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gated acres in the country.
Althoughthe state may nd conditions increas-ingly avorable or cotton, corn, andnew citrus crops, traditional avoritesincluding peaches, apples, soybeans,and wheat will suer. More pesticidesand herbicides will also be requiredunder any projected scenario.
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.
A drier uture would convert someorests into grasslands and increaseorest res, while a wetter one wouldattract more pests and avor hard- woods over sotwoods.
Also likely tosuer, and enjoyed by over 2.3 millionpeople, would be hunting, shing,and wildlie viewing,
which heavily depend on the state’s biodiversity.
A Job Drought
Alabama’s population is expected to increase by some 700,000 peopleby 2025,
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.
Agriculture and wildlie-related industries collectively supportover 102,000 jobs,
with nearly 33,000 more in orest-related wood,paper, and urniture manuacturingbusinesses.
Yet they are ar rom theonly potentially aected industries. Alabama alls within the Gul Coastregion’s integrated network o roads,ports, and rail lines;
wholesale trade,transportation and warehousingaccount or over 126,500 jobs state- wide.
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.”
Even i the worst-aected roads are not located in Alabama, the interconnectedness o the network threatens its economy.
Less Sweet Home, Alabama
Despite the signicant challenges to Alabama’s landscape and industry rom climate change, some o themost elt eects 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
Since Alabama already averages 80°F in mid-summer,
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.
Tese changes could alsointerrupt the predictability o work and home lie.
Source: Alabama Department o Industrial Relations
Sources: U.S. Energy Inormation Administration,
State Energy Proles: Alabama
; National Climatic Data Center
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