CORVALLIS, Ore. – A study about climate change is bringing new topics to the conversation.
A team of researchers led by the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) at Oregon State University published the study on Monday. The Northwest Climate Assessment Report is the first regional climate assessment about the Pacific Northwest that has been published since 1999. This year’s study looks at various implications of climate change, including new topics of economics, human health, and tribal issues.
“If we sit back and don’t really take any action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Philip Mote, the Director at OCCRI, “how would the world look different compared to if we did reduce emissions?”
Mote says the study looks at how climate change will impact many ways of life – and not just in Western society.
“Dominant western society, non-Native society tends to view forests and fish and so on more so as commodities,” Mote said.
He says climate change means something different for Pacific Northwestern tribes.
“The cultural aspects like religion and ceremonies around specific elements of the environment like salmon or specific kinds of trees or so on can be affected as well by climate change,” he said.
Mote says in Western society, what might seem more important are the economic impacts of climate change.
Though some industries may suffer, others may see financial growth.
“We have a warming climate and there are more grapes and grape varieties that grow here. So a lot of vintners are really paying attention to the climate change issue because it’s an economic opportunity.”
On the other hand, Mote says shellfish growers may suffer financially because of the more acidic marine waters.
“This report highlights that the more we control emissions, the less we we’ll have to deal with wildfires and water supply shortages and so on,” he said.