What Climate Change Would Look Like on One State: Trees Dying, No More Apples, Constant Flooding

The New York Times has a devastating story on the potential effects of climate change in New York State.

It's a small region, but a potent reminder of the real life effects that these changes over time would have. It's not just about the temperature warming, but about dramatic changes to the ecosystem. Similarly major changes would take place elsewhere:

For example, none of the varieties of apples currently grown in New York orchards would be viable. Dairy farms would be less productive as cows faced heat stress. And the state’s forests would be transformed; spruce-fir forests and alpine tundra would disappear as invasive species like kudzu, an aggressive weed, gained more ground.

If the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melt, as the report says could happen, the sea level could rise by as much as 55 inches, which means that beach communities would frequently be inundated by flooding.

 Of course, while the loss of sledding and apples and fir trees will be misery for all, 

The report found that the effects of climate change would fall disproportionately on the poor and the disabled.

In coastal areas in New York City and along rivers in upstate New York, it said, there is a high amount of low-income housing that would be in the path of flooding.

The report featured in the story "was commissioned by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, a public-benefit corporation, and is a result of three years of work by scientists at state academic institutions, including Columbia and Cornell Universities and the City University of New York."

 Read the whole thing here.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at November 18, 2011, 9:49am

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