finding 14.1 : climate-change-shifts-rural-economy

Rural communities are highly dependent upon natural resources for their livelihoods and social structures. Climate change related impacts are currently affecting rural communities. These impacts will progressively increase over this century and will shift the locations where rural economic activities (like agriculture, forestry, and recreation) can thrive.

This finding is from chapter 14 of Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment.

Process for developing key messages: The key messages were initially developed at a meeting of the authors in Charleston, South Carolina, in February, 2012. This initial discussion was supported by a series of conference calls from March through June, 2012. These ensuing discussions were held after a thorough review of the technical inputs and associated literature, including the Rural Communities Workshop Report prepared for the NCAe49f5471-72a0-4922-ade9-d1f5bafcf68b and additional technical inputs on a variety of topics.

Description of evidence base: The key message and supporting text summarizes extensive evidence documented in the Rural Communities Workshop Report.e49f5471-72a0-4922-ade9-d1f5bafcf68b Thirty one technical input reports on a wide range of topics were also received and reviewed as part of the Federal Register Notice solicitation for public input. Evidence that the impacts of climate change are increasing is compelling and widespread. This evidence is based on historical records and observations and on global climate models, including those driven by B1 (substantial emissions reduction) and A2 (continued increases in global emissions) scenarios. This evidence is clearly summarized and persuasively referenced in the “Our Changing Climate” chapter of this Assessment and in the Scenarios developed for the NCA.0ebef171-4903-4aa6-b436-2936da69f84e The dependency of rural communities on their natural resources has been demonstrated,9051aa9f-e32e-48a5-9696-b1771064883d with a number of studies showing that climate change results in crop and livestock loss,f03c8590-8b20-442a-a603-dee6c3bf70e1 infrastructure damage to levees and roads,57430e1e-9f81-4d9b-a79a-65c280867f87 shifts in agriculture practices,62d10db5-18f0-431e-93b5-b724d14a9fe7 and losses due to disasters.e1e1f3a0-9fea-4ad2-a3af-575716f9849e A number of publications project these impacts to increase, with effects on the natural environment75a38932-a8a4-4eeb-b94c-bbb65b580efe 443cb593-4f06-425b-9da9-bc74fc513caf 289c601b-12f8-4165-99a2-10e0dd699f8b and increased competition for water between agriculture and energy.bfcd7b78-2ac7-49ae-a72a-36701da3381b 7c682011-cf93-406c-80c4-85147eab2d7c Studies have projected that tourism locations in the Everglades and Florida Keys are threatened.4f66bdc2-d5be-47af-a3ef-77ba93ac69d0 Meanwhile, Maine’s tourism could increase,c9647af9-db7f-4f6a-89bd-2f2293ad26e5 which coincides with a projected northern shift in outdoor recreation.e29cd9c1-b7af-4427-8daf-0bf1a51e289d Hunting, fishing, and bird watching will be affected by beach erosion and wetland loss,5ce7b832-31a7-4424-8941-7a32047324eb and changing plant and animal habitats and inter-species relationships (see also Ch. 8: Ecosystems). Outdoor recreation and tourism in many areas in the U.S. are affected by early snowpack melt.75a38932-a8a4-4eeb-b94c-bbb65b580efe 50d47cc1-5a16-4f5c-bb08-bf6f475a5bb8

New information and remaining uncertainties: Key remaining uncertainties relate to the precise magnitude, timing, and location of impacts at regional and local scales.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: Given the evidence and uncertainties, there is very high confidence that rural communities are highly dependent on natural resources that are expected to be affected by climate change, especially the many communities that rely on farming, forestry or tourism for their livelihoods. Given the evidence and uncertainties, there is high confidence that climate change is currently affecting rural communities. Given the evidence and uncertainties, there is very high confidence that impacts will increase (See Ch 2: Our Changing Climate). Given the evidence and uncertainties, there is high confidence about shifts in locations of economic activities.

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