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PNPL 2011 Oklahoma

PNPL 2011 Oklahoma

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Published by: The American Security Project on Feb 14, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Pay Now, Pay Later: Oklahoma
dmittedly, the eects o climatechange, a complex and intri-cate phenomenon, are dicultto predict with precision. Inormedscientifc and economic projec-tions, however, as we have used inour research, allow us to see thatOklahoma aces signifcant losses to itseconomy i no action is taken.Moreover, data shows Oklahoma ispoised to beneft rom the research,development, and distribution o renewable energy technologies. Tanksto its unique geography, Oklahomahas sucient resources to produce17 times the state’s annual electricity needs.
Should we ail to take actionagainst climate change, Oklahoma hasmuch to lose.
Oklahoma, the nation’s third largest producer o wheat,
could see a decline in wheat yieldsby 27-37% as temperatures increase beyond wheat’s standard temperature range.
Oklahoma is likely to experience more droughts, which promise to be costly. For instance,the severe 1998 drought was estimated to cost the state around $2 billion.
 Thanks to its unique geography and environment, Oklahoma has the potential to produce9% o the entire country’s electricity needs via wind energy.
According to a new study, a ailure to mitigate the eects 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 Oklahoma $38 billion in GDP and over 312,000 jobs.*
Pay Later: The Cost o Inaction
Climate change is expected to produce warmer, drier summers in the state andincrease the requency o high inten-sity weather events such as droughts.Due to these changes, Oklahoma will fnd it increasingly dicult tosuciently access an already limitedreshwater supply. Tese changes will also decrease livestock and cropyield, negatively aecting Oklahoma’simportant agricultural industry. Hometo one o the most inland ocean-goingports in the nation, the Port o ulsa,
 lower water levels will likely threatenOklahoma’s income generated through water transportation. Lower waterlevels are projected to create delays andincrease costs to industries that rely on water transport.
Data shows Oklahoma is poisedto benet rom the research,development, and distribution o renewable energy technologies. Thanks to its unique geography,Oklahoma has sufcient resources toproduce 17 times the state’s annualelectricity needs. Should we ail totake action against climate change,Oklahoma has much to lose.
An Agrarian History under Stress
 With around 75% o its area dedi-cated to armland, Oklahoma dependsheavily on access to reshwater.
 However, current water use is unsus-tainable since the groundwater supply,notably in the High Plains aquier,is tapped aster than it can replinish.Te aquier’s water levels have allenan average o 13 eet since 1950, whilesome o the most heavily irrigatedareas have dropped between 100 eetand more than 250 eet.
 At present,the states drawing rom its reservesare draining the High Plains aquierat an annual volume equal to 18Colorado Rivers
Longer periods o drought and quicker evaporation ratesdue to rising temperatures will speedits depletion and urther tax an already shrinking supply o necessary resh- water in the state.
*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-Term Risk o Climate Uncertainty:Interdependencies among the U.S. States,” Sandia Report (Sandia National Laboratories, May 2010),141.
(accessed  March 23, 2011).
1100 New York Avenue, NW|Suite 710W|Washington, DC 20005 202.347.4267| 
Oklahoma is the 3
largest wheatproducer and 5
largest cattleproducer in the nation. Te state alsoboasts one o the highest poultry and swine production rates in thecountry. In addition, Oklahoma’sthriving commercial timber produc-tion contributes more than $1.5 billionannually to the economy.
All o these industries are naturally sensi-tive to climate shits and stand tosuer rom climate change. Producingcertain crops will be unsustainableat higher temperatures. For example,Oklahoma’s wheat crop may declineby 27-37% rom rising temperatures.
 Crops will be urther threatened by a greater number o insects and newpests sustained by the higher tempera-tures and the earlier arrival o spring.
  Among other negative climateactors to aect these industries, theOklahoma Climatological Survey has predicted that earlier maturationo various crops will increase theirvulnerability to late reezes, and agreater risk o wildfres arises romdrier and warmer environmentalconditions.
Although climate predic-tions call or longer rain-ree periods,rainall is expected to be more intense when it does occur—and is likely toincrease contamination and erosiondue to water runo rom agricultural,mining, oil, and natural gas explora-tion areas that contain ertilizers andother pollutants.
