finding 23.1 : key-message-23-1

Quality of life in the region will be compromised as increasing population, the migration of individuals from rural to urban locations, and a changing climate redistribute demand at the intersection of food consumption, energy production, and water resources (likely, high confidence). A growing number of adaptation strategies, improved climate services, and early warning decision support systems will more effectively manage the complex regional, national, and transnational issues associated with food, energy, and water (likely, high confidence).

This finding is from chapter 23 of Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II.

Process for developing key messages:

The initial Southern Great Plains author team was selected such that expertise from each of the states’ officially recognized climate offices in the region (Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas) were included. The offices of the state climatologist in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are each members of the American Association of State Climatologists, which is the recognized professional scientific organization for climate expertise at the state level.

One representative from each of several regional hubs of national and regional climate expertise was included on the author team. These regional hubs include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Southern Plains Climate Hub (El Reno, Oklahoma), the U.S. Department of the Interior’s South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (Norman, Oklahoma), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (Norman, Oklahoma).

After assessing the areas of expertise of the six authors selected from the state and regional centers, a gap analysis was conducted to prioritize areas of expertise that were missing. Due to the importance of the sovereign tribal nations to the Southern Great Plains, an accomplished scholar with expertise in Indigenous knowledge on the environment and climate change was selected from the premier tribal university in the United States, Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. An individual from the Environmental Science Institute at the University of Texas at Austin was selected to bring expertise on the complex intersection of coupled atmosphere–land–ocean systems, climate, and humans (population and urbanization). Expertise in the electric utility industry was gained through the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives by an individual with a long history of working with rural and urban populations and with researchers and forecasters in weather and climate.

The author group decided to allow Southern Great Plains stakeholders to drive additional priorities. On March 2, 2017, the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) Southern Great Plains chapter team held a Regional Engagement Workshop at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma, with a satellite location in Austin, Texas, that allowed a number of stakeholders to participate virtually. The objective of the workshop was to gather input from a diverse array of stakeholders throughout the Southern Great Plains to help inform the writing and development of the report and to raise awareness of the process and timeline for NCA4. Stakeholders from meteorology, climatology, tribes, agriculture, electric utilities, water resources, Bureau of Land Management, ecosystems, landscape cooperatives, and transportation from Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas were represented. The productive dialog at this workshop identified important gaps in environmental economics, ecosystems, and health. Scientists working at the cutting edge of research in these three areas were selected: an ecosystems expert from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, an environmental economist from the department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma, and health experts from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Aspen Global Change Institute.

This diverse collection of medical doctors, academics, researchers, scientists, and practitioners from both federal and state agencies gives the Southern Great Plains chapter a wealth of expertise across the many ways in which climate change will affect people in the region.

Description of evidence base:

The connection between food, water, and energy also creates great challenges in the management and distribution of resources. People need food, energy, and water, yet all sectors pull from each other and allocation is a challenge. There are many studies focused on the competitive nature revolving around these resources and the demand by people.10b9c70e-cabf-44c8-87e7-7905e1fa1e67,8a4477fb-8bb9-4b37-8c31-3307f22d84c4,5e378736-3284-421f-84dc-f588967c9e90,f94be101-daad-4c14-9a81-81dc9e8c71c0,7bffd1c8-90d7-46d7-9d4e-60c41ab5c452,9eca5eb3-67a3-4564-b209-115cfc35c384,529498e6-9a0d-44a1-9819-94500a91e1c3,33d7ce02-0761-449a-a82b-28c9ae5f1eaa The management and application of these issues are social in context and require significant communication and collaboration to resolve. As demands for these resources become more acute, development of collaborative processes to ensure integrated use and allocation may be required.

New information and remaining uncertainties:

Research into the intersection of food, energy, and water is in its early stages and historically tends to examine only one or two components.8a4477fb-8bb9-4b37-8c31-3307f22d84c4,5e378736-3284-421f-84dc-f588967c9e90,f94be101-daad-4c14-9a81-81dc9e8c71c0,7bffd1c8-90d7-46d7-9d4e-60c41ab5c452,9eca5eb3-67a3-4564-b209-115cfc35c384,529498e6-9a0d-44a1-9819-94500a91e1c3,33d7ce02-0761-449a-a82b-28c9ae5f1eaa It is clear that tradeoffs and cascading complexities exist between sectors, and changes in one sector are likely to propagate through the entire system. There are significant gaps in the scientific understanding regarding the role that climate change will play as a disruptive force and a threat to food, energy, and water security.5e378736-3284-421f-84dc-f588967c9e90,9eca5eb3-67a3-4564-b209-115cfc35c384,87f372f9-cd4a-4764-9495-8245a86700df,e10a0595-486e-43e0-813d-7e9aa1852dc3,cab7314b-94fb-4c64-9b32-f1d71ac8f6a2 It is likely, and with significant certainty, that the competition for and use of the resources by people will continue; however, the likelihood of developing a means to manage this situation is challenging. The added complexities of people and cultures, a rapidly growing population (see next section), and the diminishing availability of resources (water especially) in this region will be an important future research topic.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence:

The Southern Great Plains will continue to grow rapidly and with high probability of significant competition. Water is the major concern, and political inability to develop a system to allocate water in an equitable manner will continue to build this competitive and contentious issue among all users—energy, food, and water. Quality of life in the region will be compromised as population increases. At least 60% of the region’s population is clustered around urban centers currently, but these population centers are experiencing growth that far exceeds that of rural communities. The remaining population is distributed across vast areas of rural land.bf19cfe7-2575-48e2-8d26-b0081117369a,16484d98-8820-4c15-941b-c4d6cc4ed9af,584f24fc-38cb-4ffe-bc88-7f5f6c7a0e48,cd2583fe-45fb-4cb7-8b5b-d2a93561bd25,6588b083-6d89-4112-8bb9-3635fbb17d3c Therefore, the migration of individuals from rural to urban locations, combined with climate change, redistributes demand at the intersection of food consumption, energy production, and water resources. (Likely, High confidence

A growing number of adaptation strategies, improved climate services, and early warning decision support systems will more effectively manage the complex regional, national, and transnational issues associated with food, energy, and water. Since a changing climate has significant negative impacts on agriculture in the United States and causes substantial economic costs,76db17ce-354b-4f0c-ad10-3e701c0387fc the effects of drought and other occurrences of extreme weather outside the region will also affect the food–energy–water interconnections within the region. (Likely, High confidence)

This finding was derived from scenario rcp_4_5
This finding was derived from scenario rcp_8_5

References :

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