"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Other Water Problem

The Sunday NYTimes has a fascinating feature article about climate change and water management in the southwest US. Other populated arid and semi-arid subtropical regions will face similar issues. It's not pretty.

1 comment:

Dano said...

I've relayed this story over at John Fleck's place, but worth repeating:

This past summer, I was invited as a semi-expert (B/C of my profession and what I'm working on now) to speak at a gathering of business leaders about the prospects for business in my part of the Front Range. I wasn't briefed well about who was attending, so I brought my standard presentation as default.

About 4-5 minutes into it, I got into reduced snowpack, streamflow, etc and lower reservoir storage and the difficulty land managers will face with increased population and reduced streamflow in the South Platte basin.

The conversation turned briefly to the equivalent of "Algore is fat!!", which was quickly slapped down (heartening), but several great questions about streamflow turned the mood somber.

When I was done, I was quickly hustled out of the venue. Noticing this, I asked the person who invited me what was the composition of the audience, and they were all high-powered owners of high water-use businesses.

The person who invited me never told me what I should say, so I said what I always say, which is bad for business on the Front Range, as the water situation will likely never get better.