“Chuck,” I asked, “when do you think these fool Americans will begin to take global warming seriously?”
He and I are now in our mid-60s and we were both laboring in the heat on projects we loved: I was watering my many fig trees, and he was cleaning up an old car. He thought about my question for a few seconds and replied, “115in the shade.”
Looking around at the brown mess that used to be my grass and watching the leaves fall off the water-stressed poplars, I just hoped that a mere 11 degrees warmer would stir the masses. What that much more heat will do to the plants is too scary to dwell on.
But I suspect he is close to correct. “115 in the shade” would be so far from any semblance of normal that even those with their heads buried neck-deep in the sand of oil company platitudes would have to take notice and become too embarrassed to continue to spout the fossil-fuel mantras.
Why is this important? Because when climate change and global warming become an accepted possible future, the buyers of coastal and near-sea-level real estate value will disappear. This will cause the value of said property to collapse, and the U.S. will again be thrown into a condition where so much wealth is being lost that it will be very difficult, if not, impossible to keep the economy going. There will not have to be actual sea level rise to propel our belief in it, just a change in perception of the populace.
When will the rush to the exits among coastal real estate holders begin? One might speculate that it has already begun. The smart money won’t wait for “115 in the shade.”