Oklahoma’s cattle industry will also benegatively aected, as increased heatand humidity will reduce the animals’ability to gain weight, reproduce, andproduce milk. Should temperaturesrise 9-11ºF (as upper-range tempera-ture predictions indicate) Oklahomais projected to ace a 10% decline inlivestock yields.
Harm to Transporters and Manuac-turers
Drier conditions leading to droughtsalso have the potential to impair water trac and, in turn, negatively impact industries dependent on water transportation. Following the1996 drought, the Oklahoma WaterResources Board commissioned adrought contingency plan, whichestimated that the navigability o thevital McClellan-Kerr Arkansas RiverNavigation System could be severely impaired by drought.
Signifcantdrops in water levels would aectshipping or the more than 10 milliontons shipped through the systemannually via its 445-mile waterway.
 Companies attempting to transportgoods would ace delays and could berequired to use pricier transportationalternatives such as rail or truck.
Pay Now: The Benetso Taking Action
Oklahoma stands to lose part o itstraditional income due to the eectso climate change. It also stands tolose part o its traditional incomeshould the country work actively andenact the necessary policies to counterclimate change. Te state is rich in oilfelds, refneries, and the like; thestate’s economy has long been depen-dent on this sector. Oklahoma is alsorich in natural gas, a better, but notperect, alternative to the oil and coalit produces.
 Moreover, the state is positionedto beneft rom urther devel-oping renewable energy resources.Oklahoma already taps into windenergy resources and generates 7% o its electricity using other renewableresources.
However, renewables cancontribute much more, particularly by urther exploiting wind energy poten-tial—Oklahoma has 2.3 times morepotential wind energy per square milethan the neighboring state o exas.
Te panhandle region alone could realize $12 billion in capital invest-ment in wind energy—which holdsthe potential to generate more than8,400 MW—and could yield $1.2billion in wind-generated electricity annually 
By comparison, all o Oklahoma currently produces only 1,130 M
Oklahoma’s location
Oklahoman LaborForce Projected tobe Directly Affected
Source: Oklahoma Employment Security Commis-sion
1100 New York Avenue, NW|Suite 710W|Washington, DC 20005 202.347.4267| 
near existing wind projects in the center o the wind corridor, its robust manuacturing industry, and its central U.S.location are important actors in urther developing its renewable energy capacity.
Tanks to its unique geography and environment,
Oklahoma has the potential to produce 17 times the state’sannual electricity needs
(9% o the entire country’s electricity needs) via wind energy 
Oklahoma must consider action on climate change not just in terms o cost, but in terms o opportunities. I we giveOklahoma’s population, businesses, and investors clear and consistent signals by properly oering initiatives and cultivatingdemand, investment and innovation in renewable technologies will ollow.
Oklahomans will have to pay or the eects o climate change.
Te only remaining question is whether Oklahoma willpay now, or pay later and run the risk o paying signifcantly more.(Endnotes)
1 Oklahoma Agriculture, Food and Forestry,
 A Welcome rom the Commissioner 
(accessed May 31,2010).2 National Wildlie Federation,
Global Warming and Oklahoma
, January 20, 2009, 2.
(accessed September23, 2010).3 Donald A. Wilhite and Mark D. Svoboda,
Drought Early Warning Systems in the Context o Drought Preparedness and Mitigation
,National Drought Mitigation Center, 2.
(accessed June 7, 2010).4 Oklahoma State Energy Oce,
Oklahoma Wind 
(accessedMay 26, 2010).5 National Wildlie Federation, 2.6 ulsa Port o Catoosa,
 A Port in Oklahoma? 
(accessed September 23, 2010).7 American Farmland rust,
State Agriculture Profle: Oklahoma
(accessed May 26, 2010).8 Union o Concerned Scientists,
Backgrounder: Great Plains 
, 2.
(accessed September 23, 2010).9 Jane Braxton Little, “Te Ogallala Aquier: Saving a Vital U.S. Water Sources,”
Scientifc American
, March 2009.
http://www. wiserearth.org/resource/view/a49d7708c00ed892a092bd8413c08b
(accessed September 23, 2010).10 Oklahoma Agriculture, Food and Forestry.11 National Wildlie Federation, 2; Oklahoma Climatological Survey,
Statement on Climate Change and its Implications or Oklahoma.
(accessed May 24, 2010).12 Union o Concerned Scientists, 2.13 Oklahoma Climatological Survey, 2.14 Environmental Protection Agency,
Climate Change and Oklahoma
, September 1998, 4.
(accessed September 23, 2010).15 Union o Concerned Scientists, 2.

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