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PNPL 2011 Alabama

PNPL 2011 Alabama

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Published by: The American Security Project on Feb 14, 2012
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FACTS
 
 ALABAMA 
AMERICAN SECURITY PROJECT
Pay Now, Pay Later: Alabama
 A 
dmittedly, the eects o climatechange, a complex and intri-cate phenomenon, are dicultto predict with precision. Inormedscientic and economic projections, as we have used in our research, however,allow us to see that Alabama acessignicant losses in industries crucialto its economy i no action is taken.Moreover, data shows Alabama ispoised to benet rom the research,development, and distribution o renewable energy technologies. Although Alabama possesses signi-cant coal and natural gas deposits,roughly 25% o its electricity comesrom nuclear power. It is also one o the largest hydroelectric producers easto the Rockies,
5
and is only begin-ning to exploit its tremendous biouelcapacity.
6
Should we ail to take actionagainst climate change, Alabamanshave much to lose.
Climate change puts Alabama’s extraordinary biodiversity at risk, threatening the naturalwealth that enriches both the state’s beauty and its bottom line.
1
Over one in eight employed Alabamans work in an industry sensitive to climate change.
2
Alabama generates a signicant portion o its electricity rom nuclear and renewablesources, and has the capacity to generate substantially more renewable energy
3
—and jobs.
4
According to a new study, a ailure to mitigate the efects o climate change could beginto cause serious gross domestic product and job losses within the next several decades.Between 2010 and 2050, it could cost Alabamans $29.2 billion in GDP and over 246,000 jobs.*
Pay Later: The Cost o Inaction
 Ask twenty Alabamans what’s mostdistinct about their state, and you may  well hear twenty dierent answers. Alabama’s landscape rolls rom moun-tains to coastline, with distinctiveecoregions such as Blackland Prairieand Lime Hills in between.
7
It has asaltwater coast, roughly 1,300 mileso navigable inland waterways,
8
andprots rom shrimping and oysteringin the zones where saltwater andreshwater meet.
9
Alabama is rich inorests
10
and armland,
11
and boastsa diverse economy.
12
Climate changeputs many o Alabama’s belovedeatures in danger, and as one scientisthas noted, its “uture will be, mostlikely, ar dierent rom the past.”
13
 Most at risk are Alabama’s extraordi-nary biodiversity, jobs sensitive toclimate change, and residents’ quality o lie.
Less Temperate, More Tropical
 Alabama harbors incredible biodi- versity, ranking 4
th
14
or 5
th
15
among states and 2
nd 
only to Florida inthe number o species per squaremile
.
16
 
Te combination o geologicaldiversity and regular precipitationpatterns makes Alabama somethingo a miniature, extraordinarily biodi-verse version o the entire Southeast.
17
Together, agriculture, orestry,and wildlie-related industries in Alabama account or approximately $20 billion annually,
18
or roughly 12% o gross state product (GSP)
.
19
Alabama is rich in orests andarmland,
 
and boasts a diversiedeconomy. Climate change putsmany o Alabama’s beloved eaturesin danger, and as one scientist hasnoted, its uture will be, most likely,ar diferent rom the past.”
 Alabama’s coastal regions are projectedto get warmer and drier, putting allcurrent crops at risk and dramatically increasing the need or irrigation; Alabama currently has the ewest irri-
*GDP numbers are based on a 0% discount rate. Job losses are measured in labor years, or entire years o ulltime employment. Backus, George et al., “Assessing the Near-erm Risk o Climate Uncertainty:Interdependencies among the U.S. States,” Sandia Report (Sandia National Laboratories, May 2010),141.
https://cfwebprod.sandia.gov/cfdocs/CCIM/docs/Climate_Risk_Assessment.pdf  
(accessed  March 23, 2011).
 
