A headline on the BBC caught my eye today:
[…] High-value grapes are grown within a narrow climate window, Stanford earth scientist Noah Diffenbaugh said, making them more sensitive to temperature variations than standard crops.
In Tuscany, a Florence University study found that climate change will result in both increased temperatures and increased rain intensity, which could damage such wines as Chianti, Barolo, Brunello and Amarone. In Australia, drought attributed to climate change has already affected wine production in recent years.
There are some wine regions, however, which stand to gain from global warming. In Europe, rising temperatures will shift wine country to the north, extending its reach into Scandinavian countries, Florence agronomist Simone Orlandini told MSNBC. In England, wineries are already experiencing the benefits. Last year, even as overall wine consumption decreased in England, consumption of domestic wine went up by more than 70%, the Economist reported. (This map provides a glimpse into the future of British wine.) Changes in climate are bringing earlier harvests and friendlier growing conditions for French varietals. In the US, wine production is expected to increase in cool, coastal areas and high desert regions. In Australia, production is expected to increase in Tasmania due to its island climate, and in Chile and Argentina, production may shift to high desert regions, mountain foothills and coastal areas.
So, on net, we’ll get more wine production? I don’t see a problem here…
Anyway, the article reminded me of two things:
1. David Friedman’s latest commentary on Global Warming:
The argument for large and expensive efforts to prevent or reduce global warming has three parts, in principle separable: Global temperature is trending up, the reason is human activity, and the consequences of the trend continuing are very bad. Almost all arguments, pro and con, focus on the first two. The third, although necessary to support the conclusion, is for the most part ignored by both sides. […]
It is true that our species evolved to survive under then existing climatic conditions but, over the period for which humans have existed, climate has varied by considerably more than the changes being predicted for global warming. And, for the past many thousands of years, humans have lived and prospered over a range of climates much larger than the range that we expect the climate at any particular location to change by.
If we have no good reason to believe that humans will be substantially worse off after global warming than before, we have no good reason to believe that it is worth bearing sizable costs to prevent global warming.
Which falls largely in line with….
2. Humanity is no stranger to climate change. Even as late as Friedrich der Große (18th century Prussia) wine was being grown on estates in Berlin, an unimaginable feat today.