The third piece on water, June 17th, is called California Drought, the “Bigger Water Crisis” & the Consumer Economy.
Frankly, you can scroll past the first half, because the first half is about the Colorado River and I have long since filtered out any readers who care about the Colorado. Scroll down until you get to this picture:
Gaius Publius writes “With climate, things are never as good as cautious people say they are.” Publius is talking about attributing drought to climate change, but that same reasoning is why I estimate that three million acres of irrigated ag will go out of production. The sensible experts are saying one million, but I have never seen a climate change prediction be underestimated. So I’m overcorrecting on the high side and in fifty years we’ll know who was right.
Then Publius writes something that I had never seen expressed so plainly:
If We Try to Have Both “Growth” and Climate Solutions, We’ll Have Neither
The meme of the wealthy is that (a) climate proposals are a threat to “growth” — by which they mean literally GDP, but also by implication they mean “your big-screen, smart-phone lifestyle.” And (b) losing “growth” is a line no consumer will want to cross; not the rich, not the poor, no one. …
In response, climate solution advocates counter with an argument that says, in effect, “But wait … we’ve got a way to keep ‘growth’ and also fix the climate problem.” To which I say, “Not a good answer” …Saying “we can have (consumer) growth and a climate solution” is only true … if it’s actually true. What if it’s not true at all? Then what’s the solution on offer? (Hint: There is none.)
Exactly. We are entering a climate that provides much less wealth. Modifying our infrastructure to be comfortable in that climate will cost additional money. Adaptation is not going to involve growth. Smart adaptation will mean managed retreat. No adaptation will mean even more retreat and more pain in the process. We start from a rich baseline and are using water in some real dumb ways, so there can be comfort and enjoyment of water for Californians for a long ways to come. But I don’t believe in any solutions that propose both growth and managing water resources in the climate we enter now.