Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Columbia University have released a statement on all the ways global warming will allegedly impact our lives. But like many such efforts the claimed impacts fail to consider simple adaptions already practiced by people who live in warm climates.
My comments in italics
10 Climate Change Impacts That Will Affect Us All
BY RENEE CHO |DECEMBER 27, 2019
1. Damage to your home
Floods, the most common and deadly natural disasters in the U.S., will likely be exacerbated and intensified by sea level rise and extreme weather.
Even if this is a problem, the solution is flood control, like our politicians should be doing anyway but all too frequently don’t – dredging rivers, building and maintaining dams, pumps and diversion channels. And decent drainage infrastructure, like municipal authorities build in the tropics, to rapidly remove large volumes of rainwater from tropical downpours, before they cause any harm.
2. More expensive home insurance
As insurance companies pay out huge amounts to homeowners whose houses have been damaged by climate change impacts, many are raising premiums to offset their costs. Home insurance rates increased more than 50 percent between 2005 and 2015.
I wouldn’t be surprised if fire insurance in California has risen – because the government failed to properly manage Californian forests. Manage the risk, mitigate the insurance premiums.
3. Outdoor work could become unbearable
With continued global warming, heat waves are expected to increase in frequency, duration and intensity. Jane Baldwin, a postdoctoral research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, found that compound heat waves—heat waves that occur in sequence, one after the other—will also increase, making recovery from heat waves more difficult.
Assuming people perform the same outdoor work in 2100 as they do today (unlikely), there is a simple solution practiced by construction workers and factories in the tropics – work at night. All you need is cheap electricity to run high powered floodlights, to turn night into day on the worksite.
4. Higher electric bills and more blackouts
As temperatures rise, people will need to stay cool for health and comfort reasons. Climate Central analyzed 244 cities in the U.S. and determined that 93 percent experienced an increase in the number of days that required extra cooling to remain comfortable. As we rely more heavily on air conditioners and fans, electricity bills will get higher.
The increased demand for electricity, especially during peak periods, can also over-tax the electrical grid, triggering brownouts or blackouts. Extreme weather, such as hurricanes, heat waves or snowstorms, can cause power outages too.
The solution is to invest in the most resilient and inexpensive energy infrastructure available. If demand for electricity does rise, more revenue will be available for power companies to invest in supply resilience, providing they are not forced by politicians to spend that additional revenue on expensive unreliable energy infrastructure, like renewables.
5. Rising taxes
Municipalities are recognizing the need to make their communities more resilient in the face of climate change impacts. Although measures such as building seawalls or hardening infrastructure are hugely expensive, the National Climate Assessment determined that resiliency measures save money in the long run — for example, by reducing coastal property damage to about $800 billion from a projected $3.5 trillion. Paying for mitigation and adaptation measures, however, will likely have to be funded through higher property taxes or “resilience fees.”
A few mm / year sea level rise is not a threat to any but the most low laying properties. Anybody who buys a property on the foreshore is wealthy enough to take care of their own house, without trying to push the cost onto taxpayers who can’t afford a foreshore property.
6. More allergies and other health risks
Warmer temperatures cause the pollen season to be longer and worsen air quality, both of which can result in more allergy and asthma attacks. Ground-level ozone, a major component of smog, which increases when temperatures warm, can also cause coughing, chest tightness or pain, decrease lung function and worsen asthma and other chronic lung diseases.
If this was true, tropical regions would be uninhabitable for asthmatics and people with allergy problems, like myself. As an asthmatic who lives in the tropics, I’m happy to report this is simply not true – modern medicine is well capable of managing any issues.
7. Food will be more expensive and variety may suffer
In the last 20 years, food prices have risen about 2.6 percent each year, and the USDA expects that food prices will continue to rise. While there are several reasons for higher food prices, climate change is a major factor. Extreme weather affects livestock and crops, and droughts can have impacts on the stability and price of food. New York apple farmers, for example, are facing warmer winters and extreme weather, which can wipe out harvests. They are trying to save their apples with new irrigation systems and wind machines that blow warm air during cold spells, but eventually these added costs will be reflected in the price of apples.
A significant part of the reason for high food prices is climate policy, especially biofuel. In 2008, Obama’s biofuel push caused widespread starvation and riots in poor countries. If governments stop incentivising people to burn food, more food might be available for eating.
8. Water quality could suffer
Intense storms and heavy precipitation can result in the contamination of water resources. In cities, runoff picks up pollutants from the streets, and can overflow sewage systems, allowing untreated sewage to enter drinking water supplies.
Only for municipalities which underinvest in water infrastructure, and try to lay the blame on climate change.
9. Outdoor exercise and recreational sports will become more difficult
Reduced snowfall and early snowmelt in the spring will have an impact on skiing, snowmobiling and other winter sports. Less water in lakes and rivers could also affect boating and fishing during summer.
Hotter temperatures, especially in the South and Southwest, will make summer activities like running, biking, hiking and fishing less comfortable and potentially dangerous to your health.
If Summer is too hot, do your recreation and bushwalking in Fall or Spring. In the hot, tropical part of Australia where I live, we tend to spend Summer sitting around the BBQ or swimming pool drinking beer. Bushwalking is more of a Winter / Spring / Fall activity. As for skiing – still waiting for the end of snow.
10. Disruptions in travel
As temperatures rise, it may get too hot for some planes to fly. In 2015, Radley Horton, associate research professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and then Ph.D. student Ethan Coffel published a study calculating how extreme heat could restrict the takeoff weight of airplanes. Hotter air is less dense, so planes get less lift under their wings and engines produce less power. Airlines may be forced to bump passengers or leave luggage behind to lighten their loads. This concern is one reason why long-distance flights from the Middle East leave at night; the practice could become standard for the U.S. as well.
Utter nonsense. Aircraft lift does tend to be lower in hot weather. But if this becomes a persistent problem, manufacturers will adjust aircraft designs to produce more lift, to accommodate expected operating conditions.Read more: https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2019/12/27/climate-change-impacts-everyone/
Are people who write such fear mongering climate articles actually aware of how flimsy their arguments are?