“More than 10 centuries ago, Native Americans dug canals to bring water — the desert’s most precious resource — into their farms and communities in the harsh climate of what’s now Phoenix.
“Today, the 56 million Americans in the fast-growing desert Southwest — including those in the megacities of Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego — are faced with a challenge beyond the region’s natural dryness: coping with an uncertain future of man-made climate change and how it will impact their life-sustaining supply of water.”
“Andrew Guzman and Richard Jackson spoke to the Commonwealth Club in Lafayette last Thursday about the hazards of climate change, heat waves and drought. …
“Guzman explained that it will affect water supplies — too much rain falling when it shouldn’t, too little when it should.
“As a physician and a public health professional I have, in recent years, focused my energy on climate change because I’ve come to recognize that it is by far the greatest health threat we face in the 21st century. … Will our fight against childhood obesity be stymied when droughts lead to rising food prices, pressuring families to buy cheap and nonnutritious foods?
“Every year, people add 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the air, mostly by burning fossil fuels. That’s contributing to climate change. A few scientists have been dreaming about ways to pull some of that CO2 out of the air, but face stiff skepticism and major hurdles.”
“President Obama’s climate change speech on Tuesday from Georgetown University was full of references to climate change impacts on water availability, flooding and drought. He dealt head on with key issues of changing water cycle intensity, and in particular, with the increasing frequency of hydrologic extremes.”
“Unlike hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, lightning, ice storms, wind storms, wildfires and volcanic eruptions, drought is a slow killer. But efficient. Give drought a decade and it can permanently drive humans from a region they may have inhabited for centuries. Ask the Hohokam.”
“The United States has the potential to store a mean of 3,000 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in geologic basins throughout the country, according to the first-ever detailed national geologic carbon sequestration assessment released today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).”
“President Obama laid out an ambitious campaign to address climate change Tuesday, mapping a course that would bypass Congress to cut emissions from hundreds of coal-fired electric power plants and setting the stage for a possible rejection of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.”
“In a teleconference on Wednesday, June 26, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes will join scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to release the first-ever detailed national geologic carbon sequestration assessment.”
“In the largest environmental initiative of his presidency, President Obama will announce this morning the nation’s first mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants.”
“Federal spending on community preparedness for extreme weather events is a fraction of the amount paid to clean up damage from storms, tornadoes and drought, according to an analysis of federal data.”
“Satellites peering down on California’s great Central Valley have discovered evidence that the nation’s prime food source is fast losing precious reserves of water from the valley’s underground aquifers.”
“Though the need to adopt policies that sharply curb carbon emissions remains as important as ever, there also are unmistakable signs that decades of inaction on climate change are shaping the present, not just the future.”
“The solution to drought is not simply more water project construction – certainly not without the water policy reforms that the water hierarchy in Sacramento and Washington has spent decades, and tens of millions of dollars, battling in the courts and Congress.”
“Some UCLA climate experts scaled down global climate models to create high-resolution looks at Southern California spots like Big Bear, Wrightwood and Frazier Park, and the forecast isn’t good: By midcentury, snowfall on Southern California mountains will be 30 percent to 40 percent less than it was as the 20th century ended, according to the study led by Alex Hall, UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic science.”