Agri Kultuur December / Desember 2018 - Page 33

divide. Most of the welfare losses, assessed for six impact areas, would be greatly reduced under a 2°C scenario.” It attempts to put a crude measurement on the consumer cost to Europe’s economic welfare of various levels of possible climate change, and the headline figure is that 3°C warming could impose losses on the European Union nations of 1.9% of gross domestic product, or €240bn a year. But this is an understatement “because key climate impacts cannot be quantified,” the researchers say. And once again, losses would be considerably lower if warming was contained to within 2°C. Some winners Under a lower warming regime, there could even be some benefits: Eastern Europe could ..lexpect to see measurably higher agricultural yields, especially of wheat and maize. In southern Europe, which will be both drier and warmer, yields are expected to decline. Irrigation may not be the answer: the harvest from irrigated fields is likely to start showing a decline by the mid-2030s. By 2050, crop prices are likely to be depressed by the impacts of climate change. In effect, farmers could expect lower output, and on top of that, lower incomes per unit of output. And these calculations do not include the direct impact of weather extremes – the AgriKultuur |AgriCulture heatwaves that shrivel seedlings, the hailstorms and high winds that damage blossom and so on – that are likely to be amplified by overall global warming. “Under a high warming scenario, several climate impacts show a clear geographical north-south divide. Most of the welfare losses ... would be greatly reduced under a 2°C scenario” Transport, too, will be at the mercy of ever more intense and more frequent extremes of weather. By the century’s end, 200 airports and 850 seaports – large and small – could be affected by flooding from either rising sea levels or heavier downpours. And the Mediterranean climate zone – with its unique mix of habitat, ground cover, biodiversity and crops – would become increasingly vulnerable to droughts, fires, pests and invasive alien species. Labour productivity will fall, especially in the south, and in some places, employers might have to plan to shift some work to the cooler night, with the additional costs of chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression associated with night work. At 3°C, heat extremes could lead to additional deaths per year up to 132 000. But even at 2°C this figure could soar to 58 000 extra deaths per year. – Climate News Network info@ climatenewsnetwork.net 33