Why should we worry about global warming anyway?  What could it possibly do to us that wouldn’t be good?  I mean warmer weather – great!  A longer summer – great!  A warmer lake for swimming – great!  A longer growing season – maybe.

The Center for American Progress has looked at what climate change might mean.  I am going to summarize here what they found for things that are relevant to us in Ontario.

What about food?  Pacific salmon have already vanished from 40% of their traditional habitats in the Northwest but warmer temperatures are going to erase another 41% of their habitat by 2090.  Scientists think that global warming will wipe out about 20% of wildflower species in the western USA to be replaced by grasses.  Guacamole will be a luxury because hotter temperatures will cause a 40% drop in California’s avocado production over the next 40 years.  With reduced water supplies and hotter temperatures, 65 countries will likely lose over 15% of their agricultural output by 2100.

Nice warm summers BUT more mosquitoes. Long dry spells will mean that the few remaining stagnant pools will become a vital source of water for thirsty birds. More birds mean more food for the resident mosquitoes. At the same time, the long dry spells will reduce the populations of dragonflies, lacewings and frogs that eat mosquitoes. West Nile virus, which has infected 21,000 in the US and Canada and killed more than 800, will increase.

Increased carbon dioxide levels will encourage poison ivy and other weeds to grow taller, lusher and more resilient.  Birds like the bobwhite and the field sparrow are dying because higher temperatures mess with their migration

schedules and their vital food stocks peak earlier so that, when they arrive, they can’t find enough to eat.

More floods.  More fires.  More hurricanes.  Thunderstorms will get more dangerous with deadly lightning, damaging hail and a higher potential for tornadoes.  More people will die from heat stroke and smog.

And what about our checkbooks?  A study done by the British Government showed Global Warming could cause a Global Great Depression costing each of us 20%.

That’s why we should do something and worry!

Note: This article is part of a series of blogs authored for RWDI and republished here with Dr. Young’s permission.

At the March 28, AI Sustainable Futures Summit, James Young PhD. will be speaking about climate change impacts and their economic consequences, with a focus on the Agricultural sector in terms of mitigating threats and taking advantage of opportunities and some of the technology analyses available to help. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.eventbrite.ca.