Thursday, January 24, 2013

National Geographic: 6 Ways Climate Change Will Affect You

What happens when we blanket the earth?
"6 Ways Climate Change Will Affect You"

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Last year, Australia added two colors to their temperature maps  when temperatures in their hot dry regions  went over 110 and up to 127 degrees F.  If our own American southwest --Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and some of the states north of these -- do the same, we will have some unexpected problems with our transportation systems -- highways and railways.   
Many, if not most of our roads and rails were built in the 60s thru 80s  when our temperature standards were different.   Highways and rails expand as they heat and if the heat goes above the upper limit they were built for, -- highways buckle and rails "kink" and travel on them is dangerous to impossible. If this is as severe as some think,  it will disrupt our east-west transportation and commerce patterns.
Rebuilding a large part of our transportation system to withstand such heat will have an immense cost which we can ill afford.  Why? The Congressional Budget Office says that from 2000 to 2008, the President and Congress spent down an over $5 trillion surplus and spent up an over S5  trillion deficit while voting to increase the  national deficit ceiling 7 times.  And they promised an additional bunch of trillions of dollars in future spending.  Our economy had a melt down in 2008 and created not just a huge US recession but it was a world wide recession.  The economies of the world wobbled and many almost collapsed
Our current president copied past presidents: when the economic engine of a nation falters, add enough money to get it working again.  And that spending has been successful in taking us out of what was almost the worst depression of all time.
The upshot of all this economic game playing is that we are on the edge of being broke, even if they do increase the debt limit.  Replacing underbuilt highways and railways is just one of the huge climate related expenses coming up ... which we are not preparing for.
Other huge expenses to look at are: will an increase of 2 or 3 feet in sea level (see Nat Geo, 6/2010, Melt Zone and read about cryoconite, and estimate melting as the temperature gets even warmer)--does this mean that we will have millions of homeless as people have to leave shore properties and cities and move inland?  How are we preparing for this?  Will the predicted increase of violent storms lead to greatly increased storm surges, and what will this mean for the nations coastal cities and all the commerce which they currently handle?  Will the increased heat in the Great Plains and the emptying of the Ogallala Aquifer mean almost no fresh water for people and agriculture for the breadbasket and beef ranges of America? Wikipedia says some say in 25 years, the aquifer will be seriously depleted -- tho this was estimated before we seriously started discussing global climate change.

And these are just some of the problems we are facing.  For more, go to  ,a report out a couple weeks ago which i expect will shift the US conversation about climate change.  The European report, came out in 2011.  And i expect a Nat Geo Special Issue or three on these, on their implications, and on what we can do as people.

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