Global Warming - which country will handle it best?
August 28, 2004 3:15 AM   Subscribe

Which country will cope best with Global Warming over the next 50 years? As an Australian (living abroad), I used to think that Australia would endure the effects of Global Warming better than some more populous countries. But after reading about growing salinity problems, soil degradation and deforestation back home, now I'm not so sure. Are there any sources of information that detail the predicted effects over the course of the next 50 - 100 years for different areas of the world? And even better, I'd be very interested in detailed info focused on Australia, on a state-by-state basis.
posted by Meridian to Science & Nature (11 answers total)
I'd think Canada and Russia would fare the best, since they both stand at least a chance of coming out better off with vast expanses of land unfrozen.

Maybe Chile and Argentina too, but there's a lot less Patagonia than there is Siberia or northern Canada.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:10 AM on August 28, 2004

ROU_Xenophobe: remember that "global warming" isn't really about local warming... "global warming" is likely to produce ice-age-like conditions for some of the planet — specifically Western Europe which relies on the warm ocean currents to stave off the chill.
posted by silusGROK at 9:19 AM on August 28, 2004

Australia also has high levels of skin cancer due to the depletion of the ozone layer. Some info from the BBC here.
posted by banished at 9:35 AM on August 28, 2004

Also please note that according to the most widely-accepted models, as well as actual observations on the ground, warming will be most noticeable in polar regions - climate change is already well underway in northern Canada for instance - just ask the Inuit.
posted by dinsdale at 9:53 AM on August 28, 2004

ROU_Xenophobe: Remember the hole in the Ozone Layer? Chile and Argentina are already getting screwed (think lots of blind sheep, for instance).
Richer countries will probably fare better, as they always have.
posted by signal at 10:02 AM on August 28, 2004

James Burke's "After the Warming" two-part series speculated on this.
posted by gimonca at 10:06 AM on August 28, 2004

Complicated speculation, too. Does a warmer western Canada mean that fertile agricultural zones will move north, or that the region will dry out and become scrub and desert?

There's also a distinction between relatively short-term effects (what would happen in decades or a couple of centuries as things sort themselves out) and longer-term effects (what will things look like once all the changes have settled down).

What would Alaska look like with critically melting permafrost--versus: what would Alaska look like once the permafrost has melted, everything has dried out, and new plants and animals have established themselves in the new environment?
posted by gimonca at 10:11 AM on August 28, 2004

Although....a dig through seems to have lots of statements like "we have to educate people about the consequences"....but I couldn't find a page that actually did that well. Maybe someone else could give it a run through.
posted by gimonca at 10:22 AM on August 28, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. The Australian government site seems somewhat devoid of useful predictions.
posted by Meridian at 6:29 PM on August 28, 2004

Canada coming out better off with vast expanses of land unfrozen.

I'm afraid unfrozen permafrost land is utterly useless. It's a quagmire.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:21 PM on August 28, 2004

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