Facing As much as Reality
More frequent heat waves. Droughts. Wildfires. The West is getting a glimpse of its future climate.
The western U.S. is staring climate change within the face. Many of the West is experiencing “severe” or “exceptional” drought. We could possibly be heading into the worst drought period in centuries. Major dam reservoirs are all the way down to record low levels. The region can be within the grips of a record-breaking heatwave. We are able to expect one other bad wildfire season, perhaps not as bad as last yr but still bad. Power systems from Texas to California are stressed to their limits.
That is bad, but it surely’s not the worst news. The worst news is that the situation is simply going to worsen as climate change progresses. If we don’t cut emissions quickly and dramatically, climate change will speed up, putting droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires into overdrive. This isn’t end-of-the-world doom saying; it’s just the very fact concerning the way forward for a giant chunk of the USA.
The trendy West is a human construct, depending on a large rearrangement of water availability across large areas. The physical and legal infrastructure of the West is geared toward a certain climate regime. At great expense and energy, dams, canals, and irrigation systems have been fastidiously engineered for a climate that not exists. To make things worse, the legal architecture is designed to favor whoever used the water first. That has nothing to do with who needs the water most — farmers growing rice within the desert have a stronger claim than urban residents. We’re going to be facing major economic (and legal) dislocations because the region adjusts to the brand new reality. That’s not even mentioning the toll that wildfires are going to take or the necessity to reengineer the ability grid for greater cooling needs.
As I said, that is going to be bad. We actually don’t have any way of putting Humpty Dumpty together again. We do, nevertheless, have the power to make things much, much worse if we don’t get behind dramatic emission cuts.
Some people say they don’t imagine climate change is real, as if believing in climate change were a way of life selection. Consider whatever you would like. Reality doesn’t care what you’re thinking that. And eventually, reality all the time wins.