U.S. Bureau of the Census (1987) and U.S. Department of Commerce (1975). dClimate hazard figures represent estimates of total losses, including both private losses and government expenditures. (continued on page 547)

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Page 547 (Table 34.1 continued from page 546) eRiebsame et al. (1986). fRiebsame et al. (1991). gNational Hazards Research and Applications Information Center (NHRAIC), University of Colorado, Boulder. NHRAIC maintains an unreferenced data base on national hazards. Numbers referenced as NHRAIC are from their data base. hThese tornados also caused 85 deaths. NHRAIC data base. iThese floods also caused 47 deaths. NHRAIC data base. jHurricane Hugo also caused 20 deaths. NHRAIC data base. kDollar figures for average annual U.S. losses are estimates of total losses, including both private losses and government expenditures. lRiebsame et al. (1986). mPersonal communication from Office of Hydrology, National Weather Service, Silver Spring, Maryland, to W. Riebsame, NHRAIC, Boulder, Colorado, 1990. nKessler and White (1983). oGordon (1982). pRiebsame et al. (1986). qThe actual expenditure in 1988 for the U.S. National Weather Service was $322,913,000. U.S. Office of Management and Budget (1989, p. I-F14). rNewlin (1990). sU.S. Department of Agriculture (1989b). tU.S. Department of Agriculture (1989b). uWilhite (1983). vU.S. Bureau of the Census (1987, Table 670). wForestry numbers are from Straka et al. (1989) unless otherwise noted. xThe 1983 expenditures on about a half billion acres of State and private forest land was $0.50 per acre. The difference between this $0.50 and $1.36 times 736 million acres of total forest land is about a half billion dollars. U.S. Department of Agriculture (1986, Tables 661, 667, and 668). yU.S. Bureau of the Census (1987, Table 670). Agriculture, etc., less farming. zNational Plant Germplasm System, ARS, USDA operating costs only for regeneration, storage, and distribution. Personal communication from S. Eberhart, National Seed Storage Laboratory, Fort Collins, Colorado, to P. Waggoner, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, May 13, 1991. (continued on page 548)

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Page 548 (Table 34.1 continued from page 547) aa$500 per year is the amount of the subsidy from the Center for Plant Conservation to member gardens for maintaining a sample. Personal communication from V. Heywood, Center for Plant Conservation, to P. Waggoner, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Have, Connecticut, July 4, 1990. bbRange is $50–$500 per acre for land far from cities; $300–$5,000 per acre for land near cities. Personal communication from J. Ball, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington, to G. Orians, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, April 1990. ccCosts for food and labor only. Personal communication from J. Ball, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington, to G. Orians, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, April 1990. ddCosts for food and labor only. Personal communication from J. Ball, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington, to G. Orians, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, April 1990. eePersonal communication from J. Ball, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington, to G. Orians, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, April 1990. ffCade (1988). ggU.S. Bureau of the Census (1987, Table 380). hhU.S. Bureau of the Census (1988, Table 371). iiCost for raw water from modifications to F. E. Walter Reservoir. Personal communication from R. Tratoriano, Delaware River Basin Commission, to D. Sheer, Water Resources Management, Columbia, Maryland, 1990. jjNew Bureau of Reclamation, Central Valley Project. Cost for raw water at the plant. Does not include costs for delivery facilities to point of use. These figures are for construction costs of Auburn Dam allocated to water supply only—23% of total construction costs. Other costs allocated to flood control, instream flow, hydropower, and recreation. Personal communication from J. Denny, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Sacramento, to D. Sheer, Water Resources Management, Columbia, Maryland, 1990. kkIncludes cost of treatment and delivery facilities. R. Alpern, New York City Department of Environmental Conservation, First Intergovernmental Task Force Report. llCosts for desalting run from $2,000–$5,000/acrefoot/yr capital costs, plus operating costs of $2,000–$4,000/acrefoot (mainly energy costs). This equates very approximately to $2,200–$5,400/acrefoot. (continued on page 549)

