Higher temperatures, more intense droughts and more damaging wildfires and floods are just some of the climate change effects already being seen in the California desert — and residents of low-income, minority communities in the Coachella Valley are most likely to suffer the consequences of those environmental stresses. That was one of the takeaways from a series of presentations by scientific experts last week at UC Riverside’s Palm Desert campus.
Water and agriculture go hand in hand. Growing food for the planet’s people consumes 70 percent of its freshwater sources. Therefore, water is not only life-giving, it is life-sustaining. Yet with climate change, population growth and development on watersheds, an estimated 2 billion people globally face limited access to clean water. And demand for water is expected to grow by 30 percent globally by 2050.
Ahead of the Nov. 6 election, The Arizona Republic asked 16 candidates to discuss their views on climate change, water issues and the worsening deadly toll of heat-related deaths in the state. The races included in the survey were governor, secretary of state, U.S. Senate and several legislative districts where incumbent lawmakers have had leadership roles in past sessions.
Like the rest of the world, Arizona faces a long list of challenges in trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep temperatures from spiraling out of control, says a University of Arizona scientist who helped write a new international report on climate change.
The state of California recently released its Fourth Climate Change Assessment. Among the technical reports was a deep dive into the future of the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. It was over my [Tom Philp] head. It was calling my name. And in climate change’s frenzied media cycle, the whole assessment soon faded. That’s too bad.
One of the report’s contributors said predicted temperature increases will be greater in the semi-arid climate of the American West. Diana Liverman, a professor of geography and development at the University of Arizona, said this would lead to even more intense heat waves, droughts, fires and downpours than California is already experiencing.
The phrase “climate change” did not appear on the agenda of a recent three-day meeting of the Colorado Water Congress, but the topic was often front and center at the conference, as it increasingly is at water meetings around the state and the region. Amy Haas, the new executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, told the Water Congress audience of about 300 water managers, irrigators, engineers and lawyers that “hydrology is changing more rapidly than we once thought” and that “it is primarily due to climate change.”
In the 728-page document, the U.N. organization detailed how Earth’s weather, health and ecosystems would be in better shape if the world’s leaders could somehow limit future human-caused warming to just 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (a half degree Celsius) from now, instead of the globally agreed-upon goal of 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C). Among other things: — Half as many people would suffer from lack of water.
Mustafa Santiago Ali could have gone to a major environmental group after spending more than two decades at the EPA, but instead last year he joined a small social-justice organization fusing hip-hop culture and politics. “It was one of the places where I didn’t have to convince anyone about my ideas,” Ali, senior vice president of climate, environmental justice, and community revitalization for the Hip Hop Caucus, told Bloomberg Environment.
Sea level rise is changing Bay Area shorelines, and the focus of planning discussions on mitigating the effects suggests most communities in the water’s way have time to adapt. But it doesn’t always feel that way in East Oakland or West Marin.
Researchers at Climate Central have put together a handy tool which lets you see just how bad summers will get by 2100, if global warming predictions are accurate and nothing is done to stop the upward trend.
But now comes the harder part for many Californians: In 2015, AB 32 will begin to cover companies that produce transportation fuels, including gasoline. That means oil companies will begin paying for the greenhouse gases their products emit, a cost the oil companies say they will pass on to consumers.
From the San Bernardino County Sun, in a commentary by Thomas Elias:
California ranchers are now among the first interest groups to realize that like it or not, global warming can no longer be denied with any semblance of accuracy. For very gradually, ranchers are seeing the grasslands they depend upon to feed their cattle begin to shrink and convert naturally to shrub land.
From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW):
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is hosting its third speaker series with a presentation on the effects of climate change on salmon and steelhead trout in the American River. The event will be held at the Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center in Rancho Cordova on July 17 at 7 p.m.
From the Environmental Defense Fund EDF Voices: People on the Planet blog, in a post by Rebecca Shaw:
Nobody escapes climate change, especially not farmers. The report released this week by a group of prominent and politically diverse business leaders and public officials stood out, in part, because of the alarming losses it forecasts for America’s agricultural industry.