Tag Archives: joaquin

Here’s the real story behind Trump’s drought denial

A little fishy

Here’s the real story behind Trump’s drought denial

By on Jun 1, 2016 10:09 amShare

Over the weekend, Donald Trump told voters in California, a state that is now suffering through its fifth year of drought, that “there is no drought.” Instead, Trump says, the state is suffering from harmful policies crafted by environmentalists. Or, in Trump-speak, “they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea.”

A lot of outlets pilloried the remarks.  The Atlantic said they were “beneath contempt.” Slate called them “oblivious.”

But Trump has gotten far too much credit. He’s not being his usual creative self. He’s just repeating an argument that’s been popular among conservatives for years. Ex-Republican-darling Carly Fiorina made this same argument repeatedly during her brief presidential run, calling the California drought nothing more than a “man-made disaster.” Conservative media, including Fox News, National Review, and the Wall Street Journal, have long taken aim at environmentalists for exacerbating the drought.

Think of it as off-brand climate denialism. Drought deniers believe overzealous environmentalists got California into this mess. State and federal conservation laws call for a certain minimum level of freshwater to flow through the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta in Northern California, where two of the state’s largest rivers meet. Drought deniers say there’s an easy fix to the state’s water problems – take away those laws and divert more of that water to the agriculture industry.

The longstanding symbol at the center of this fight is the delta smelt, a three-inch-long fish protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Roughly half of the water that flows through the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta is supposed to be left to sustain the delta smelt and the broader environment, and the rest is to be divided for human uses like agriculture and household consumption. But that’s in a normal year; in recent drought years, California has already been making exceptions to regulatory safeguards. The U.S. House of Representatives is now considering a bill to amend the Endangered Species Act and allow even more water to be redirected to the dry Central Valley and Southern California. Even Senate Democrats are  considering a bill that would give the federal government more leeway to divert water for human use.

But as water from the delta makes its way out to the ocean, it doesn’t just nurture the delta smelt.  By supporting the whole ecosystem, it supports fishing industries as well. The health of the delta smelt population is a rough approximation of the health of the ecosystem and other species in it, including salmon, and right now that health is poor. Ironically, even the quality of human drinking water would be negatively affected by diverting more water from the delta for human use.

Letting farmers and other interests use as much water as they want wouldn’t begin to solve the larger problems posed by drought and climate change. It wouldn’t suddenly mean there is more snowpack and rain. It wouldn’t make California any less hot. In fact, this Band-Aid approach might only make California worse off in the decades to come, as megadroughts become a reality; if the state doesn’t figure out how to conserve water now, it will only have more problems down the road.

So it isn’t as simple as Trump promises: “If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive.”

Trump and other drought deniers have another thing in common: They tend to ignore the role of climate change in making California’s drought more extreme, and reject climate science altogether. They are certain that the drought is man-made, but they’re still unconvinced that humans have caused climate change.


Get Grist in your inbox

View article – 

Here’s the real story behind Trump’s drought denial

Posted in alo, Anchor, Citizen, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, ONA, Paradise, solar, The Atlantic, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Here’s the real story behind Trump’s drought denial

We’re Pumping So Much Groundwater That It’s Causing the Oceans to Rise

Mother Jones

Irrigation in California’s San Joaquin Valley GomezDavid/iStock

This article was originally published by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Pump too much groundwater and wells go dry—that’s obvious.

But there is another consequence that gets little attention as a hotter, drier planet turns increasingly to groundwater for life support.

So much water is being pumped out of the ground worldwide that it is contributing to global sea level rise, a phenomenon tied largely to warming temperatures and climate change.

It happens when water is hoisted out of the earth to irrigate crops and supply towns and cities, then finds its way via rivers and other pathways into the world’s oceans. Since 1900, some 4,500 cubic kilometers of groundwater around the world—enough to fill Lake Tahoe 30 times—have done just that.

Geophysical Research Letters

“Long-term groundwater depletion represents a large transfer of water from the continents to the oceans,” retired hydrogeologist Leonard Konikow wrote earlier this year in one article. “Thus, groundwater depletion represents a small but nontrivial contributor to SLR sea-level rise.”

Sea levels have risen 7 to 8 inches since the late 19th century and are expected to rise more rapidly by 2100. The biggest factors are associated with climate change: melting glaciers and other ice and the thermal expansion of warming ocean waters.

Groundwater flowing out to sea added another half-inch—6 to 7 percent of overall sea level rise from 1900 to 2008, Konikow reported in a 2011 article in Geophysical Research Letters. “That really surprised a lot of people,” he said in a recent interview with Reveal.

Konikow also has reported that 1,000 cubic kilometers—twice the volume of Lake Erie—were depleted from aquifers in the US from 1900 to 2008, and the pace of the pumping is increasing.

Geophysical Research Letters

In California, so much groundwater has been pumped from aquifers in parts of the San Joaquin Valley that the land itself is starting to sink like a giant pie crust, wreaking havoc with roads, bridges and water delivery canals.

Not only is groundwater growing scarce, but we’re pumping out older and older water. In parts of California, cities and farms are tapping reserves that fell to Earth during a much wetter climatic regime—the ice age, a phenomenon that Reveal covered earlier this month and which raises questions about future supplies as the climate turns drier.

Last week, NASA senior water scientist Jay Famiglietti warned that “the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing.”

According to Konikow, groundwater overdraft in the US accounted for about 22 percent of global groundwater depletion from 1900 to 2008, contributing about an eighth of an inch to global sea level rise.

