Climate uncertainty and implications for U.S. state-level risk assessment through 2050 [report]

Verne W. Loose, Thomas Stephen Lowry, Leonard A. Malczynski, Vincent Carroll Tidwell, Kevin Louis Stamber, Andjelka Kelic, George A. Backus, Drake E. Warren, Aldo A. Zagonel, Mark Andrew Ehlen, Geoffrey T. Klise, Vanessa N. Vargas
2009 unpublished
Decisions for climate policy will need to take place in advance of climate science resolving all relevant uncertainties. Further, if the concern of policy is to reduce risk, then the best-estimate of climate change impacts may not be so important as the currently understood uncertainty associated with realizable conditions having high consequence. This study focuses on one of the most uncertain aspects of future climate change -precipitation -to understand the implications of uncertainty on
more » ... and the near-term justification for interventions to mitigate the course of climate change. We show that the mean risk of damage to the economy from climate change, at the national level, is on the order of one trillion dollars over the next 40 years, with employment impacts of nearly 7 million labor-years. At a 1% exceedance-probability, the impact is over twice the mean-risk value. Impacts at the level of individual U.S. states are then typically in the multiple tens of billions dollar range with employment losses exceeding hundreds of thousands of laboryears. We used results of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report 4 (AR4) climate-model ensemble as the referent for climate uncertainty over the next 40 years, mapped the simulated weather hydrologically to the county level for determining the physical consequence to economic activity at the state level, and then performed a detailed,
doi:10.2172/1001003 fatcat:qbo3o6h4xbbgvlbrwchvatbooq