NBC News’s story on drought conditions in the American Southwest actually mentions a number of cities, but Jeff Nesbit was particularly taken with the article’s description of Phoenix, Arizona, which it calls the “bull’s-eye of global warming.” The thing about global warming, though, is that it was to take into consideration the temperature of the entire planet; that’s why politicians’ bold ambitions are to keep the change in the earth’s temperature within two degrees Celsius. But it looks like Phoenix is the bull’s-eye.

Ben Kesslen writes:

Phoenix is the “bull’s-eye of global warming, heating up and drying out,” said Andrew Ross, a professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University and author of a book about Arizona’s largest city called “Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City.”

Before it was Phoenix, the Hohokam Indigenous people lived on the land for centuries. “They had a wonderful irrigation network system, and they subsisted in the desert with their canal network for more than a 1,000 years,” Ross said, but severe drought forced them to abandon the site. Phoenix is built atop the ruins of the Hohokam people’s city, and the canal system that brings water to Phoenix was built on the path first used by the Hohokam.

“The allegory is built into the city,” Ross said. The test is whether history repeats itself.

If it’s a case of history repeating itself, was it the widespread use of fossil fuels that killed off the Hohokam people’s city?

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