Saturday, 11 June 2011

Portland prepares for millions of climate refugees from Las Vegas and Los Angeles

Soon to be the new home for Hollywood and the Las Vegas casinos?

Millions of desperate climate refugees from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver and other cities are expected to flee to Portland in the next decades, if we are to believe Kat West, director of the Multnomah County (incl. the city of Portland) Office of Sustainability:

Climate disruption will be the defining issue of this century and probably for centuries to come. No famine, no war, no plague, not even natural disasters will compare with the impacts of this event on human civilization.
University of Arizona studies indicate that if greenhouse gases continue to go unchecked, the overused Colorado River – which supplies municipal and agricultural water to seven western states – may be reduced to half of its current flow under a plausible worst-case scenario.
The great cities of Phoenix, Los Angeles and Las Vegas could start to empty out after desperate measures to import water from other areas (including ours) fails. And it’s not just the Southwest that will be impacted; the populations of Denver and Salt Lake City also will face serious water shortages.
Millions of displaced Americans could be on the move. They will not be the first climate refugees in the world, nor the last, but they certainly will be knocking on our door.
We really have only two choices: stamp our feet in frustration or seize this opportunity to prepare for these inevitable guests. If we choose opportunity, we need to start incorporating a revised population estimate into our planning scenarios immediately. We could be facing a population that tops 6 million people in the metro region in the not-too-distant future

Read the entire article here


It is, of course, quite OK for city and county officials anywhere to make plans for dealing with possible natural disasters and other unexpected events. But when a highly paid official describes the future in the way Ms. West does, at least a few taxpayers in Portland may begin to wonder, do we get value for our money?

Multnomah County, the most populous county in Oregon, including the city of Portland, employs 4500 people. The Office of Sustainability modestly describes itself in this way:

"Multnomah County, headquartered in Portland, OR, is a national leader in promoting sustainability"

Future climate refugees may want to contact the director:

Kat West
Director, Office of Sustainability

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