Our Opinion: A nasty forecast
In 2100, the Berkshire County climate will be similar to that of South Carolina, according to some of the reports cited by Scott Stafford in his "Foreboding future" stories in Saturday's Eagle. That's great if you won't miss crisp fall days or cross-country skiing. It's not a problem if you don't enjoy cool summer evenings at Tanglewood, or if you believe Kudzu is preferable to red spruce. Many or most Berkshire residents, however, may not be pleased with that climate forecast.
Land-locked Berkshire County has been spared many of the devastating weather events triggered across the nation and planet by global warming but it has had a taste of the trademark brutal storms and resultant flooding. The impact here has been more gradual, with warm, wet weather chasing familiar birds, butterflies and flowers away. In return, we are and will be getting more poison ivy and disease-carrying ticks -- hardly a fair exchange. The decline in winter tourism will hurt the local economy and may not be replaced by increased summer tourism when it is warm and humid everywhere. South Carolina, after all, will still be South Carolina, only more so.
It's possible that over the decades the pols who mock science and see global warming as a liberal conspiracy will be replaced by more enlightened leaders, but that isn't likely. It is more likely that the rise of carbon dioxide emissions predicted to raise the average annual temperature by more than 10 degrees by 2100 will continue apace. Berkshire County will fight a holding action by, in one example offered by Nathaniel Karns, executive director of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, building better storm water drainage systems. Increased wind and solar power will save the county on energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Berkshires may be destined to become the Palmetto State in terms of weather, but the region won't and shouldn't give up.
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