If you took an airplane flight across the USA in 2015-08, you would discover most of the USA is brown. There are a sprinkling of bright green irrigated fields. Even in normally-lush places like Alabama, this year, plants are not growing because of the erratic weather. Californians are in their fourth year of drought.
Rich Californians complain that nobody told them about the risk of drought when they bought their properties, therefore they should be excused from conservation measures. However, scientists did warn them, for three decades, of the climate change effects of continuing to spew greenhouse gases as usual.
The consequences are even worse than you might first imagine:
- The people who normally farm will eventually end up on relief. Everyone else will have to pay taxes to support them.
- The local supply of crops will disappear. All food will have to be imported at increased cost. This means food prices will rise.
- The money that pours into the USA from food exports will dry up.
- The rest of the world is not prepared to grow sufficient extra food for the USA. This means food shortages and spiralling costs.
- The USA competing massively on the world food market will cause food shortages all over the earth. This will lead to global riots and political instability.
- Just as in the dust bowl, dry soils are easily blown away.
The solution is not business as usual and thinking wishfully. The solution is to reduce greenhouse gases by rapidly switching from fossil fuels to clean fuels as Germany and Japan are doing. We know from the dust bowl experience how bad it can get. Only this time because of climate change, there is no reason to expect things ever to get back to normal until we reduce the concentration of CO₂ in the air back down to normal. We have known since the 19th century the precise mathematics of how a given amount of CO₂ heats up the entire atmosphere. It is not how long can you tread water?, but how long can you go without water?~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:69)