Economics of Climate Change

A changing climate is already being felt in the pocketbook. Whether these are direct, weather-related crop losses or new sources of income, weather and climate have a direct economic impact on Northeast producers.

Many are looking at long- and short-term strategies to improve their farm’s resilience to severe weather such as heavy rain storms or to profit from increasing average temperatures and longer growing seasons. Economic case studies provide additional insight on the impacts of climate change on specific producers and the solutions they have adopted. These can help farmers determine whether potential investments would be worthwhile. Other case studies analyze the value of potential solutions such as new infrastructure or equipment over the long term. In addition to these case studies, specific state resources and tools are available from NRCS and others. These include farm budgets, statistics, and various cost-benefit analyses.

Recent Case Studies

Irrigation

In the Northeast we are seeing more heavy rain but also extended dry periods. With this extreme and variable wet weather taking its toll on farms, a key question is: Does crop irrigation make sense as a farm resilience strategy given the overall increased precipitation in the Northeast? Surprisingly, a recent case study shows that .  


Culverts

Heavy rains are also changing the economics of road . Flash floods, and seasonal flooding events can trigger catastrophic disturbances in forest ecosystems when floodwaters exceed the ability of a culvert to pass water. When culverts or stream structures are overtopped or plugged by woody debris (like sticks and branches), this can lead to soil disturbances and streambank erosion that often deliver large volumes of sediment downstream.

Flood events caused by undersized or poorly designed stream-crossings can impart major damage to wildlife habitat and adjacent properties. Stream-crossings have a lower risk of failure if designed appropriately for the stream, and with consideration of current and future regional climate conditions.

Other Case Studies, Tools and Resources

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Pennsylvania 

Vermont