Study: Climate Change Could Cost Businesses Big

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The study came from the Climate Change Research Center in Purdue's Discovery Park. The study came from the Climate Change Research Center in Purdue's Discovery Park.

Demand for cooling will increase, and homes and businesses will get more of their energy through natural gas and renewable resources as Indiana's climate warms. Those are the main findings from the latest Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment report, released by the Climate Change Research Center in Purdue's Discovery Park. The report suggests, while residential energy use will decrease by as much as 3 percent by mid-century, business energy use will increase by as much as 5.5 percent over that period, since businesses tend to rely more on cooling than heating.

Researchers say, since industrial and transportation sectors tend to be less sensitive to climate change, they focused the business portion of the report on the commercial sector. they say the energy use increase by mid-century could cost businesses more than $100 million annually.

The report suggests another result of climate change in Indiana will be potential energy disruption at power plants, transmission lines and substations thanks to more common extreme heat during the summers. Energy supply delivery could also be disrupted by more spring flooding and summer drought.

According to researchers, Indiana gets 73 percent of its energy from coal, 18 percent from natural gas, 5 percent from wind and the rest from other sources. The report predicts that mix will change as natural gas and renewable energy sources become cheaper and coal-fired plants reach the end of their lifespans. In fact, lead author Leigh Raymond believes coal "is basically being priced out of the market."

The report's authors also weighed in on energy policies, suggesting a $40-per-ton carbon tax could help speed up the adoption of renewable energy sources and the decrease of carbon emissions.

The report also considers energy policies – a carbon tax and a renewable energy tax credit – that can significantly affect the speed of adoption of renewable energy sources and the decline of carbon emissions.

You can see the full report by clicking here.

Lead author Leigh Raymond says Indiana businesses can use the data for future planning.
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