“When I think of Chiara’s future under climate change, nothing concerns me as much as water,” writes environmental correspondent Mark Hertsgaard in the Sacramento Bee this morning. “We live in California, a state whose economy and politics have been shaped by water – and the lack of it – since before the Gold Rush. It was in California, after all, that Mark Twain penned his immortal line, ‘Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over.’
“Scientists project that global warming will cause both deeper droughts and fiercer floods – a fiendish paradox. Meanwhile, the laws of physics and chemistry assure that global temperatures will rise for decades to come even if emissions are reduced. The rising temperatures will, among other things, also melt snowpacks.
“In California, snowmelt is the source of nearly one-third of the freshwater supply. The Sierra Nevada snowpack will shrink by 25 to 40 percent by 2050, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
“The challenge for California, then, is to prepare for both more water and less. Alas, we still have a long way to go. And perhaps nowhere is at greater risk than the state capital.
The rest of the article is here.
Mark Hertsgaard, who lives in San Francisco, is the environment correspondent for The Nation and a fellow of the New America Foundation. He adapted this article for The Bee from his latest book, “HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth.”
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