Everybody Talks About the Weather,
but Nobody Does Anything About It
A scientist has pointed out a major flaw in the State Water Plan
: the 50-year plan doesn't make any allowances for climate change. As reported by the Express-News
, Gerald North, a geosciences professor at A&M, indicates that climate change could undermine the assumptions supporting the Plan's efforts to develop, manage, and conserve Texas' water resources and ensure that we have water for the future."This is something that we should think about and worry about," said Gerald North, who holds the Harold J. Haynes Endowed Chair in Geosciences at Texas A&M University. "They completely neglected this whole thing. It is really troubling."
North, who made his remarks during a conference hosted by the Texas State University's Rivers Systems Institute, was referring to the Texas Water Development Board's recently adopted state water plan.
The plan, approved by the Water Development Board on Tuesday, lists 4,500 proposed projects and strategies to meet an estimated 8.8 million acre-feet shortfall by the year 2060. That shortfall is slightly less than half the state's current available water supply.
The shortfall could be even greater when global warming is taken into account, North said, spelling trouble for thirsty communities, industries and ecosystems.
Computer estimates vary, but North said they indicate a warming trend in Texas of roughly 4 to 9 degrees by the end of the century. And although annual rainfall predictions are even less reliable, North said it's unlikely there will be much more rain as the climate changes — possibly less.
The hotter temperatures would increase evaporation "exponentially," North said, which could devastate the state's rivers and cause many of them to dry up before reaching the Gulf of Mexico.
. . .
North acknowledges that for many years he was "cautious" about the uncertainties of global warming science, which prompted some leading skeptics, including Rush Limbaugh, to quote him. There's now little doubt among the scientific community that the threat is real, North said.
"I'm not a zealot who is out there hugging trees," he said "But things have changed over the past 10 years."
Also, the Plan continues to ignore any role for wetlands in conserving water flows and water quality.
But hey, God is watching out for us
. I guess that we now have faith-based Pollyanaism to go along with the do nothing approach of faith-based nihilism
In his column on Sunday, David Brooks
pointed out a path away from partisan arguments about the truth. In his tribute to Milton Friedman, he noted that: His passing is sad for many reasons. One is that from the 1940s to the mid-1990s, American political life was shaped by a series of landmark books: "Witness," "The Vital Center," "Capitalism and Freedom," "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," "Losing Ground," "The Closing of the American Mind." Then in the 1990s, those big books stopped coming. . . .
The big books stopped coming partly because the distinction between intellectual movements and political parties broke down. Friedman was never interested in partisan politics but was deeply engaged in policy. Today, team loyalty has taken over the wonk's world, so there are invisible boundaries that mark politically useful, and therefore socially acceptable, thought.
Let us hope that we can again look beyond team loyalty and engage in honest discussions about policy.