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Page 549 (Table 34.1 continued from page 548) mmNational average water rates for water delivered to the end user were on the order of $533 per acrefoot for small users, less for large users. Arthur Young Water and Wastewater Survey (1988). nnMaximum of new contracts of U.S. Department of the Interior, Southern California. Personal communication from K. Frederick, U.S. Department of the Interior, to P. Waggoner, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, February, 1991. ooUse of 105 gallons per day (Solley et al., 1989) at $533 per acrefoot costs $63 per year. ppAt $15 per acrefoot, the 3 ft evaporating in a year would cost $45 per acre. qq27,000 acres in California produced 7,453 cwt of tomatoes valued at $18.30 per cwt. U.S. Department of Agriculture (1986). rrNew York Times, December 19, 1989. ssU.S. Bureau of the Census (1987, Table 670). ttRaising an embankment from 12 to 15 ft high to 18 to 25 ft high to protect from major cyclones and to fortify them with concrete or boulders would cost about $25,000 per 100 ft (New York Times, May 12, 1991). uuGoemans (1986). vvGibbs (1986). wwNational Research Council (1987). xxGibbs (1986). yyNHRAIC data base. zzUnnewehr (1989). aaaIllinois Department of Transportation (1986). bbbIllinois Department of Transportation (1986). cccFederal Insurance Administration (1984). dddU.S. Bureau of the Census (1987, Table 670). eeeKritz (1990). fffFrom Washington, D.C., to Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. Personal communication from J. Ausubel, The Rockefeller University, to P. Waggoner, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, May 10, 1991.

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Page 550 Hurricane Hugo would become more frequent. On the other hand, the cost of adaptation would include more frequent expenditures of $35 to $50 per person to evacuate or $30 billion to $90 billion to strengthen coastal buildings for stronger winds. In another example, a warmer and drier climate and no adaptation could raise the $800 million to $1,000 million per year for drought and cut the $3 billion for floods and $3 billion for winter storms and snows. Or, climate warming could raise the cost of floods by causing more rain and less snow in the spring. Adaptations would include costs for air conditioning and irrigation. They might include $1 million for an adapted wheat variety and some portion of the $33 million per year for the agricultural experiment station of a state in the Grain Belt. The residual impact would be the net of a new arrangement of production, comparative advantages, and prices. Some entries in the table provide scale. For example, the U.S. gross national product (GNP) in 1986 of $4,235 billion is a standard for judging the $30 billion to $90 billion for strengthening coastal buildings for 100-mph winds. The projected change from a global average income of $3.0 thousand in 1985 to $7.1 to $35.6 thousand in 2100 suggests the future wealth for adaptation. Again, these costs of impacts and adaptations are uncertain. Combining them with uncertain climate scenarios compounds the uncertainty. Nevertheless, the table illustrates the scale or order. Before beginning these examinations of sensitivities, impacts and adaptations, we raise eight questions to keep in mind throughout the examination (Ausubel, 1991). They are familiar ones. Stating them at the outset makes our examination more exact. After the examination of activities, we will revisit these questions. 1.  Is faster change worse than slow? 2.  Will waiting to make policy and act drive up costs? 3.  Are there only losers from climate change? 4.  Will the most important impacts be on farming and from the rise of sea level? 5.  Will changes in extreme climatic conditions be more important than changes in average conditions? 6.  Are the changes unprecedented from the perspective of adaptation? 7.  Will impacts be harder on less developed countries than on developed countries? 8.  Are some hedges clearly economical? Raising these questions at the outset provides a backdrop for our examinations. After examination of activities, we will see how these questions should be revised.

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Page 551 Primary Production of Organic Matter Why this Subject Investigation of sensitivity, impact, and adaptation to climate change begins with a paradox. The chief greenhouse gas, CO2, is feared for its effect on climate, but at the same time it is the key building material of all living things. Green plants are the eventual source of essentially all foods used by living organisms, whether plant or animal. They manufacture the food from CO2 and water in their green leaves, which are essentially all outdoors and hence subject to climate. The vital role of plants for food, the peculiar effect of CO2 on them, and their exposure to climate cause us to examine farming, forestry, and the natural landscape early in this chapter. First, however, we examine commonalities among all three: photosynthesis, the pores that funnel CO2 in and water out of leaves, and the limits on experiments with systems of plants outdoors. Photosynthesis Using the energy from sunlight, plants convert CO2 from the air and water from the soil into food and oxygen. Since CO2 is the raw material for photosynthesis, one expects that enriching the air with CO2 will deliver more raw material and speed the formation of food. Although bottlenecks or limiting factors in the photosynthetic factory of a plant can restrict the speedup enabled by the delivery of more raw material, Figure 34.1 shows that the expected can happen. In a controlled atmosphere in a laboratory, raising CO2 from about 300 to 600 ppm speeds photosynthesis in corn by about 20 percent. In wheat it speeds photosynthesis more, by about 60 percent. Corn exemplifies plants called C4 whose photosynthesis is fast and yield is high today. Wheat typifies a more common sort of plant called C3 whose photosynthesis is slower than the other class today. Most plants in natural landscapes fall into the slower class. Leaf Pores CO2 arrives at the site of photosynthesis inside leaves through minute pores in the leaves. Since the interior of leaves is moist, water escapes through the pores. So much escapes that evaporation from an acre of foliage is about the same as from an acre of a lake. Not surprisingly, most plants have pores that close at night when photosynthesis stops. They also narrow when CO2 is abundant. The closing or narrowing saves water.

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