Climate Change May Lead to "Exodus from Phoenix," or Maybe Just Total Disaster

sun-phoenix.jpg
wikimedia.org
A map of Phoenix.
The end of Phoenix metro area may be nigh, at least, according to one guy.

A writer who focuses mostly on environmental affairs in the Southwest says that Phoenix just keeps getting hotter, and among other problems, it could lead to a Superstorm Sandy-like or Hurricane Katrina-like disaster.

William deBuys (bio and credentials here) doesn't seem to have the greatest outlook for Phoenix's future, as evidenced by his latest piece, saying Phoenix is in the "climate crosshairs."

"In Phoenix, it's the convergence of heat, drought, and violent winds, interacting and amplifying each other that you worry about," deBuys writes. "Generally speaking, in contemporary society, nothing that matters happens for just one reason, and in Phoenix there are all too many "reasons" primed to collaborate and produce big problems, with climate change foremost among them, juicing up the heat, the drought, and the wind to ever greater extremes, like so many sluggers on steroids."

For example, if the power grid fails on a large scale and for quite some time, then "the fallout will make the consequences of Superstorm Sandy look mild," he says.

"Phoenix is an air-conditioned city," he continues. "If the power goes out, people fry."

Unfortunately, he seems to have quite a few reasons as to why Phoenix is a prime location for total disaster.

For one, deBuys points to the reasons that it's getting hotter, like the concrete "soaking up energy by day and releasing it at night."

Then there are the haboobs that have caused power outages, although deBuys says the utility companies say it's not a problem, and the outages have been brief.

"Before Katrina hit, the Army Corps of Engineers was similarly reassuring to the people of New Orleans," deBuys adds, in the least reassuring way possible. "And until Superstorm Sandy landed, almost no one worried about storm surges filling the subway tunnels of New York."

There's also the running-out-of-water problem, the wildfires, drought, and "its particular brand of local politics," which lead to nothing productive getting done, deBuys continues.

And here's your doomsday prediction:

"It is a truism that communities that do not pull together fail to surmount their challenges. Phoenix's are as daunting as any faced by an American city in the new age of climate change, but its winner-take-all politics (out of which has come Arizona's flagrantly repressive anti-immigration law), combined with the fragmentation of the metro area into nearly two dozen competing jurisdictions, essentially guarantee that, when the worst of times hit, common action and shared sacrifice will remain as insubstantial as a desert mirage. When one day the U-Haul vans all point away from town and the people of the Valley of the Sun clog the interstates heading for greener, wetter pastures, more than the brutal heat of a new climate paradigm will be driving them away. The breakdown of cooperation and connectedness will spur them along, too."

Perfect. Check out the entire piece from deBuys here.

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16 comments
MandyMountain
MandyMountain

I've advised my kids to rent, not buy, in Phoenix. This situation is part of my reasoning. I've been wondering how long it would take for the climate change to affect livability, housing values, and so forth.

sarum
sarum

Global warming aside, what once were celebrated as mankind's triumph over nature - cities in the desert - maybe not so smart or so triumphal after all.  Shifting sands, massive water diversion - misuse, or hey, desert landscaping accomplished with copious amounts of degrading plastic creates a mold problem unparalleled, not to mention how long will it take to heal the earth of that plastic?  

Francisco Cortez
Francisco Cortez

Don't forget that people are leaving because of the lame Governor too!

TheDownfalloftheUSA
TheDownfalloftheUSA

Golly, I wonder how people survive in places like the Middle East, which is hotter than Phoenix. 

Articles like this remind me Obama and his sequester scare tactics. "OMG, the sky is falling. You all better do what I say, or we will all die." 

Sorry libs. You've cried wolf too many times and people are simply not listening to you anymore...

Jennifer Masiello
Jennifer Masiello

Phoenix is a known heat island. I am surprised they emailed that back. Maybe it was not the mass hysteria the media wanted to present for that day.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

I predict that it will hit 130F in Phoenix within the next 20 years.

