Global warming has focused concern on land and sky as soaring temperatures intensify hurricanes, droughts and wildfires. But another climate crisis is unfolding, underfoot and out of view. Many of the aquifers that supply 90 percent of the nation’s water systems, and which have transformed vast stretches of America into some of the world’s most bountiful farmland, are being severely depleted. These declines are threatening irreversible harm to the American economy and society as a whole.
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As if the extreme heat, exceptionally heavy rainfall events, and out-of-control wildfires that characterize the summer of 2023 were not adequate signals that the climate is changing, in recent weeks a deadly bacterium found in warm seawater and in raw seafood has killed at least three people in New York and Connecticut, including a Brookhaven Town resident, and sickened at least one resident of East Hampton Town.
All over Maui, golf courses glisten emerald green, hotels manage to fill their pools and corporations stockpile water to sell to luxury estates. And yet, when it came time to fight the fires, some hoses ran dry. Why?
When images of the climate emergency’s impact are so visceral and so widespread, it is easy to neglect what we cannot see. The shocking photographs and video footage of wildfires in Hawaii and Greece, and floods in China, along with the terrible loss of life and testimony from those who fled, are beginning to bring home the contribution of global heating to such disasters – even if people, and especially businesses and governments, may be slow to accept the truth and even slower to act on it.
A growing population and rising temperatures will strain the world’s freshwater supplies over the next 30 years, jeopardizing available water for drinking, bathing and growing food, according to new research. An analysis of newly released data from the World Resources Institute (WRI) shows that by 2050 an additional billion people will be living in arid areas and regions with high water stress, where at least 40 percent of the renewable water supply is consumed each year. Two-fifths of the world’s population — 3.3 billion people in total — currently live in such areas.
Californians were preparing for another year of unrelenting drought in 2023. Instead, they got months of incessant rain and some of the heaviest snowfall they have ever seen. They feared blasts of spring warmth would quickly turn snow into floods, adding to the havoc from a series of winter storms. But, until recently, temperatures remained mercifully cool, allowing for a slow and steady melt.
EPA Proposes to Streamline Requirements for States and Tribes, Strengthen Co-Regulator Partnerships to Protect Nation’s Waters
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule that would streamline and clarify the requirements and steps necessary for states and Tribes to administer programs protecting waterways from discharges of dredged or fill material without a permit. The Clean Water Act envisions collaborative implementation between EPA and state and Tribal co-regulators to protect our nation’s waters that support public health, thriving ecosystems, business development, recreation, agriculture, and more. EPA’s proposal would address key barriers identified by states and Tribes to administering Clean Water Act section 404 while expanding opportunities for Tribes to meaningfully engage in permitting actions.
A megadrought has seared Arizona, stressing its rivers and reservoirs and reducing water to a trickle in the homes of farmworkers near this desert valley.
Record-breaking heat and pockets of drought are baking farmland across the country, threatening crop yields and squeezing out any remaining wiggle room to cope with more extreme weather this summer.
This month, a small group of diplomats is meeting to hash out a plan that could affect the future of nearly half of Earth’s surface — including regions containing metals that are vital for the energy transition, like nickel, copper, cobalt, and manganese.