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While California battles unusually heavy rains, our good friends in Texas are facing another season of severe drought ahead, just like the last few years:

Ninety-four percent of Texas is now abnormally dry, 54 percent is stuck in severe drought and 25 percent is mired in the extreme category, up 10 percent from one week ago, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday.

For now, one year after a record Texas drought caused $7.62 billion in agricultural losses, 6 million acres of winter wheat are the biggest concern. Forty to 45 percent of the crop is rated poor to very poor, a 15-point jump from last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported. [...]

The state is quickly catching up with this year's dire conditions in the High Plains, where 86 percent of the region is mired in severe drought and 27 percent is in exceptional drought, the most severe category.

Nationally, 76 percent of the contiguous United States is abnormally dry.

What do such severe dry conditions lead to?  Lower crop yields.  Shrinking reservoirs and aquifers.  At some point the inevitable wildfires that have plagued the West and Southwest over the last decade.

The dry conditions across Texas concern fire managers who fought wildfires on nearly 4 million acres during the 2011 fire season, said Tom Spencer, head of the predictive services department for the Texas A&M Forest Service.

Climate change is already impacting the ability of our country to sustain itself.  The cost of Hurricane Sandy is projected to be in the $50 billion or more range when all is said and done.  Droughts and wildfires and crop losses lead to increased food prices.  Disease vectors for malaria and other "sub-tropical illnesses" are likely to move northward.

We are witnessing deleterious changes to our planet predicted by climate models much, much sooner than previously anticipated.  This is no hoax, no grand conspiracy.  It's real.  Just look out your window.  Unfortunately, it is very likely the time to hope to reverse those effects has already passed, but we still have time to limit the damage that our past actions have caused.  That is, if someone would actually provide the necessary political will and leadership we need to address this issue at both the national and international levels.

Yet the politicians and policy makers fiddle, while the earth burns, the seas rise, the storms crash upon our heavily populated shores.  The reaction to the drought in Texas and elsewhere is a microcosm of what is being done - a lot of hand wringing, but little direct action to change the direction we need to be headed if we as a species are going to find a way to a future sustainable human civilization.

Even now in Congress and across many states, legislation is being prepared (mostly by conservative and fossil fuel industry funded organizations like ALEC) to eliminate government subsidies and investment in renewable, clean energy technologies.  Intense lobbying is proceeding to allow more drilling for oil and gas, especially the environmentally dirty process of hydrofracking, as well as greater use of coal. Republicans are on the attack against both the Federal EPA and the State of California over regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

For all of you who believe that climate change is not real, remember when you were warned time and time again.  Weird and extreme weather isn't weird anymore, it's become expected.  Blinders serve no purpose. Get informed about what you can do, now.

350.org

Divest yourself and demand institutions with whom you are associated divest in fossil fuel companies.

Join a local climate change activist group.

Contact your representatives in Congress that you want climate change made a priority.

If you don't, who will?

Originally posted to Steven D on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 12:55 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My comment is snark, but just barely: (20+ / 0-)

    Maybe Texas can follow the lead of Virginia and North Carolina.  Just pass a law declaring global climate change doesn't exist.  Problem solved.

  •  Bloomberg/Christy 2016: It's Global Warming Stupid (10+ / 0-)

    Everyone under the age of 50 should realize that Global Warming is the issue that will have the greatest impact on the rest of your life.

    The cost to prepare for, clean up, repair, manage through storms, fires, insects, drought, etc., is going to grow and grow and grow and take time and resources that could be devoted elsewhere and to better ends.

  •  It'll take extreme government action (20+ / 0-)

    to try to mitigate the destruction of global warming, almost exactly the opposite of the current austerity and reform movements.

    Not in Texas, but actually it's been worse here, and we're moving into our third year of drought and at the highest level.  I have been convinced for some time of the reality of the predictions even without intimately living with it, but hitting on a directly personal level does certainly intensify my fear and despondency about the lack of government response.

    We've been living with absurdity for some time now, especially with the advent of the Bushco regime, but it has to be the height of absurdity to project longer life spans and general health or extraordinary MIC investments while we see the livability on earth deteriorating all around us.  To see so many people trying to eek out a barely sustainable salary through protests and strikes, to realize that the mandated minimal wage, when it does apply, is not adequate to keep people alive.

    Brushing aside the endless trivia and bickering and propaganda, we're in deep shit and it's getting deeper by the year.

