The weather, currently.
As a follow up to our reporting earlier this week, the US Bureau of Reclamation on Tuesday released revised water allotments for states along the lower Colorado River — putting in place a 21 percent reduction in Arizona’s water supply starting on January 1, 2023.
As drastic as that sounds, the reductions are not as severe as close observers of the western drought had feared and will do little to reverse the growing shortage that affects 37 million people across the Southwest US and Northwest Mexico. In fact, according to Luke Runyon of Colorado Public Radio, these cuts had been telegraphed as far back as 2007 — no additional cuts were ordered at all.
“No federal hammer was dropped,” wrote Runyon in response to Tuesday’s cuts. “The cutbacks announced [Tuesday] are spelled out in *existing* agreements. This isn't new conservation. This is what's already on the books.”
Meanwhile, if the drought worsens in the near-term, Runyon cites the USBR’s own data showing “there's a plausible chance Lake Powell will be within five feet of losing hydropower within the next 9 months.”
The resulting situation is a continued acceleration *toward*, not away from, the West’s Day Zero moment where water and electricity will no longer be available on demand for farms, cities, and tribes that have grown to depend on it.
— Eric Holthaus
What you need to know, currently.
President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law today — the administration’s most aggressive attempt to combat climate change thus far. This is historic, as it is the most significant climate bill in U.S. history.
“For a while people doubted whether any of that was going to happen, but we are in a season of substance,” Biden told the assembled audience. Sure!
The bill is significantly smaller than what the Biden Administration initially envisioned, but it’s still forecast to reduce emissions 40 percent by the end of the decade — a meaningful victory for climate activists in an otherwise grim legislative environment.