In other drought news, there has been much publicity given to a study that says climate change is very likely to lead to multi-decadal megadroughts across a huge slab of America. (The country has actually suffered severe droughts in the mid West in the middle ages, but with higher temperatures the equivalent drought would only be worse.)As southeast Brazil grapples with its worst drought in nearly a century, a problem worsened by polluted rivers, deforestation and population growth, the largest reservoir system serving São Paulo is near depletion. Many residents are already enduring sporadic water cutoffs, some going days without it. Officials say that drastic rationing may be needed, with water service provided only two days a week.Behind closed doors, the views are grimmer. In a meeting recorded secretly and leaked to the local news media, Paulo Massato, a senior official at São Paulo’s water utility, said that residents might have to be warned to flee because “there’s not enough water, there won’t be water to bathe, to clean” homes.“We’re witnessing an unprecedented water crisis in one of the world’s great industrial cities,” said Marússia Whately, a water specialist at Instituto Socioambiental, a Brazilian environmental group. “Because of environmental degradation and political cowardice, millions of people in São Paulo are now wondering when the water will run out.”For some in this traffic-choked megacity of futuristic skyscrapers, gated communities and sprawling slums, the slow-burning crisis has already meant no running water for days on end.“Imagine going three days without any water and trying to run a business in a basic sanitary way,” said Maria da Fátima Ribeiro, 51, who owns a bar in Parque Alexandra, a gritty neighborhood on the edge of São Paulo’s metropolitan area. “This is Brazil, where human beings are treated worse than dogs by our own politicians.”
I wonder how the economists can factor in 30 - 40 years of agriculture destroying drought in America in the second half of the century to their estimates of GDP harm under climate change?