February 4, 2009

California Farming Might End Due To Climate Change

The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that the U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu warned climate change would wipe out California's farms by the end of the century by destroying snowpack that supplies vital water to the nation's top agriculture state.

Chu, a Noble Prize-winning physicist, said in his first interview since taking office last month that his home state would suffer some of the most devastating effects of global warming if the nation did not act to slow its advance.

"I don't think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen," Chu told the newspaper. "We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California.

"I don't actually see how they can keep their cities going," he added.

Chu is pivotal in President Obama's plan to fight climate change by promoting alternative, renewable energy and cutting use of fossil fuels that produce heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

In a worst case scenario, up to 90 percent of the Sierra snowpack could disappear, all but eliminating the natural storage system that feeds the valleys at the heart of the state's $35 billion farm industry, said Chu.  Over half of America's fruits, vegetables and nuts are supplied by California.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told California's farmers last week to prepare for a third straight year of drought due to low Sierra snow levels and some of the state's top farming counties may get little or no deliveries of water.