Saudi Summer

Michael H. Glantz
16 January 2001

A large portion of the oil that fuels the US economy comes from Saudi Arabia. We burn that oil, along with other fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas, to run our industrialized economy. Burning the oil, coal and gas releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in ever-increasing amounts, as a result of population- and industry-driven demand in the USA.

Carbon dioxide (along with the Chlorofluorocarbons, nitrous oxides and methane) is a greenhouse gas. Increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide have been identified by hundreds of scientists from around the globe (representing industrialized as well as developing economies) as a major contributor to the warming up of the Earth's atmosphere in the 1900s and especially in the 1990s. As many international scientific reports, such as that produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC), have suggested with increasing confidence, the atmosphere has gotten warmer as a result of fossil fuel burning and other human activities. They say that, unless there is a sharp reduction in fossil fuel use worldwide and especially in the rich industrialized countries, the human-induced warming of the global atmosphere will continue to increase.

That warming will most likely result in major changes of local and regional climates (precipitation, temperatures, fire hazard, altered growing seasons, etc.), climates to which societies had become accustomed in the past century. Researchers say that nights will be warmer, extreme climate and weather events will become more frequent, more intense and are more than likely to appear in new locations. Inhabitants of island countries around the globe are worried about being inundated from heightened storm surges as a result of sea level rise of up to a meter by the end of this century.

Some governments take the global warming issue very seriously. Others are undecided. Still others seem not to care at all. Recently, the President of the US, G.W. Bush, pulled the US representatives out of the negotiation process for the Kyoto Protocol. He announced to the world in March 2001 that the protocol was 'dead', as far as he (and, therefore, the US) was concerned. What then are people to do?

I suggest that national government leaders in the US, including the president and his extended family, spend their lengthy summer vacations, not in Crawford, Texas, but in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Why Saudi Arabia? The summertime temperatures constantly exceed 110 deg F, day after day after day. Water is a scarce commodity but desalinization of seawater has been made possible by the revenues gained from oil exports to the US and elsewhere.

This would be a useful experience, because it would give our politicians a true feeling for what summers in the US will be like later in the century. With global warming, a Saudi-summer would become a standard summertime climate feature in much of North America. The Saudi-like summers would occur in time for our children and our children's children to figure how to survive in such a harsh, hot-temperature climate.

Is this really what Americans want for their future generations? I don't think so. Politicians must start to think well beyond their next election if they have any desire at all to protect future generations of Americans from having to cope with Saudi summers year after year after year, and well into the future.

 

Saudi Statistics & Facts:

  • Climate:
    harsh, dry desert with great extremes of temperature. From June through August, midday temperature in the desert can soar to over 100 deg. F.

  • Terrain:
    mostly uninhabited, sandy desert
  • Land use:
    arable land: 1%
    permanent crops: 0%
  • Environment:
    • current issues:
      desertification; depletion of underground water resources; the lack of perennial rivers or permanent water bodies has prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills
    • natural hazards:
      frequent sand and dust storms

CRAWFORD, Texas

Downtown Crawford

A Crawford ranch

Crawford Statistics & Facts:

The population of Crawford is approximately 631.
The approximate number of families is 267.
The amount of land area in Crawford is 1.623 sq. kilometers.
The amount of surface water is 0 sq kilometers.
The distance from Crawford to Washington DC is 1295 miles.
The distance to the Texas state capital is 86 miles. (as the crow flies)

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