Susan Dunlap
Susan Dunlap

I sent a e-mail to one of the Phx stations years ago. It was their segment about ask a weather question. I wrote and asked them about the Heat Bubble over Phoenix and explained my thought process about the paving and concrete. That Phoenix was becoming a Heat Island. That all the rain and storms seem to only come at night if at all and that most rain goes around the valley, Fountain Hills, Cave Creek, White Tank Mtns, Queen Creek, Apache Junction. In the Valley all you see is Virga. I got back a really NASTY reply, basically saying I was crazy and to leave the weather to the weather men. I still have the E-Mail. IDIOTS!

Marilyn Ostrow
Marilyn Ostrow

yeah, that's something I've been thinking about for a while.

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@ExpertShot This is the fourth interglacial (warming) cycle in the modern period where the (likely) polar ice caps melt completel or virtually completel. There weren't enough human beings on the plant, fossil fuels, factory farming or other anthropogenic causes that resulted in the prior 3 interglacial periods, but all of a sudden this 4th interglacial period is anthropogenic? It would not be correct to say that I woke up this morning, and then the sun rose in the east, so therefore the sun rose in the east because I woke up - it would be a mistake to believe that coincidence equals causation.  

TheDownfalloftheUSA
TheDownfalloftheUSA

@ExpertShot Ahhh, wikipedia... The collective ignorance of the world on public display and used by the low information masses as Gospel. Brilliant post Einstein. I wonder if the scientists that discovered the Higgs Boson used Wiki for their research too??? (sarcasm)

tcon45
tcon45

@JohnQ.Public- Just exactly what are your chops that make you an authority on this??? I'll trust the real scientists that publish their research and conclusions in real scientific journals, not in the New Times. People come here for entertainment and opinion, not so much science.

"In the scientific field of climate studies – which is informed by many different disciplines – the consensus is demonstrated by the number of scientists who have stopped arguing about what is causing climate change – and that’s nearly all of them. A survey of all peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject 'global climate change' published between 1993 and 2003 shows that %s. 75%% of the papers agreed with the consensus position while 25%% made no comment either way, focusing on methods or paleoclimate analysis (%s).

%s that “...the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes”. (%s). In other words, more than 95%% of scientists working in the disciplines contributing to studies of our climate, accept that climate change is almost certainly being caused by human activities.

We should also consider official scientific bodies and what they think about climate change. There are no national or major scientific institutions anywhere in the world that dispute the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Not one.

In the field of climate science, the consensus is unequivocal: human activities are causing climate change.

 %s


ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@TheDownfalloftheUSAActually, they did use Wikipedia.  You are incorrect when asserting that Wikipedia is "the collective ignorance of the world on public display".  It is remarkably accurate.  Here is a study comparing Wikipedia to other Encyclopedias

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4530930.stm


However, there are bloggers paid by the Koch Brothers and other oil industry organizations whose job it is to "refute" any suggestion that climate change is hastened by human activity - particularly those activities involving the discharge of greenhouse gases (like carbon based fuels do).  How much are you getting paid to spread your disinformation?


jbunny
jbunny

@TheDownfalloftheUSA  

Ok, but high school bully talk aside, what's so funny? It makes sense, logically, that the human race impacts the environment. If you believe in science, it's kind of intuitive. It's not like global warming is a far-fetched idea...unless you believe we truly have zero impact on the planet's ecosystems? That sounds implausible if not impossible.

TheDownfalloftheUSA
TheDownfalloftheUSA

@ExpertShot   ROFL - as soon as loons like you start mentioning the Koch Bros, or Bush, or "big oil", or all the other garbage in your dem playbook, you look like complete fools.

How does it feel to know that people laugh at your ignorance every day? Three letters for you - G, E, D... go get one Scooter.

That was difficult to type because of the laughter you caused... Especially stating that the scientists that discovered the Higgs Boson used Wiki in their discovery... THAT was funny. Go back to your bong Einstein... LOL


You even had to "like" yourself... HAHAHAHA what a tool.

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