The European Commission recently funded a five year project that was completed during fall 2009 - the ENSEMBLES project. Its purpose was to develop a prediction system to provide relevant information on climate change and its interactions with society. According to a report submitted by the scientists who worked on the project, France, Italy, and Spain are some of the countries that will most likely experience great changes by the end of the century due to climate changes.
As of right now, it is not certain whether the global temperature will increase by the predicted 6 degrees Celsius. However, it is interesting to consider the effects such an event could have on the different countries' economies.
Spain is predicted to lose its position as a leading producer of fruit and vegetables in Europe because rising temperatures might turn most of the country into a desert. Such a change would have a significant impact on the country's economy. It would have to transition from an exporter to an importer of fruit and vegetables and will have to specialize in a different industry. Also, tourism would suffer greatly especially in cities such as Madrid and Sevilla that are further from the coast. Cities such as Barcelona however, would enjoy even more popularity due to their Mediterranean location.
Italy and France are expected to experience similar problems. Italy might not be able to produce durum wheat. It would have to import it, and thus Italian pasta would lose its popularity. Also, because of imports pasta would be more expensive in Italy. Most importantly, many restaurants in tourist cities would suffer losses because Italian pasta would not be the culinary specialty it is now.
France which is popular for producing some of the finest wines in the world is predicted to lose the ability to produce some of its leading wines including champagne. Wine is one of the principal exports in France. For example, in 2008 French exports of wine amounted to over a billion dollars to the Unites States only. Also, France is the world's second largest-agricultural producer. This implies that if the scientific predictions come true, France would need to switch to different products to produce and export.
Should countries start thinking about what they can do to make it easier to adapt to these changes? Or is just a prediction that should be ignored for now?