President Donald Trump and his minions can stick their head in the sand if they want to, but the realities of climate change will continue nevertheless. Ask any scientist with any credibility at all.
Last month, Trump signed an executive order that’s a real poke in the eye to previous efforts to slow the pace of global warming. With his signature, Trump instructed federal agencies to loosen restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions and to ignore or downplay the risks of climate change. In one fell swoop, the Denier in Chief advanced the greatest hoax of all: that science is actually a vast left-wing conspiracy. And that facts no longer matter.
That global warming it still being debated as fact or fiction is amazing. But denial is denial and facts are still facts, and thanks to the wonders of technology and science, you can look up the hard data yourself.
And, as it turns out, the facts are too exposed for Trump to counter by executive decree. “Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” NASA uses as a leading “pull quote” on its webpage about climate change, attributing it to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Scientific groups and investigative bodies all across the U.S. and around the world have declared climate change real—and, naturally, those declarations are all over the internet.
To the contrary, if you google “global warming is a hoax,” you get, well, Donald Trump. And his minions.
Dig deeper than the politics, however, and you can find real data—graphics, info boxes, lists, maps, time-lapse photo spreads and sundry other empirical representations—that point to a global temperature that’s been rising at an alarming rate in recent years. You’ll also find data that show the oceans warming up, the Artic melting away and sea levels rising.
Moreover, you can find hard evidence as to its causes. Climate change may be part of a natural cycle, but humans are contributing. The world’s population has grown from 2 billion people to 7 billion in less than a century, and thanks to the industrial revolution, our manmade carbon output has increased dramatically. Even our oceans are measurably more acidic, clearly caused by human activities.
With Trump the denier in charge now, perhaps we’re better off preparing for, instead of trying to stop, the scorched earth of our children’s future.
“Climate change is affecting the Southwest. Temperatures have increased by almost 2°F in the last century, with the 2001-2010 decade being the warmest since records began 110 years ago. The length of the frost-free season has increased by 19 days in recent decades. Average annual temperatures are projected to rise an additional 3.5°F to 9.5°F by the end of this century, with the greatest temperature increases expected in the summer and fall. Drought conditions are already common in the Southwest and drought periods are expected to become more frequent, intense and longer. Drought will affect important water sources, including the Colorado River Basin. Combined with expected population growth, climate change will exacerbate existing stresses.”
-The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, at epa.org; obviously posted before Trump got to ‘em.
Within the changing climate of our future, New Mexico has at least one thing working in its favor: It’s an inland state. As sea levels rise (8 inches in the last 100 years and a much faster rate over the last 20 years), we’ll be sitting on some choice real estate.
If we haven’t dried up and blown away by then.
In the short-term, things are looking pretty good. The U.S. Drought Monitor for New Mexico has about half the state on the east side of the Rio Grande covered in “abnormally dry” conditions, while only the northeast corner of the state, chiefly Union County, is in a “moderate” drought.
Plus, the federal Bureau of Reclamation recently unveiled its expectations for New Mexico’s water supplies and how the state’s river waters should be managed in the upcoming growing season. Based on snowpack, soil moisture and climate predictions, people along the Rio Grande can expect a full allotment of their water rights this year, according to an Associated Press report.
No mention of the long-term expectation that the Rio Grande basin will lose water—by as much as 14 percent by the 2030s, according to one projection—due to a hotter, drier future.
But no worries, that’s years down the road. By then, Trump will have made our nation great again—even if it costs the world to accomplish.
Tom McDonald is founder and editor of the New Mexico Community News Exchange. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org