Posted by | August 14, 2012 18:58 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

The nation’s farmers are suffering through a drought that will lead to higher food prices for several years. But pretty soon, this may seem like the good old days.

These climate-model projections suggest that what we consider today to be an episode of severe drought might even be classified as a period of abnormal wetness by the end of the century and that a coming megadrought – a prolonged, multidecade period of significantly below-average precipitation – is possible and likely in the American West.

The current drought plaguing the country is worryingly consistent with these expectations. Although we do not attribute any single event to global warming, the severity of both the turn-of-the-century drought and the current one is consistent with simulations accounting for warming from increased greenhouse gases.

I continue to preach for reducing carbon emissions and doing what we can to limit climate change. But because we have waited so long, we also need to start planning for the consequences.

By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.