Climate Progress did us a service last week by reporting on an analysis of the impacts of rising oil prices by CIBC World Markets. Think of these in terms of your life in the very near future:
- 7-dollar-a-gallon gas in 2010
- 10 million less vehicles on U.S. roads in 2012
- the continuation of the steep drop in total vehicle miles travelled
The U.S. Climate Change Science Program – yes, the one that reports to the current Executive Branch of our government – says – according to the Washington Post – that “as greenhouse-gas emissions rise, North America is likely to experience more droughts and excessive heat in some regions even as intense downpours and hurricanes pound others more often.” Extreme weather is just giving us a hint of what’s to come with more extreme droughts and heat waves, more torrential downpours, It doesn’t seem to matter to these scientists that the link between human-caused carbon emissions and the extreme weather can’t be proven.
In a conference call with reporters, Karl and the other co-chair, Gerald A. Meehl, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said there is no doubt that human-generated heat-trapping gases have helped intensify both the Southwest’s current drought and heavy downpours, which have been increasing at a rate three times that of average precipitation over the past century.
“That’s a certainty,” Karl said. “People aren’t questioning whether there’s been an increase in heavy downpours.”
By the end of the century, he added, models predict that intense bouts of precipitation that might have occurred once every 20 years will take place every five years.
The state of California’s air board released a report last week calling for local governments to change land-use practices to help reduce the need for driving. In the state’s effort to reduce carbon emissions, it must deal with the fact that a third of those emissions come from vehicles on the road. And with current development and land-use patterns favoring suburban sprawl, it’s important that a reversal in that trend be initiated at the local level.