The Future American Migration
We now see large annual forest fires in the dry American West caused by drought and massive flooding in the southeast caused by torrential rains. Often, the intensity and amount of rain produced (or lack of rain) has exceeded the 100- or the 500-year probabilities they might occur, and in some cases, the 1,000-year probability. In Louisiana this year, intense rainfall caused flooding beyond the 100-year floodplain on multiple occasions.
Will this cause a future American migration?
All but the foolish have accepted that our climate is in transition. Global Warming is also known as Climate Change because some areas of the globe will get warmer and others colder; some wetter and some drier, but the net future balance will be a warmer Earth.
The changes are exacerbated by the global burning of fossil fuels, population growth, and deforestation. Science has spent many years confirming the reality of climate change; now it is time to study specific effects of climate change.
Climate scientists agree that climate change “may cause social disruption, economic decline, and displacement of populations” (IPCC, 2015).
The Question Is…
The large question remains: How will governments and society cope with this change?
To begin, given environmental antagonism against modern nuclear energy, America, and other developed countries simply will not be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions quickly enough to lessen the social disruption caused by rising sea level and changing climate.
The climate change horse is out of the barn, so to speak, and we will not be able to put it back in. According to scientists at the University of Melbourne, climate change was obvious as early as the 1930s.
Holy Grail of Renewable Technology
Solar energy has enormous potential, especially in rural areas. Wind installations are nearly doubling every year. However, battery technology on a grid scale just does not exist yet.
Battery storage is the Holy Grail of renewable technology. Without sufficient energy storage, fossil fuel, especially natural gas must be ready on-demand to compensate widely-variable changes renewable output. Additionally, the political will and economic incentives do not exist to build out renewables fast enough to power large cities having the bulk of our populations.
About one-third of our States rely on fossil fuels as a sizable part of their economic profile, and our guess is their politicians don’t want their economies to fail by cutting back on fossil fuels without a clear alternative path to continual economic success.
Climate change will continue to affect us in ways we cannot readily predict for the foreseeable future.
The insurance industry is a bell-weather of America’s economy.
Before homeowners and federal flood insurance, local communities handled natural disasters themselves. People would either find a way to rebuild with what resources they could manage, or disperse and move to other places.
Property insurance is now required to buy a business or a home and the cost of flood and fire losses this year will be enormous. Insurance is a business with a profit and loss sheet. To maintain profitability, insurance carriers will be forced to increase underwriting premiums in high loss areas.
Redefining High-hazard Areas
Moreover, FEMA is revamping flood maps to redefine the 100-year floodplain. Many homeowners find themselves located within the FEMA “high hazard” zone and are forced to pay high rates for flood insurance. The time may come that more and more regions of the country will not be able to get insurance, or insurance premiums will be so high that they cannot be sustained.
Alternatively, people may get tired of frequently rebuilding their properties and businesses should this year’s weather be the norm of the future, or even happen only once every ten years.
Future American Migration
Climate scientists and sociologists think America will see human migration across the breadth of our country from the southern and eastern seaboard regions having an intolerable climate, to the more northern temperate areas.
The great challenge will be how to handle this future American migration to provide economic opportunities, maintain decent environmental conditions, and prevent social disruption if the pace of migration becomes too large, as well as to maintaining economic strength in the States that will lose large portions of their population.
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