Economist Brent Boehlert and his colleagues at MIT have issued a new report showing that curbing carbon emissions would represent a huge benefit for agriculture and the nation as a whole by reducing the frequency and severity of future crop-parching droughts and saving American farmers billions of dollars annually by 2100. The study is found in the July issue of Weather, Climate and Society. The study is interesting because the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change has been focused on the hard science side of academia. This is a group of economists who are adding an economic analysis supporting emission curbs.
The study estimates that large-scale climate action would save farmers about $980 million annually by 2050 while more modest cuts would net savings of around $390 million annually. The two scenarios would keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below 500 and 600 parts per million, respectively, compared with 1,750 ppm without mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.
Droughts currently cost the United States between $6 billion and $8 billion a year. They are expected to grow worse in the absence of aggressive climate change action, particularly in other countries. The study found an overall benefit of $2.2 billion a year to U.S. agriculture from aggressive carbon emission reductions.
Source: Science News