No Water, Mo’ Problems: A Look at the Recent Drought in California

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Unknown, Mirada Staff

Although written during the date provided, this article was republished during 2020 by Nicolas Gorman to put it on the website. The author is unknown.

 

On Jan. 23, Sacramento broke a 130-year record with its 47th consecutive winter day without rain. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a drought emergency.
Farmers fight over water in the state annually without a drought to encourage them, this will put a serious strain on the state financially and threatens to end the livelihoods of hundreds of hard working Americans.
Unlike many natural disasters, we caused this. This drought, as well as other weather phenomena currently rocking the United States, reminds us of the damage that human interference in the natural world can cause.
Disruption of currents and weather patterns like the infamous El Niño and the more recent disrupted polar vortex, which has been flinging sub-zero weather throughout the U.S. mainland, are all associated with man-made climate change.
Although a drought and a country-wide blizzard may not at first glance seem similar, they both in fact are caused by the same disrupted weather cycles. Less snowfall and sea ice causes the polar vortex, a normal feature of the Arctic region, to become distorted, meandering southward into the American South, causing low weather records throughout the region.
Though opponents of climate change research may falsely claim that this cold weather is not part of a trend popularly known as “global warming,” this is not only a misinterpretation, but a misinformed declaration lacking scientific merit. The term “global warming” has long since been abandoned by the scientific community and replaced with the more accurate “climate change.”
A 97-98 percent consensus exists among climate scientists according to surveys of peer-reviewed scientific literature and the expert opinions of relevant scientists that humans are causing climate change. Despite this, the US has the lowest percentage (40 percent) of citizens in the world that cite climate change as a major threat to their country according to Pew Research Center.
According to the same study, 88 percent of Democrats believe solid evidence on climate change exists (up 75 percent from 2009) and only 50 percent of Republicans believe the same thing (up 35 percent from 2009).
Still, climate change is creating problems in the real world, more than just in projections and graphs. The issues are here now, and we need to be able to deal with them.
What level of economic disruption will be required to get politicians interested? Is $30 billion of weather-related damage in 2012 enough? Or 5 million deaths a year directly caused by changing weather patterns. The extreme weather is taking a toll on our economy and population, yet still nothing substantial is being done.
The Copenhagen Consensus Center reports that, through adaptation measures, we may be able to keep the annual costs of climate change below $1 trillion a year until 2050. Are spend-thrifty demagogues in the Republican party going to allow this unnecessary expense to hit the United States economy, or does their hypocrisy extend this far?
The world and its people should encourage active skepticism and in some cases even require it, but blatant disregard of the facts masquerading as political even-handedness needs to end in the name of sanity and public interest. The refusal of a significant chunk of the population to adjust to, or even acknowledge the effects of climate change, has the potential to claim even more dollars and lives.

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