  •  A rancher friend of mine is culling his cows again (26+ / 0-)

    this week. Sold two trailer loads already. This is in central Texas and at another ranch out near San Angelo.

    This weather feels like the 1950s drought during which I grew up. Damn little rain. We had about a quarter of an inch this month...Austin, 50 miles southeast, had zero rain in November, the first time since 1894 that that has happened. The Highland Lakes are around 44% of capacity and falling, although they fall more slowly in fall and winter than summer. Inflows from the Colorado and Llano Rivers and big creeks are heading toward zero, like last year. Tough on everything.

    Fire is an increasing hazard...we're in the severe category with the extreme category within 10 miles of us in two directions. With dry conditions forecast for December, it won't be long before we're there. With modern forecasting, you can get your bad news early.

    Last January it started raining and we had rains from then until June...sorta every other month but it helped blunt the conditions. Some spring crops and hay was grown but by July that all came to a screeching halt as the heat set in.

    Staring here and going northwest of us for 65 miles is the Llano Uplift, an ancient area upwards to 1.36 billion years old with granite some 1.09 billion, much of it exposed and worn down...once this area, some 35 miles wide, becomes extremely dry it creates a low humidity dome and rain just passes around us...cool and cold fronts split apart...we get a few drops, north and south of us gets the rain. When I was a kid you could see the thunderheads approaching and literally disappearing before your eyes, only to rebuild once they headed toward Austin and southeastwards.

    Being a farmer or rancher here, which both of my grandfathers were, is a hell of an occupation. It does make for damn tough people but they really don't have much of a choice. The old timers who lived through the Depression and droughts of the '30s liken this time to those years.

    When El Nino diminished to nothing, many of the ranchers realized that the rains weren't coming and started culling their herds, which translates to limiting their future...sorta like an animal chewing off their leg to get out of trap.

    The truth is we are tortured by the truth.

    by walkshills on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 01:38:02 PM PST

    •  we had scattered showers in north austin... (9+ / 0-)

      on november 3. i now feel kinda privileged for having experienced that rain. hope it starts up again and soon

      "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

      by poemworld on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 02:16:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bless you all. (9+ / 0-)

      I wish the people in the city were paying attention. I grew up in the fifties. One of my parents stories was, that when I was three, they went on vacation back East, and rain scared me enough to cry. I had never seen any.

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 03:08:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  When those on farms and ranches organize and (9+ / 0-)

      start ACTING UP, this will get attention. City people (and I have been one for most of my life) really don't understand the entire food cycle well at all. They just go to the store, buy their food (often complaining about prices) and don't really think twice about WHY food prices rise. Water isn't quite as bad YET, but that will change.

      But the voices of rural farming/ranching America need to speak up and they NEED to start talking science and drop the sometimes religious right attitudes so that we can focus on a real problem, which religion isn't.

      There are REAL opportunities for change here, but it needs to come from the ground up (pun intended) from ranching/farming country.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 03:20:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most ranchers i know do use science. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steven D

        They are some of the most practical and utilitarian people I've ever known. They are always seeking things that work, real solutions, and science is an important tool. They ignore fictions of all sorts.

        My comment deal with water and specifically rain. There wasn't much political comment but frankly, the ranchers are as interconnected as everyone else.

        In a state where 74% (and rising) live in urban areas, with representation decreasing at the state governmental level and with being gerrymandered into weird districts where they often get screwed when most of the area is rural, they're aware that they have to find a voice. They have monopolies all around them, from the large wholesale grocery chains to the packer houses that are integrated monopolies with feed lots and the ability to control prices.

        Ranchers don't live in isolation...and some, like the guy I spoke about who runs a family ranch that has been around since 1874, are integrated into a larger regional and state networks. Believe me, they don't spend time on bullshit. I do agree they need a better narrative for the threats against them (aside from the weather) and maybe even new alliances. These are hard-eyed realists so you better have some bullets if you come calling.

        The truth is we are tortured by the truth.

        by walkshills on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 12:19:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The previous two years I made a number of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden, Steven D

      trips to Lake Travis, etc to look at some boats. It was just crazy to get all the way down to the floating docks (which had been moved to deeper water a couple times).
      Once down on the water you could see above you where the usual lake water level had been, more than 60 feet overhead on the limestone cliffs. In retrospect, these conditions are affecting much more than ag (boat prices are in the tank), I can't imagine navigating around these lakes the way they are (never much liked being cooped up anyway, gimmee the limitless saltwater).
      These impoundments, like Canyon Lake near New Braunfels, normally fluctuate 10-15 feet year to year, but this is ridiculous insane.
      Only a decade ago Canyon (and most of Central Texas) had disasterous record overflow/flooding event (two of them actually, 1998 and 2002, IIRC), due to extreme rainfall events.
      Herr Perry and his merry band of bible thumpers will prey us out of it though, just believe them.

