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Peter Gleick Blog

Confusion about California’s drought stems from the failure of some scientists, bloggers, reporters, and others to distinguish among three separate questions.

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Droughts – especially severe droughts – are terribly damaging events. The human and ecosystem costs can be enormous, as we may relearn during the current California drought.

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Seasonal-precip-CA-1

It is now early 2014 and the rains have not come, for the third year in a row.

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It is time to recognize the serious California drought for what it is: a bellwether of things to come; a harbinger of even more serious challenges to California water resources allocation, management, and use.

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Dr. Peter Gleick

Nearly two years ago, Science magazine published the following Lead Letter, signed by 255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences addressing attacks on the integrity of climate science. The science has continued to strengthen, the evidence in real world observations has become even stronger and more obvious.

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US Drought Monitor report for late February. The west is in severe drought, but notice anything about the southeast, around Georgia and Tennessee?

OK, put away your guns. We’re not talking shooting wars, at least not yet, at least not in the U.S. We’re talking politicians shooting off their mouths, political wars, and court battles. But water is serious business.

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Antarctic800000yCO2_400

Sometime, about one year from now, the front pages of whatever decent newspapers are left will carry a headline like the one above, announcing that for the first time in human existence (or in nearly a million years, or 3 million years, or 15 million years), the global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide — the principal gas causing climate change — will have passed 400 parts per million.

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This week is the 200th anniversary of the birth of the man who would help settle, once and for all, the question of the cause of cholera.

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One of the most important and threatening risks of climate change is sea-level rise (SLR).

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One of the reasons that climate change is such a big issue is because the global climate is an integral part of the Earth’s entire ecosystem, tied to so many of the big and little things that society cares about.

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PI-Green-Jobs-report

Invest in the future. And especially invest in sustainable, effective job creation in the water sector. The result will be millions of new jobs — a significant result.

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We’re bombarded with numbers every day. But seeing a number and understanding it are two different things.

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It is time we just said “no.”

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A private company, Cadiz Inc. (Cadiz), has revived plans to mine groundwater underlying land in the delicate Eastern Mojave Desert. This project revives fundamental questions about how we manage our precious water resources, and in particular, whether in the 21st century it is appropriate, or even necessary, to use renewable water resources in a nonrenewable and unsustainable way, for short-term profit.

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Geologic time scales are long – too long for the human mind to really comprehend. Over millions, and tens of millions, and hundreds of millions of years, the Earth has changed from something unrecognizable to the planet we see on maps, plastic globes, and photos from space.

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Not all zombies are fictional, and some are potentially really dangerous – at least to our pocketbooks and environment. These include zombie water projects: large, costly water projects that are proposed, killed for one reason or another, and are brought back to life, even if the project itself is socially, politically, economically, and environmentally unjustified.

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The debate about water use in California agriculture is stuck in a 30-year-old rut; relying on outdated and technically-flawed thinking that is slowing statewide efforts to meet 21st century challenges.

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Energy Water Graph

A new analysis from the Pacific Institute evaluates the water needs for different energy futures and identifies a growing risk of conflicts between electricity production and water availability in the U.S. Intermountain West.

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The remarkable president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen for their work on women’s rights. This award is rightful recognition of the commitment and dedication of these women to strengthening the rights and dignity of women in Africa, and around the world.

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Q&A: Dr. Peter Gleick on The World’s Water Volume 7

Peter Gleick, an internationally recognized water expert, tells Circle of Blue what has changed — and what has not — since the 2009 release of Volume 6. The Pacific Institute’s biannual report analyzes how water relates to climate change, corporate interests, and policy reform.

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