1100 New York Avenue, NW|Suite 710W|Washington, DC 20005 202.347.4267| 
www.americansecurityproject.org
gated acres in the country.
20
Althoughthe state may nd conditions increas-ingly avorable or cotton, corn, andnew citrus crops, traditional avoritesincluding peaches, apples, soybeans,and wheat will suer. More pesticidesand herbicides will also be requiredunder any projected scenario.
21
 Harder hit would be Alabama’s orests.Climate models disagree as to whetherinland Alabama would get wetter ordrier, but neither bodes well or theLoblolly Pine, a workhorse tree in Alabama’s managed pine orests.
22
  A drier uture would convert someorests into grasslands and increaseorest res, while a wetter one wouldattract more pests and avor hard- woods over sotwoods.
23
Also likely tosuer, and enjoyed by over 2.3 millionpeople, would be hunting, shing,and wildlie viewing,
24
which heavily depend on the state’s biodiversity.
A Job Drought
 Alabama’s population is expected to increase by some 700,000 peopleby 2025,
25
but jobs may not grow as quickly 
. In act, there’s muchto suggest that climate change willdepress employment in some key stateindustries—at least 261,000 Alabama jobs may be threatened by climatechange.
26
Agriculture and wildlie-related industries collectively supportover 102,000 jobs,
27
with nearly 33,000 more in orest-related wood,paper, and urniture manuacturingbusinesses.
28
Yet they are ar rom theonly potentially aected industries. Alabama alls within the Gul Coastregion’s integrated network o roads,ports, and rail lines;
29
wholesale trade,transportation and warehousingaccount or over 126,500 jobs state- wide.
30
Yet the Union o ConcernedScientists notes that “27% o the majorroads, 9% o the rail lines, and 72%o the ports” within the region arebuilt at or below the level reached by a potential our-oot rise in sea level,and estimates that “60,000 miles o coastal highway are already exposedto periodic fooding rom coastalstorms and high waves.
31
Even i the worst-aected roads are not located in Alabama, the interconnectedness o the network threatens its economy.
Less Sweet Home, Alabama
Despite the signicant challenges to Alabama’s landscape and industry rom climate change, some o themost elt eects will be those stainingshirts and straining air condi-tioners.
 According to the Union o Concerned Scientists, by century’send summer temperatures could increase by 3-7°F, with the July heat index—a determination o how it “eels” when temperatureand humidity are combined—10-25°F higher
.
32
Since Alabama already averages 80°F in mid-summer,
33
inthe uture it could eel 90°F or hotterevery day during the summer. Alabama will be vulnerable to heat waves, particularly in major cities suchas Birmingham, Montgomery, andMobile. Increased ground level ozoneand smog could become persistenthealth hazards or urban residents incities (such as Birmingham) where airquality already ails to meet ederalstandards. Industrial, agricultural, andresidential competition or resh watercould threaten supplies, while increas-ingly requent extreme precipitationevents would contribute to contami-nated runo and disease transmis-sion.
34
Tese changes could alsointerrupt the predictability o work and home lie.
Source: Alabama Department o Industrial Relations 
Sources: U.S. Energy Inormation Administration,
State Energy Proles: Alabama
; National Climatic Data Center 
020406080100120140160180
Billions ($)
The Threat of Stronger Storms: AverageCost by Hurricane Category v. AlabamaGSP
Category 2: Hurricanes Ike & Gustav, $16 billionCategory 3: Ivan, Dennis, Rita & Katrina, $42.1 billionAlabama GSP, $170 billion (2008)
 Alabaman LaborForce Projected tobe Directly Affected
14%
 
1100 New York Avenue, NW|Suite 710W|Washington, DC 20005 202.347.4267| 
www.americansecurityproject.org
O the 70 natural disasters that caused $1 billion or more in damage in the UnitedStates between 1980 and October 2007, at least 21 o them aected Alabama,
35
 including two Category 2 hurricanes and six Category 3 hurricanes.
36
A recent reportnotes that with climate change in the Southeast, the “intensity, power, and destructiveenergy… o hurricanes is likely to increase.”
37
Tat is signicant, since more powerulstorms have been shown to cause, on average, ar greater damage.
38
Rising sea levels willalso exacerbate damaging storm surges; mid-range projections anticipate a sea level riseo up to 15 inches by 2100.
39
Pay Now: The Benets o Taking Action
 Alabamans have the opportunity to take important and benecial steps to combatclimate change. Demanding that renewable energy sources constitute at least 20% o electricity generation by 2020 is a good and readily achievable start.
40
Alabama couldalso spearhead implementation o available technologies to reduce demand by 20-30%by 2020.
41
Alabama already supports nearly 8,000 jobs in clean energy and relatedindustries,
42
and could gain nearly 30,000 more rom a major clean energy initiative.
43
 Biomass is extremely promising in Alabama;
44
it has one o the world’s largest solidbiouel actories—with a capacity to produce 520,000 metric tons o wood pellets—butmost o its production is currently shipped overseas.
45
rees can play an important role in this heavily orested state, rom homeowners reducing residential energy consumptionby planting strategically placed trees,
46
to the replacement o Loblolly Pines with Longlea Pines, a more drought- and re-resistant species.
47
Investment in biouel research can also pay dividends, since parts o Alabama are avorable or switch-grass, which can be cultivated or biouel.
48
Conclusion
 Alabama must consider action on climate change not just in terms o cost, but also in terms o opportunities. I we give Alabama’s population, businesses, and investors clear and consistent signals by properly oering initiatives and cultivatingdemand, investment and innovation in renewable technologies will ollow.
 Alabamans will have to pay or the eects o climate change.
Te only remaining question is whether they will pay now,or pay later and run the risk o paying signicantly more.(Endnotes)
1 Alabama Department o Industrial Relations, “Employees in Nonagricultural Industries in Alabama,”
 Alabama Labor Market News,
August 2010.
http://www2.dir.state.al.us/ces/deault.aspx 
(accessed September 1, 2010).2 Detailed below in “A Job Drought.” Ibid.3 National Wildlie Federation,
Global Warming and Alabama
, January 20, 2009, 2.
http://www.nw.org/Global-Warming/~/media/PDFs/Global%20Warming/Global%20Warming%20State%20Fact%20Sheets/Alabama.ashx 
(accessed August 3, 2010);National Wildlie Federation,
Charting a New Path or Alabama’s Electricity Generation and Use 
, 2008, 1-2.
http://www.nw.org/Global-Warming/~/media/PDFs/Global%20Warming/Clean%20Energy%20State%20Fact%20Sheets/ALABAMA_10-22.ashx 
(accessed August 3, 2010).

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