Three Places That Will Actually Benefit From Climate Change

Three Places That Will Actually Benefit From Climate Change
Keith King/Traverse City Record-Eagle via AP, Pool, File
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Make no mistake, human-caused climate change is an urgent global threat, one in which the consequences vastly outweigh the benefits. Sea levels are rising, causing entire islands to disappear and coastal cities to flood. Warmer waters are intensifying hurricanes and augmenting their rainfall. Droughts are growing more common and lasting longer. Agricultural yields will likely fall in many of the globe's breadbasket regions. These impacts, along with many others, are predicted to sap the world's economy by trillions of dollars over the next thirty years.

But while climate change on a global scale is decidedly damaging, not all areas of the planet will experience these negative effects equally. In fact, some areas may actually benefit. As Earth's climate changes, here are three regions that could be big winners.

1. Northern Minnesota and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. While climate change is commonly characterized by extremes in temperature and weather, the northernmost parts of Minnesota and Michigan may actually end up with more moderate temperatures and weather patterns, according to University of Illinois economist David Albouy. Officials in Duluth, Minnesota, a city of roughly 86,000 people along the shores of Lake Superior, have even considered the slogan "climate-proof Duluth".

In this June 28, 2019, photo crews rebuild a stretch of the Lakewalk behind the Fitger's building in downtown Duluth, Mich. (Dan Kraker/Minnesota Public Radio via AP)

"We’re not seeing worse heat waves or longer heat waves or more of those long nights that don’t fall below 75 degrees,” Dr. Kenneth Blumenfeld, a senior climatologist at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, told the New York Times. "Instead, what we’re seeing is warmer winters, fewer days during winter where we get to negative 30 Fahrenheit."

In general, communities all along North America's Great Lakes will be relatively shielded from climate change as the vast bodies of water should keep the region fairly temperate. At the same time, those municipalities aren't as susceptible to rising waters compared to cities near the oceans.

2. The Nordic Region. Average temperatures in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland are expected to increase more than the global average over the ensuing decades (as much as 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by 2080). While that will necessitate some adaptation, on the whole, the region should benefit. Agricultural growing seasons will significantly expand. New plant, land animal, and fish species will also thrive in the region.

At the same time, the region's use of electricity is projected to fall the most in Europe as warming winters will reduce the demand for heating.

3. Canada. Perhaps no country on Earth stands to gain more from climate change than Canada. While three-quarters of nations will take hits to their national economies, Canada is projected to see outsized benefits. How much? Marshall Burke, Deputy Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University, calculated that Canada's average national income could swell by an astounding 247 percent! Additional tourism, greatly expanded growing seasons, reduced infrastructure costs, and increased maritime shipping as the Arctic region's ice cover dwindles are a few of the factors that will contribute to that meteoric rise. Moreover, with significant freshwater reserves and as much as 4.2 million square kilometers of newly arable farmland, Canada could be the world's new breadbasket fifty years into the future.

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