For a taste of the brutal new climate to come, look to where the climate is already harsh, and growing more so -- the aptly named Valley of the Sun.
Look at the fires that have raged this year in Colorado and New Mexico, and you're seeing not a "perfect storm" of temporary conditions, but evidence of the new normal in the American West.
This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. Consider it a taste of the future: the fire, smoke, drought, dust, and heat that have made life unpleasant, if not dangerous, from Louisiana to Los Angeles. New records tell the tale: biggest wildfire ever recorded in Arizona (538,049 acres); biggest fire ever in New Mexico (156,600 acres); all-time worst fire year in Texas history (3,697,000 acres). The fires were a function of drought. As of summer’s end, 2011 was the driest year in 117 years of record-keeping for New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana, and …
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