March 14, 2013

Sayonara, Phoenix?

I've said more than once that the best economic stimulus for the Desert Southwest, with it being ground zero on the housing bubble bursting, would have been to move a lot of recent transplants to the Midwest. Those from SoCal would have to move elsewhere than back to LA-LA-Land, too.

Why?

In a word?

The climate horror story that Phoenix likely will be by mid-century.

Less rain. More water demands.

Either Lake Mead or Lake Powell going functionally dry, and cutting both water availability and hydroelectric availability. (This is why SoCal transplants to Phoenix can't move back there, either.)

Nights that don't cool off below 100 degrees.

The growing heat island effect.

And, not mentioned in the story:

The feedback effect of more heat causing more A/C use, which then pumps more heat back outside. More car A/C use causing more carbon emissions, which besides global problems, further intensify the heat island. Ground subsidence from groundwater overpumping making the Valley of the Sun an even deeper valley, retaining more heat.

Get the U-Hauls.

I will disagree with one way with William deBuys, specifically his link to Rebecca Solnit.

I do NOT expect Disaster: Phoenix to end with a heaping helping of communitarianism. At least not among the libertarian-conservative white folks who are the better-heeled transplants, and natives.

They'll refuse to pay more for "low lifes" to do outside work with greater weather danger, first. (And yes, the soaring heat will definitely hit labor productivity.) Second, they'll start preying on each other. Libertarian types generally do that.

Beyond that, I think Solnit is kind of misty-eyed on this subject in general ... like disaster porn watched through a soft-focus filter.

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