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Posts Tagged ‘drought’

Bigger, Hotter, and Longer Wildfires are the New Normal as the Climate Changes in the West

Climate change is a main driving force behind the huge uptick of dangerous wildfires the western U.S. has been experiencing during the last decade — and this year is no exception. In terms of total acreage burned, the eight worst wildfire seasons since 1960 have all occurred in the last 12 yearsRead More

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Drought Pits Big River against Big Ag

The ongoing Midwest drought has had many repercussions. They include the fact that the Mississippi River—sometimes called “The Big Muddy”—is muddier than usual this year, causing problems and massive anxiety about shipping on the river. Read More

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2013 Begins Without Respite from Drought

The latest map from the U.S. Drought Monitor and predictions from National Weather Service were released today. They show a grim picture of continuing drought for the foreseeable future for large swathes of the U.S. Read More

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Energy-Water Collisions Hit Washington’s Radar

This summer’s power plant water troubles have folks in Washington looking for answers on energy-water issues. Thank goodness. Read More

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A Less Thirsty Future Through Engineered Crops?

An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal sees a bright future for crops engineered for drought tolerance, water use efficiency, and other useful traits. The author, R. Paul Thompson, criticizes our recent report, “High and Dry,” for expressing too little faith in the ability of science and technology to make good on its unmet promises about genetic engineering. Read More

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Coping With Drought: How to Build a More Resilient Agricultural System

Although I live on the East Coast far from the current drought, I get periodic reports from the front lines from my sister, who lives with her husband in eastern Kansas on 70 acres of grass and woodland. When I visit them next week, I’ll see for myself the brown expanse of grass that used to be their lawn and the ever-lower water level in the catfish pond. They have harvested their hay field early and stored it to help feed their three horses, especially important now that local hay supplies are tight and prices are skyrocketing. Read More

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Biofuels Policy Flexible Enough to Weather the 2012 U.S. Drought

The drought parching the Midwest is raising serious questions about our agriculture and energy policies. Stocks of corn in storage were already low, and the intense dryness and heat means this year’s crop will be much smaller than was expected even a few months back. The share of the corn crop going to make ethanol has been rising, and was 40 percent last year, heightening tensions over how this year’s suddenly diminished harvest will be divvied up  (the principal uses are ethanol, animal feed, and exports). Read More

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Resilience to Drought Can be Improved…Within Limits

The terrible drought that is wringing the life out of crops over a large swath of the country, especially in the Midwest, has understandably been in the news. There have been warnings about rising food prices, and the cost to taxpayers for disaster relief to farmers and big insurance companies that are subsidized by the federal government. And as with rising energy prices in the past, rising food prices could be another unwanted burden on a fragile U.S. economy. Read More

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2012 U.S. Drought and Heat Expose Electricity Supply Risks

We all need water. So when supplies dry up in the scorching heat of a summer like this one, we all — households, cities, farmers, industry, wildlife — can feel the strain. Among water users, power plants are some of those most dependent on a reliable supply. And when they can’t get enough, the plants and their customers can get caught in the squeeze. Read More

Categories: Energy, Uncategorized  

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The Enormous Costs of the 2012 Drought to American Farmers and Taxpayers

We’re in the midst of an epic drought, the worst drought the country has experienced in the last half century. Twenty nine states across the West, Midwest and Great Plains are experiencing drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

This post is the first in a series on the 2012 Drought in America and highlights its far-reaching impacts on U.S. agriculture. Stay tuned in the coming days as UCS experts on climate science, economics, agriculture, energy and biofuels explore the wide-ranging implications of this historic event. Read More

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