Here’s a theme we’re going to see a lot in the 21st century:
Payback is a bitch.
The president who nixed America’s commitment to the carbon-reducing Kyoto protocol, whose administration censored reports on climate science, and whose State Department thanked Exxon executives for their “active involvement” in helping to determine climate change policy, is watching the town in which he grew up squirm in the grip of Texas’ epic, climate change-enhanced drought.
Midland, Texas, where Bush learned how to talk and grew into a strapping young alcoholic, is already running on half the water it had in the summer of 2010. As the drought grinds on, water from the Colorado River Municipal Water District has become scarce. The town’s only remaining reservoir will be dry in under a year if these conditions continue — and they’re projected to. “[P]eople could get up in the morning and there’s not any water in the system,” City of Midland Utilities Director Stuart Purvis told CBS 7 News.
Officials are trying to put the best face on this, and they say that by increasing utility rates they hope to force conservation so that Midland can get through this crisis.
But what they fail to mention, or perhaps even to imagine, is that it might not be a crisis — it might be the new normal. Climate change is already resulting in northward expansion of the subtropics, and this could be the reason behind Midland’s and Texas current woes. At any rate, it’ll be the reason behind their woes soon enough. The subtropics, the dry band girdling the earth that corresponds with the planet’s greatest deserts, are in the long term going to transform Texas into a profoundly different ecosystem. One that resembles the deserts of Mexico to the south, and worse.
We won’t know for decades, but the bottom line is, what Texas is experiencing now is either a dry run for the future or the beginning of the desertification of the entire state.
Meanwhile, Bush is sitting in a rocker on his front porch in Crawford, Texas, watching it all unfold. I wonder: Are his wells dry? Has the mass death of trees in Texas affected his ranch? Are his cattle going thirsty?
Is the profound irony of the situation dawning on him yet?