January 25th, 2007


Oops! We broke the planet.

The UN's upcoming report on climate change, due for release on Feb. 1st, is going to announce that it's too late to stop global warming, and that temperatures and world sea levels will be significantly elevated for more than 1,000 years, flooding coastlines, causing droughts and famines, and potentially creating millions of refugees worldwide.

The report suggests that the absolute best we can do would be to stabilize CO2 levels as soon as possible, in the hope that the effects slow somewhat and that sea levels and global temperatures start to stabilize themselves, somewhere around the year 2300.

Of course, the problem isn't just flooding. It's increased heat, melting snowpacks, and the risk of severe famines. Indeed, these risks are not isolated to other countries, but will effect us all.

One of the states that will be most effected is California, which relies on its precisely balanced climate for both water and agriculture.

The latest climate models are predicting that California's average temperatures will increase 3.6 to 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit in the next century, and that up to 90% of the Sierra Mountain's snowpack -- source for much of California's drinking and agricultural water -- could disappear in the next century... and, as the U.N. says, the problem will increase through the year 2300, and will continue past then, for more than a thousand years.

Hey, L.A... I hope you like drinking chlorinated urine, 'cause I don't think you're going to have an easy time getting water from NoCal in the future...

...or from the Colorado River, for that matter, where scientists are predicting a 35% decrease in snow melt runoff in just fifty years. Los Angeles and San Diego will be faced with a one-two punch, and will have no local sources of water available to them to address the declines.

Good luck to Vegas and Phoenix too. Increased temperatures = reduced snowpacks = less water in the Colorado River = not enough water and greatly reduced power output from Boulder Dam= dead cities. Indeed, the supply of water is stretched so thin in this rapidly growing area, that even relatively minor decreases in the water supply are likely to cause severe water problems for Colorado and Utah as well.

But hey, don't forget Texas! (mp3 audio). If you've ever flown over Texas, you'd see that their land teeters on a fine line, between the deserts of the Southwest, and the fertile regions of Texas. One side of that line has temperatures so high that evaporation prevents adequate runoff from collecting, trees and vegetation from growing abundantly, and people from living... another side of that line has lower temperatures and evaporation, where runoff is free to collect, trees and plants grow in rich soil, and people have enough water to thrive. Well, the models for global warming predict an increase of temperatures in Texas of approximately 6 degrees in just the next fifty years. Rainfall is expected to decrease somewhat, but, most disconcertingly, the level of evaporation is expected to greatly increase in Texas, greatly decreasing the runoff that makes it into the rivers, stripping the soil of its moisture and richness, and turning parts of Texas, such as Austin and San Antonio into a hot, barren, inhospitable -- and quite possibly unsustainable -- places to live. Meanwhile, Galveston and other parts of coastal Texas will face flooding due to rising sea levels and will most likely experience increasingly frequent hurricanes.

Politicians have gambled with global warming for over 25 years, and now we're ALL going to lose.