In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said that water shortages resulting from worst case scenarios of climate change could eliminate agriculture in California and place its cities in jeopardy.
In a worst case, Chu said, up to 90% of the Sierra snowpack could disappear, all but eliminating a natural storage system for water vital to agriculture. “I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen,” he said. “We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California.” And, he added, “I don’t actually see how they can keep their cities going” either.
In the course of a half-hour interview, Chu made clear that he sees public education as a key part of the administration’s strategy to fight global warming—along with billions of dollars for alternative energy research and infrastructure, a national standard for electricity from renewable sources and cap-and-trade legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions.