Epic American drought gets worse in key farm states, after hottest month on record

This does not bode well for food prices: the Plains states where corn and soybeans are produced in greatest quantities are receiving the worst of excessive drought conditions, in the wake of the hottest month ever recorded in the US. Welcome to the new Dust Bowl?


  1. You know all the climate skeptic douchebags who, when cornered by the facts, cheerily spout some face-saving hand-waving Panglossian drivel like “Maybe a warmer Earth will be more hospitable to humanity! Think of the longer growing seasons!” ?

    Well . . . here’s what the reality looks like. Maybe the folks in northern Alberta will eke out a second crop, but down here we’re fucked. Persistent drought, violent storms, and reduced snow pack in the mountains . . . meaning that river levels will be lower.

    We might have instituted policies to limit the damage if it weren’t for the fossil fuel lobby, the free trade ideologues, and their unquestioning cadre of unpaid cheerleading nincompoops.

    Now, I suppose, the jackasses will adopt a “No one could have predicted . . . this is not the time to point fingers” mode, and address the problem by giving tax breaks to golf course owners so they continue to create jobs in the vital caddy and water hazard maintenance industry.

    1.  I understand your point of view. I personally feel that polluters and denialists should be crucified in the Mojave desert, but let’s be honest. That won’t happen. Talking about it just makes everyone more tense, and doesn’t really solve problems. The question is, how will we adapt, and repair?

      1. By ending our status as food exporters and shrugging our shoulders as starvation afflicts various nations, for starters.

        1. I meant in terms of environmental restoration. I’m sure that starvation will happen eventually, and not just in other nations. What about soil restoration or carbon sequestration?

          1. Sequestration, along with emission reduction, are the two measures right wingers try to block when they divert attention to “adaptation.” At which point I tend to get nasty, since to me that means “adapt to being a poorer nation, without a breadbasket region, and a less powerful nation, since we no longer feed the world.”

        2. That’s all well and good just as long as you keep in mind that the decades of US ag subsidies that allowed the US to export all that cheap product was the exact reason that these places no longer can afford to grow their own staples. And hence why they might starve now.

          So it was not out of benevolence that the US “feeds” the world, it’s out of greed and short-sighted stupidity that the US wrecked many a nation’s ability to feed themselves. Now this policy will come back to bite the US in it’s giant fat ass. Sadly, there will be no nutritional value in that bite.

          But by all means shrug those shoulders buddy. Shrug shrug shrug the starvation away.

          1.  @IRMO Okay…. so maybe that’s a little ambiguous to me but I’m going to take it as you don’t like the idea of being in a poorer nation that is less powerful (than it currently is)?

            First off, ‘whahhh’ never solved any of the world’s problems and it holds no water here (for me anyway). Secondly, using food as a weapon to exert control over sovereign nations is pretty low, especially considering that the US is responsible for about 40% of global consumption.

            However, if the part where you get nasty about is the cognitive dissonance about right wingers being dismissive about the issue by suggesting that the US go further against the right’s normally espoused ideas(less power and control globally) then… I just don’t know. Your response doesn’t seem to make sense that way. Yes they are idiots and they typically do not know a damn thing about what they are talking about but just blindly blather on as if Dog will sort it all out for them. I agree, I get a little nasty in circular conversations too. But I still don’t really think that is what you meant.

            I tried to parse that but I have failed. And reverting to the interpretation that makes more sense… so what are you doing about it? Walking more? Buying local, or better yet growing your own? And as I stated before, the US doesn’t “feed” the world. They sell pop, cheese-burgers and extra fries. White bleached sub-nutritious wheat and chemical laden condiments. Terminator tomatoes and GMOd up junk that is only compatible with a petro-base fertilizer/pesticide that can only be obtained for one source. And a whole bunch of jingoistic bullshit to go along with the worthless food-like-junk that the US exports.

            And at the end of the day, no offense intended. I just found it hard to interpret your comments in a manner that seemed rational to me. Hence the scolding tone. If I’m off base feel free to clarify things for me. If I am right then you may indeed have to get used to living the life of a poor(er) person with less access to food than normal.

            Pro-tip: half of the world deals with poverty as their normal situation. And it’s getting worse. Could you live off of $2.50 a day? Think about that for a minute.

      2. I sure as hell don’t have all the answers. The first step is to stop being stupid, and to stop letting ideologues and vested interests dictate policy.

        But here are some obvious ideas:

        Great big public works projects in the Rockies and the Southwest, to deal with floods and store rainwater. Put another way . . . giant reservoirs to do what melting snowpack used to do for free.