      The Highland Lakes are around 44% of capacity and falling

      "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

      by Bluefin on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 06:48:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This was specifically for Travis and Buchanan. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steven D

        Those two fluctuate and provide water for downstream needs as well as all the local demands, including recreation and fishing. In the early 1930s before the dams were built, the Colorado actually went dry for long expanses.

        What I like when it is down is that it is like the old Colorado before it was impounded. Lots of interesting geology to be seen and the river generates some nice sounds in the canyons.  

        We do get floods in drought: the 30s had four major floods, including the basin flood of record in 1938. Virtually all of these were the result of tropical systems.

        For a little encouragement Lake Buchanan was predicted to fill in three years...soon after it was finished in 1938 along came a powerful hurricane raining 4 inches per hour across the watershed and it filled in 36 hours. I've twice seen Lake Travis rise 50 feet in 24 hours...that takes sustained rains on the Llano and Colorado watersheds as well as that of the Pedernales.

        It's all quite dramatic, one way or another.

        The truth is we are tortured by the truth.

        by walkshills on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 12:02:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I support the divestiture movement. This seems (10+ / 0-)

    to me like the most pro-active way to bring the Big Fossil Fuels to heel. It will concentrated effort and time (unfortunately) but I think it's a very strong weapon for us as citizens.

    PS: it's unseasonably dry & warm here in NM, too.

    Handmade holiday gifts from Jan4insight on Zibbet. Get 10%off everytime with coupon code KOSSACK.

    by jan4insight on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 02:28:35 PM PST

  •  I've had to learn to accept that the future (3+ / 0-)

    Will not be the one I would wish.   We will consume all available resources and fight over scraps as the global ecology collapses.   Perhaps something will survive and life will persist.  Perhaps.

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 02:58:41 PM PST

    •  This is exactly what will happen (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steven D, jayden, freerad

      if we sit around and do nothing!

      I happen to believe in the power of people acting together. I've seen it make a difference in small ways and large throughout my 68 years on the planet. I can tell you that I am not going down without a fight.

      Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

      by figbash on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 05:52:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I see phrases like..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, 6412093

    " the environmentally dirty process of hydrofracking"  .......I really have to ask if you know what you are talking about.

    •  So you think that fracking is clean? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, figbash, Steven D, US Blues, jayden

      I think you need to defend that. There is more evidence on the other side of that coin.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 03:15:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Every cubic foot (0+ / 0-)

        of recovered natural gas means a shovel full of coal won't get burned.

        •  Not really.... (0+ / 0-)

          Spend some time looking at a company like DTE Energy, and they are doing plenty of both natural gas and coal combustion and expansion of their coal market to Europe.

        •  And so fracking which can involve toxic and/or (0+ / 0-)

          carcinogenic chemicals is somehow okay? It's okay to poison our underground water but not our climate?

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:04:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Its not ok (0+ / 0-)

            but I spent a couple of weeks looking for evidence of fracking/water pollution to submit as comments to FERC against fracking to increase natural gas exports.

            I found very little; a bad well in Wyoming, one in Pennsylvania, one in Colorado, a few dead cows in Louisiana; very limited impacts.

            I found no evidence of fracking/water pollution where I needed it the most-- in the massive fracking fields in the Bartlett and Haynesville Shales, which cover thousands of square miles east of Dallas and on the Texas/Ark/Louisiana state line.

            And I wanted that evidence very bad, but it wasn't there. I've seen the burning faucets in Gasland, but that doesn't translate into meaningful scientific evidence of chronic water pollution from fracking.

            I had to submit comments to FERC with only a couple of sentences out of 44 pages on fracking/water pollution.

            •  Well surely we can't translate all formations to (0+ / 0-)

              this one, large or not. Plus we don't know exactly what they are using in terms of chemicals since that's secret, though we know some of them.

              202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

              by cany on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 11:39:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  There is no valid scientific case at all for a ban (0+ / 0-)

        on the practice of hydraulic fracturing.