Visit source – 

We’re Pumping So Much Groundwater That It’s Causing the Oceans to Rise

Posted in Anchor, FF, G & F, GE, LG, ONA, organic, Radius, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on We’re Pumping So Much Groundwater That It’s Causing the Oceans to Rise

In the battle of almonds vs. salmon, everyone is a loser

almond oy

In the battle of almonds vs. salmon, everyone is a loser

By on 29 Dec 2014commentsShare

It’s a day that ends with Y, so the world is met with yet another entry in the voluminous tome entitled 2014: Year of the War on Almonds. Today, the No. 1 Enemy of the Nut is none other than the noble but needy salmon!

In the Westlands Water District of the San Joaquin Valley, 15 percent of farmland is planted with almond trees. Almonds have surged in popularity among farmers in recent years because A) they are delicious (cut to me gleefully sprinkling almonds on everything I eat) and B) even though they are fucking expensive (cut to me weeping at the grocery store cash register), people will still buy them (see A). And while almond trees do not need to be replanted from season to season, they require huge quantities of water to flourish — just over one gallon per almond.

An old-ish state law in California requires that in dry times (like right now!) surfacewater supplies be diverted to replenish salmon habitats. Farmers, one might expect, are not really into that — and those in the Westlands Water District have unsuccessfully tried to lobby to change these regulations. From the New York Times:

The proposals in the failed legislation — which was sponsored by Representative David Valadao, Republican of Hanford, in the southern San Joaquin Valley agricultural heartland — “would upend a whole number of laws” and long-established priority rights to surface water, said Kate Poole, a water expert with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

She added, “We have clearly exceeded the ability of our water supplies — including surface and groundwater — to meet the demands we’re putting on it. We have to change, stretching how much we can get out of each drop through expanded urban and agricultural efficiency.” But, she said, “the Republicans in Congress seem to want to go in the other direction and upend the centuries-old priorities and give water to more politically powerful wealthy interests.”

It’s worth noting that Not All Almond Farmers are wealthy nut barons — as Grist fellow Madeleine Thomas reported earlier this year, there’s been a trend in California farmers turning from dairy to almonds just to stay financially viable.

We can argue until the cows come home (spoiler: They are not coming home, because they have turned into almond trees) about whether farmers or fishermen will suffer more from this conflict. However, the true victim is undeniably Gwyneth Kate Paltrow, who survives exclusively on a diet of soaked organic nuts, wild salmon, and fire-roasted copies of A Rush of Blood to the Head. Can we please all get over ourselves and JUST THINK OF OL’ GWEN? Seriously!

Water Source for Almonds in California May Run Dry

, The New York Times.



enable JavaScript

to view the comments.

Find this article interesting?

Donate now to support our work.

Get stories like this in your inbox


Read original article: 

In the battle of almonds vs. salmon, everyone is a loser

Posted in Anchor, Everyone, FF, GE, LG, ONA, organic, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on In the battle of almonds vs. salmon, everyone is a loser

Your Almond Habit Is Sucking California Dry

Mother Jones

California farmers will reap a record 2.1 billion pounds of almonds this year, the USDA estimates—about three times as much as they did in 2000. That’s great news for the world’s growing horde of almond eaters, because the state’s groves supply 80 percent of the global harvest. As this chart shows, California has been planting more and more almonds over the past two decades:

And those almonds are miniature cash cows:

But in the long term, the almond boom may prove bad news for everyone who relies on California’s farms for sustenance. You might have heard that the state, supplier of half of US-grown produce, is locked in its worst drought on record. Meanwhile, it takes 1.1 gallons of water to produce a single almond, as my colleagues Alex Park and Julia Lurie have shown. You don’t have to scramble to figure how many almonds make up 2.1 billion pounds to realize that that’s a hell of a lot of water.

Continue Reading »


Your Almond Habit Is Sucking California Dry

Posted in Anchor, FF, GE, LG, ONA, PUR, Radius, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Your Almond Habit Is Sucking California Dry

Why Does the NYT Dialect Map Think I Come From Stockton?

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

Everyone’s favorite timewaster of the past couple of days has been the New York Times’ online dialect map. Answer 25 questions and it will tell you where you grew up. My results were disappointingly vague. Lots of people reported that the app practically located the city block they came from, but in my case it didn’t even get the right part of the state. I’ve spent my entire life within a radius of about 20 miles centered on Orange County, but the app thinks I come from northern California:

I had trouble with several of the questions. The freeway/highway distinction had a couple of answers that seemed OK. I refer to large vehicles on highways as big rigs, trucks, and semis fairly interchangeably. I’m fairly agnostic between yard sale and garage sale, as well as between drinking fountain and water fountain. But I took the test several times to see if answering these few questions differently made a difference, and it didn’t. I kept coming up as a northern Californian.

So I dug in further. Which question was IDing me wrong? After plowing through the test about a dozen times giving different answers to one or two questions at a time, I finally figured it out. It was this one: “What do you call the small road parallel to the highway?” I think of this as a frontage road, but when I switched to service road, the app pegged me with eerie precision:

So what’s going on? The truth is that here in Orange County we don’t really have roads like this, so I don’t call them anything. The only time I see them is when I’m traveling, usually in a car going north on I-5. Once you get up into the San Joaquin Valley, there are signs for these roads all over the place, and they’re always called frontage roads. Since that’s the only exposure I have to them, I call them frontage roads and thus peg myself as a northern Californian.

I’m pretty sure there’s more to it than just this, but since the test rotates questions it’s hard to consistently hold every variable constant but one in order to get clean results. As near as I can tell, frontage road reliably places me north of Bakersfield, but service road occasionally does too depending on how I answer some of the other questions. Most of the time, though, service road plus my natural answers to everything else places me solidly in Southern California.

See original article here: 

Why Does the NYT Dialect Map Think I Come From Stockton?

Posted in Casio, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Does the NYT Dialect Map Think I Come From Stockton?