A new report from the “Risky Business” project team paints a dire image of climate change impacts across the U.S. Midwest, the nation’s “heartland,” saying the coming changes “are on an entirely different scale” from the accustomed and dramatic weather events the region long has been used to dealing with.
The bipartisan group comprised of “big names” like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., and hedge fund billionaire and climate activist Tom Steyer, said the region’s 10 major metropolitan areas will likely experience more heat-related mortality and face higher electricity demand and energy costs and lower worker productivity in light of rising temperatures.
Along with “severe risks” the study concludes will face the Midwest’s southern states, it sees “potentially some moderate temperature and agricultural benefits” for the northernmost states, Minnesota and Wisconsin. By 2100, the report says, average summer temperatures in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio will be hotter than they now are in Washington, D.C. The “average” resident of Chicago at the end of this century will find more days exceeding 95 degrees F than the average Texan does today, with a 5 percent chance Chicago’s end-of-century extremely hot days will more than double what Texas’s current average.
In addition to looking at what it sees as the climate risks facing “The Heartland,” the report provides brief overviews of impacts projected in each of the region’s largest metropolitan areas: St. Louis, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Cincinnati-Columbus-Dayton, Chicago, Des Moines, Cleveland and Toledo, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Madison and Milwaukee, and Detroit.
The report on climate change impacts projected for the Midwest is the second from Risky Business project, the earlier one provided a broad overview across the U.S., and an upcoming report from the project is expected to zero-in on risks facing California in particular.
The New York Times on Sunday, February 1, 2015, carried an in-depth profile of the Risky Business project, with something of an emphasis on Cargill, Inc., CEO and team partner Greg Page.