Global warming: The nitty-gritty

Posted: July 11, 2007

Predicted changes from global warming - hotter summers, less snowy winters, flooding and erosion along the Jersey coast - are taken to new levels of the nitty-gritty in a comprehensive look at trends in the Northeastern United States released today after two years of study.

Heat-stressed cows might produce 20 percent less milk. Major crops such as corn and blueberries could slack off. The makeup of forests in Pennsylvania and New Jersey would change, with cascading effects on birds and other species that live there.

Skiing in the Poconos would become a memory.

The report, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, also said higher temperatures and increased carbon dioxide could lead to more pollen, exacerbating allergies and asthma.

The findings - compiled by about 50 university and government researchers, and reviewed by their peers - were detailed for reporters in back-to-back meetings at the Statehouse in Trenton and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

The report set out two scenarios for the future. It describes drastic changes under what scientists called a high-emission scenario - emissions of greenhouse gases that continue basically as they are now.

Changes would be much less drastic, the report concluded, under a low-emission scenario like the 80 percent reduction by 2050 that Gov. Corzine signed into law in New Jersey last Friday.

Such reductions - far from guaranteed - would require developing alternative sources of power, such as wind and solar, the researchers said. They also would require a shift to so-called green buildings, vehicles that use less fossil fuel, and an aware citizenry willing to screw in new lightbulbs and purchase more efficient appliances.

Contact staff writer Sandy Bauers at 215-854-5147 or

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