Friday, November 14, 2008

The Golden State

In one 24 hour period, Southern California participated in the largest eartquake simulation drill in history (designed to prepare for the impending monster quake that seismologists assure is coming to destroy half of the state) and UC Berkelely released a global warming report that pretty much says that we are more or less toast. Charming.

The Golden State, indeed.

Because I'm pressed for time today and this isn't really the right forum to talk about earthquakes, I'll gently prod you to take a look at the Berkeley study which is positively"Berkeley-esque" in its dire predictions.

Some of the highlights, courtesy of the Mercury News are:

- Water: An estimated $5 billion in levees, aqueducts and other water systems are at risk, and costs could reach $600 million a year in what the researchers call the "high-warming scenario."

- Energy: $21 billion in transmission lines, power plants and grid components are at risk, with annual damage ranging from $2.7 billion to $6.3 billion. Potential impacts could include less hydropower due to less rainfall; more hot days requiring greater use of air conditioning; and more winter storms causing more power outages.

- Transportation: $500 billion at risk to ports, airports, roads and bridges.
- Tourism and recreation: $98 billion in assets are at risk, with annual damage ranging from $200 million to $7.5 billion. "In the highest warming scenario, California's ski industry collapses," Roland-Holst writes. Beaches, golf courses and state and national parks, will be impacted, too.
Real estate and insurance: $2.5 trillion in homes, office buildings, warehouses and other structures are at risk, and water damage could cost $1.4 billion a year, while fire damage could result in $2.5 billion in damages.

- Agriculture, forests and fisheries: $113 billion in crop land and orchards, livestock, forests and squid and salmon fisheries are at risk, with annual damage ranging from $300 million to $4.3 billion.

- Public health: Annual costs due to atmospheric changes range from $3.8 billion to $24 billion a year.