Monday, June 30, 2014

Climate Change Forecasts

A report has been published discussing possible damage from climate change to various regions of the United States.  Everyone should be taking this very seriously because the changes are likely to be dramatic wherever you live. Not so here in the Pacific Northwest where I live though.  The report forecasts that Seattle, which normally has about 5 days above 95 degrees Fahrenheit a year (and never over 100), will experience an increase up to 15 days a year by 2050 and up to 40 days by 2100, and presumably many over 100.  That's nothing compared to what is forecast to happen in the American Southwest.

The important issue for the Northwest is increase in sea level.  The Puget Sound is surrounded by houses built on bluffs that front the beaches.  Even now houses are tumbling into the sound as the bluffs erode.  The report, however, forecasts, at least initially, a small increase in sea level due to countervailing factors.  This is short term good news.  In the long run, though, we can see an increase of about five feet or more which seriously endangers all of the houses on those bluffs.  There are many houses below on beaches as well that are greatly at risk.  Any mortgage company would be foolish to offer a 40 year mortgage on any house on a beach or bluff.

The dominating impact on our region is going to be environmental immigration from all the other parts of this hemisphere that will become uninhabitable.  I believe we can expect tens or hundreds of millions of people swarming to either the Northwest or the Northeast escaping interminable droughts and floods.  This will likely become unmanageable at some point.  Think Brazilian slums surrounding Northwest cities.  There just won't be the resources to handle all those people.  The three most important of them, food, water, and health care, will be in short supply relative to the number of people here, and will likely be rationed.  And the system of rationing will likely be irrational -- the wealthiest and the longest resident people may succeed in holding on to the most they can.  The may be confrontations, and as a result of the NRA's efforts there will be a lot of weaponry available to the new arrivals.  I have at the most twenty years of life left in me, and I expect to see some of what I'm predicting, and I believe it will be mostly tragic.