Climate change: Our infrastructure is built for another Earth

A temperature higher on average across the globe than any previously recorded since instrument readings began in the 1850s was measured on July 3. That record was broken again on July 4, and then again on July 5. We designed our infrastructure and agricultural practices for a pre-climate change Earth. We are unprepared for what is coming.

Stop saying ‘Climate emergency!’? (Until, collectively, we mean it?)

Because the so-called ‘emergency’ isn’t going to solve it for us. Moreover, it isn’t going to get ‘solved’ as such at all. The start of the new beginning we need, is to admit that we have failed. And then seek, everywhere, and together, a real way forward.

Climate change, water and the infrastructure problem

The naive notion that we can, for example, “just use more air conditioning” as the globe warms betrays a perplexing misunderstanding of what we face. Even if one ignores the insanity of burning more climate-warming fossil fuels to make electricity for more air-conditioning, there is the embedded assumption that our current infrastructure with only minor modifications will withstand the pressures placed upon it in a future transformed by climate change and other depredations.

Agriculture and climate change: Is farming really a moveable feast?

There is a notion afoot that our agricultural production can simply migrate toward the poles in the face of climate change as areas in lower latitudes overheat and dry up. Few people contemplate what such a move would entail and whether it would actually be feasible.

Hot carbon

Carbon is hot. This was the main message of a conference on climate change and agriculture that I attended last week in Davis, California. Everyone was talking about carbon, either as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or soil carbon below our feet. Farmers, scientists, policy-wonks, regulators, graduate students, activists and many others all had something to say about carbon.