Costs of climate change

File this one under the economic costs of climate change. If you have been to or flown over BC lately you will have noticed the astonishing amount of red (dying) pine trees. The mountian pine beetle is normally killed by cold cold winters, but winters now are not cold enough, and summers are just to their liking. Add to the mix a policy of reforesting with fast-growing pine in recent decades and we have a disaster on our hands.

How does one put a number or a price to the devastation of huge swaths of forest, of an industry?

Pine beetles just taste of warming’s effect: B.C. forestry official

Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The mountain pine beetle infestation that has devastated B.C. forests is likely to be followed by other new pests taking advantage of rising average temperatures, says the president the Forest Products Association of Canada.

Avram Lazar says the B.C. beetle infestation is almost certain to move across the Rockies into the boreal forest. He believes it shows the need for more public focus on adaptation to climate change.

“We’re a little obsessed with this because were paying the price right now,” said Mr. Lazar in a discussion with reporters. “The mountain pine beetle would’ve died if we hadn’t had the last 12 winters being the warmest 12 winters on record.”

He said adaptation to the impact of climate change should be getting much more attention than it is — a message also contained in a report last week by Environment Commissioner Johanne Gelinas.

“We have to get ready, we have to start thinking about what’s the next plague,” said Mr. Lazar.

“What’s the next threat to our ecosystems, what’s the next threat to our health? We should be doing very active scenario development.”

In her report, Ms. Gelinas said the pine beetle outbreak has affected more than 8.7 million hectares of B.C. forest and threatens the livelihood of 30 communities, or 25,000 families.

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