I ran across an old paper this morning by Vörösmarty and colleagues about the relative importance of increasing water demand vs. climate change over the next quarter century. Their conclusion is that human population growth etc. swamps any possible climate change effect. I’ve blogged about this before, but I was struck by this wonderful sentence fragment: “the socioeconomic equivalent of the Mauna Loa curve, namely, rapid population growth and economic development.” (link added by me)
Semi-OT, but I wanted to make sure you had seen this and in particular the graphic. I have a feeling it’ll come in handy.
Which is easier or more appropriate to stem, population growth (etc) or climate change?
In choosing which challenges to face, we cannot conclude our analysis when we know which causes the most harm. That’s the best start, but we must also consider where we have a chance at making in-roads. I don’t know the answer.
My feeling here in the southwest is that a recognition of the demand side of the equation offers much more room to move in terms of political and policy response. Not that we shouldn’t be thinking about both.