Year 2, Month 5, Day 4: You Can Get It If You Dry

The Salt Lake Tribune notes a recently released report from the Department of the Interior, predicting that Utah is going to lose lots of its already meager water resources in the coming century, as climate change gets rolling in earnest:

The Colorado River Basin likely will lose about 9 percent of its annual runoff by mid-century because of a warming climate, further squeezing Utah and its neighbors in a region that already expects to struggle getting water to its growing population, according to a U.S. Interior Department report released Monday.

Bureau of Reclamation scientists calculated likely regional temperature and precipitation models based on a range of possible carbon dioxide emissions, then used the mean of the results to predict an 8.5 percent reduction in water supply. The report actually predicts a 2.1 percent increase in precipitation for the Upper Colorado Basin — of which Utah is a part — but temperatures 5 to 7 degrees warmer than today’s are expected bring more rain than snow, and enough more evaporation to sap the supply.

I used this as the hook for a pretty standard mocking-the-denialists letter. I’m tired and it’s late — and the dimbulbs commenting on this article provide an easy target. That’s my excuse. What’s yours? Sent April 25:

It’s easy to predict reactions to the Interior Department report showing Utah getting hit by water shortages from intensifying climate change. First, conspiracy theorists, who believe the world’s climatologists are part of a sinister cabal attempting to establish a Socialist New World Order featuring lightbulb police and compulsory re-education camps for SUV drivers. Next? The voices proclaiming anthropogenic global warming a fraud, promulgated by liberals and environmentalists in order to raise taxes, followed closely by those claiming “the science isn’t settled,” that “Earth’s climate has always been changing,” or that future water shortages are impossible — because it’s raining.

America’s true greatness once lay in our ability to confront difficulty head-on, turning it into opportunity. By shutting their eyes to the scary truth of climate change, the denialist voices are betraying our country’s heritage of innovation, resourcefulness and creativity — a heritage we’ll surely need in the thirsty decades ahead.

Warren Senders

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