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US: November 30, 2007

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - If nothing is done to combat global warming, two of Florida's nuclear power plants, three of its prisons and 1,362 hotels, motels and inns will be under water by 2100, a study released Wednesday said.
In all, Florida could stand to lose US$345 billion a year in projected economic activity by 2100 if nothing is done to reduce emissions that are viewed as the main human contribution to rising global temperatures, according to the Tufts University study. That equals about 5 percent of what economists project the state's gross domestic product will be by the end of the century.


Efforts to meet carbon dioxide reduction goals could lessen the global temperature hike to 2 degrees Fahrenheit while keeping rainfall and hurricane intensity at current levels, he said.
The Tufts study said the sort of mitigation efforts needed to restrict sea level rises to 7 inches or less would cost a US state like Florida between 1 percent and 2 percent of GDP.
Florida, a major tourist magnet that is home to Miami Beach, the swampy Everglades and Disney World and other theme parks in Orlando, is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of its 1,350 miles of coastline.
The study estimated that tourism revenue alone could drop by US$167 billion a year, or 2.4 percent of state income, if beaches disappear, the Florida Keys, Cape Canaveral spaceport and most of the Miami area end up under water.
Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is among a growing list of state officials who have given up waiting for the federal government to take the lead on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and have passed their own measures to cap pollution by power plants and cars.
A New York-based environmental group, Environmental Defense, commissioned the Tufts study.
"It is false choice to say that we have to choose between our economy and the quality of our environment or our ability to confront global warming," said Jerry Karnas, Florida climate change project director for Environmental Defense.
"We believe we can create both new markets and new opportunities while we protect Florida for our future." (Editing by Michael Christie)

Story by Michael Peltier