        Any enactment of a ban on the technique of hydraulic fracturing would have the immediate collateral effect of shutting down the great majority of oil and natural gas production and exploration activities now going on in the United States.

        The collateral consequence of banning fracking would be to drive both oil and natural gas prices to levels never before seen, and to jeopardize public safety through supply disruptions in northern climates of the United States that rely on natural gas for space heating.

        The anti-fracking ban promoters are nothing less than science deniers   -- they are a movement that practices what would be considered as scientific misconduct by those who are the stewards of geological engineering, geology and hydrology.....   the people who know and understand oil and gas well construction and process safety.

        •  So are you suggesting that this article (0+ / 0-)

          (here) which was front paged is somehow false?

          Are you actually trying to defend the use of chemicals, some of which are carcinogens, in fracking?

          Are you suggesting that anything that lessens climate change gases is better, even if they are still poison?

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 04:02:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is nothing at all in that article that is/.. (0+ / 0-)

            ...a valid scientific basis for a ban on hydraulic fracturing.   and. yes, much of that article is severely overstated or mis-stated declarations on risk from hydraulic fracturing operations.

            •  Unfortunately, much of the anti-fracking camp (0+ / 0-)

              is engaging in a type of 'group think' that very destructive and damaging in my opinion.

            •  If that's the case, you need to write a diary of (0+ / 0-)

              why fracking is so swell. There are experts here as credible as you are on the other side of the issue.

              202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

              by cany on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:57:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Right back at you! n/t (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, figbash, Steven D, US Blues

      If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

      by John Crapper on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 03:17:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A lifetime of disappointment (8+ / 0-)

    I was studying this in the early 70s at Oregon State University. Took a class called "Religion, ethics and ecology", a cross discipline course designed to look at the science as well as the moral/ethical implications of continued pollution.

    Everyone was labeled a DFH.

    No one seemed to care then, and very few care now.

    Interestingly it seems the more "churched" folks actively work to promote the destruction of the earth.

    I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Zone 8. I'm planting for going to a 9. I'm putting in more fruit trees.

    I'm waiting to see this called the Obama drought.

    I wonder how far we could get in the next 20 years if we diverted 1/3 of our military budget to alternate energy?

    I wonder how much more destruction needs to occur before the general public wakes up to the fact that they have been lied to for decades?

    •  Obama drought is old news (5+ / 0-)

      Obama-responsible-for-drought

      Obama, “continues to blame anyone and everyone for the drought but himself,” reads a release from Boehner’s office posted online and distributed to reporters Monday. The quote was attributed to Boehner himself in a Financial Times story. The online post and the press release came from Boehner spokesperson Kevin Smith.

      Our reason is quite satisfied ... if we can find a few arguments that will do to recite in case our credulity is criticized... Our faith is faith in someone else's faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case. - William James

      by radical empiricist on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 03:44:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, the President is stealing all the water to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steven D

        irrigate all those watermelons on the White House lawn that were depicted in that Republican Party post card.

        And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

        by MrJersey on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 07:41:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Is this a diary to incite public fears? (0+ / 0-)

    It is one thing to educate, but it is another thing to incite fear.   Inciting fear itself is an inherently dangerous operation that is prone to diving off into un-truth, distortion and errors of omission.....all of which constitute scientific misconduct.

    A global steward of a sustainable earth and a global greenhouse gas air pollution control steward cannot ethically engage in public fear mongering as that is not of the nature of the conduct of such stewardship.

  •  california's not facing unusually heavy rains (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart n Mind, kyril, US Blues, jayden

    heavy winter storms are part of the usual here, as are debilitating droughts. texas droughts like this, OTOH, are a predicted effect of global warming.

    when CA doesn't get a snowpack after a winter of warm rains, then that will be a sign of global warming changing the underlying weather pattern. pineapple express storms far stronger than this one are quite common in the historical record.

  •  Tell me about it! (6+ / 0-)

    The Rio Grande is nearly dry at Mesilla, we have had less than six inches of rain with only one month to go!  Only a half acre foot of irrigation water this year in two irrigations.  Farmers are pumping water from the bolson and thus making it fall for the first time that I can remember.  Dripping Springs in the Organ Mountains is dry (the first time that I've seen it without at least a trickle).  Elephant Butte reservoir is still sinking, although not yet at record low.

    We have had droughts before, but this one is more widespread and deeper than anyone  I remember.

    Of course this has nothing to do with Global Warming, at least according to our Republican "friends."

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