Mar 17 2015

California, São Paulo, and Vanuatu: Casualties of Climate Change

GUEST: Janet Redman, director of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.

Social media accounts of Californians were abuzz over the weekend with the shocking news that a NASA scientist warned that the nation’s largest state had only one year’s worth of water left. Now in the fourth year of one of the most severe droughts in recent history, California has yet to adopt tough conservation measures. There’s a major blame game at play: vegans blame meat eaters, Bay area residents blame the water guzzling lawns of Southern Californians, factory farms and water intensive crops also get heaped major blame. In reality, what’s playing out in California is being replicated in other parts of the world.

Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, and in South America as a whole, has only enough water left through this June! In fact last August, authorities even temporarily turned off water supplies in some areas of the city. What Sao Paulo residents will do this June, and what Californians will do in a year is anyone’s guess at this point.

But one part of the world that got more than its fair share of water this week was the tiny Pacific nation of Vanuatu, a series of small islands. Tropical Cyclone Pam was one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the planet and has so far resulted in growing numbers of dead. Major portions of Vanuatu’s infrastructure have been severely damaged. One journalist described the damage as “quite apocalyptic…like a bomb has gone through.” While the reasons behind each of these three disasters are varied, one common thread is of course climate change.

To learn more about the Climate Policy Program, go to

One response so far

One Response to “California, São Paulo, and Vanuatu: Casualties of Climate Change”

  1. Bruce Mirkenon 17 Mar 2015 at 2:22 pm

    California is indeed in trouble do to climate change — but at least we’re doing something about it. Just as important, our efforts to clean the air and cut carbon emissions are bringing jobs and opportunities to communities that urgently need them. For more, see