They’re right, saving critters, bugs and weeds is way too expensive. We should give up trying to do so.
If you think saving endangered species is expensive now, just wait a few decades. Climate change will require protected areas to expand if species are to be saved, potentially doubling the cost of such conservation efforts.
That’s the conclusion of three studies that estimate how habitats will be affected by the warming climate, and how much more of the planet will need to be set aside as a result.
Rebecca Shaw of the Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco, California and colleagues studied the Nature Conservancy’s Mount Hamilton project, which spans 3200 km2 of California. They focused on 11 species in the area with known climate tolerances.
They then combined the results of 16 climate models to estimate how the local climate within the project will change between now and 2100. That allowed them to determine how each species’ habitat would move, grow or shrink – and thus how much more land would need to be acquired and maintained to preserve them.
The analysis suggests that the project will need an extra 2560 km2 of land by 2050. The figure had risen to 3800 km2 by 2100. Shaw estimates the extra cost at $1.73 billion by 2050, and $2.54 billion by 2100. That is slightly more than double the cost of maintaining the project in the absence of climate change.