        Revamp water rights and laws to favor conservation. Abandon agriculture in those parts of the SW where it will no longer be tenable.

        Rebuild coastal wetlands along the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts, so they can play their natural role in buffering storms.

    2.  And here’s the deal, Stefan. The Earth is warming and we can’t stop it. Kyoto protocol? Who cares. According to NASA, even if ALL CO2 emissions completely ceased at this very moment, the Earth would continue to warm for the next 100 years just due to the emissions that we’ve already put out there. And there’s no way that we can ever possibly cease emissions; we have trouble just reducing the annual ~growth~ of emissions.

      So enjoy your new reality, because we’re all stuck with it, regardless of how green we become. It really doesn’t matter how many hybrid vehicles you convince people to buy or how much green energy you subsidize, we’re stuck with the new reality. It’s time to get used to it.

      1. This is equivocation. There will be some warming, but nobody like NASA has ever said we should stop worrying about the degree of warming.

        Yes, reducing things has become all but impossible thanks to people who will make up any excuse not to; but then saying “not enough people care to try, so we shouldn’t waste time trying” is just one more of those excuses. Denialists adopted that a long time ago, even while working hard to stall any chance of reductions.

        “Get used to it” always sounds so realist, and yet every problem ever ended is because someone didn’t. Or, to give a quote:

        The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
        – George Bernard Shaw

    3.  wow, great rant. I read coming out of Lewis Black’s mouth. :) Well done! (Honest. I’m not being a smart-aleck)

  2. If you look at a nation-wide map you’ll notice that the incidence of natural disasters (tornados, hurricanes, drought, flood, etc) goes up in proportion to the number of Chik fil A restaurants in any given state. It would seem that we really do “invite God’s judgment when we shake our fist at him” – it just turns out that bigotry and hate are actually what pisses God off, not gay marriage.

  3. It’s actually *great* for food prices in the short term. Assuming the food in question is the beef that’s going to be coming on the market as ranchers slaughter all those cattle they can’t afford to feed.

  4. Within ten years it will definitely be into the realm of ‘anyone pointing fingers is just living in the past’ denialism.  Barring overturning some key rulings like Citizens United, there just won’t be accountability for the planet-fucking that has been perpetrated by the denialists and their political enablers/appendages.

    I really don’t know what to do on a global scale.  I always vote for conservationist parties, am a member of same (in Canada).  Yet my country has repeatedly elected the political wing of the oil industry to power federally and in more than one province. 

    The trouble with well-funded psychopathic organizations is that they are well-funded psychopathic organizations.  They have the power, desire and resources to hack any democratic system – not just subverting politicians, which is basically child’s play.  They are also able to distort public perceptions and debate to a point where they can attach passionate irrelevancies to the issues that actually matter, and create enough confusion to just carry on with their own agendas.

    Every day we argue about climate change, mitigation, evidence etc. is just another win for these motherfuckers as they continue fucking the planet.  Sigh.   

  5. I still find it ironic we will drill a mile or more into the earth pump out crude oil, ship it half way around the planet, refine it, pump it through a thousand miles of piping all so we can drive around town.  Yet the idea of pumping clean water around seems insane…(and I mean pumping it nationwide, not just to certain areas.)
    This is not an anti-big oil rant, just pointing out how we prioritize our technological uses.

    1. Good point. 
      But there’s nothing wrong with anti-big oil rants. 
      There really aren’t enough of them. 

      Water gets filled into bottles in the French Alps or Fiji and then shipped half around the planet.  You get it at most gas stations. 
      Have we reached peak water yet?   

  6. Ah, this is kid stuff.  Wait until all of the rice crops fail.  Rice requires at least a few over-night temperatures of 19.5 C or less during the growing season or yields start to fall exponentially.  As the standard deviation in temperatures continues to fall this criterion isn’t going to be met.  Let the giga-deaths begin!

    In the meantime we can enjoy the enjoy the following on-going jokes in just about every single thread on climate thread.  

    “We can’t do anything about the environment because that will hurt the economy.” – since the “economy” only exists in the memory-banks of Wall Street computers and has  no relationship with the off-line world.

    and (my favourite): “Temperatures aren’t going up – that’s just an artefact of the ‘Urban Islands of Warming’ in the data.”  A canard completely disproved about 30 years ago but astro-turfed everywhere courtesy of the millions spent on these lies by the coal companies.

    1. When talking to people who don’t believe in global warming (especially other Americans) I always like to point out that at one time in history the midwest was nothing but snow and ice.  All of it, all year long.  Kind of hard to grow stuff when you can’t even find the ground.  They usually get all bitter and take the “discussion” in a different direction.

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