Monday, February 28, 2011

Water security and climate change

Water demand will 'outstrip supply by 40% within 20 years' due to climate change and population growth

A pair of denim jeans used up six tonnes, a kilogram of wheat one tonne, a kilogram of chicken three to four tonnes, and a kilogram of beef 15 to 30 tonnes.

'What people don't often realise is how much water there is in everything we make and buy, from T-shirts to wine,'
Read more

Climate Change is triggering water insecurity in the Greater Himalayan region, raising new sources of tension that may embroil India and China in future conflict. These emerging tensions need to be managed. There are also lessons for ASEAN.

Water Insecurity In Himalayas: Emerging Tensions And Lessons For ASEAN

Sunday, February 27, 2011

University of Cambridge: This Icy World

HT Colorado Bob over at Climate Progress

Repost: we need a new culture

Bill McGibben:
Step one involves actually talking about global warming. For years now, the accepted wisdom in the best green circles was: talk about anything else -- energy independence, oil security, beating the Chinese to renewable technology. I was at a session convened by the White House early in the Obama administration where some polling guru solemnly explained that "green jobs" polled better than "cutting carbon."

Step two, we have to ask for what we actually need, not what we calculate we might possibly be able to get. If we're going to slow global warming in the very short time available to us, then we don't actually need an incredibly complicated legislative scheme that gives door prizes to every interested industry and turns the whole operation over to Goldman Sachs to run. We need a stiff price on carbon, set by the scientific understanding that we can't still be burning black rocks a couple of decades hence. That undoubtedly means upending the future business plans of Exxon and BP, Peabody Coal and Duke Energy, not to speak of everyone else who's made a fortune by treating the atmosphere as an open sewer for the byproducts of their main business.

Instead they should pay through the nose for that sewer, and here's the crucial thing: most of the money raised in the process should be returned directly to American pockets. The monthly check sent to Americans would help fortify us against the rise in energy costs, and we'd still be getting the price signal at the pump to stop driving that SUV and start insulating the house. We also need to make real federal investments in energy research and development, to help drive down the price of alternatives -- the Breakthrough Institute points out, quite rightly, that we're crazy to spend more of our tax dollars on research into new drone aircraft and Mars orbiters than we do on photovoltaics.

Tomgram: Bill McKibben, A Wilted Senate on a Heating Planet

There are economic structures around all the things that we want to go away. Cut off the head of the monsters oil and coal and what happens? Lost jobs. Oil and coal jobs, distributions systems jobs, coal fired electric plant jobs, parts manufacture for coal fired electric plant jobs, and on and on and on. We just saw an economic structure collapse in the gulf due to the spill. Small stuff compared to the impact of suddenly making oil and coal noncompetitive via carbon price.

But lets say just for grins than some tax on carbon is imposed. Costs of energy go up, but the revenues from those taxes go back into your pocket, so you pay the higher costs... and it's almost a wash. So we haven't accomplished anything.

No, I think we need a sea change in our culture. Like the change that got nearly everyone off cigarettes. One that would make it taboo to drive a Humvee, eat beef, stuff like that.

We need to be a thinking part of the machine, not some brainless cog.

4 degrees hotter

4 degrees hotter (pdf)

From Global Climate Change

This comment over at Climate Progress open thread 'What are you doing now to prepare for climate impacts?'got stuck in moderation. Is it out of line?

Dogs will likely be more useful than guns… should it come to that.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jared Diamond on why societies collapse

Watch it again and again. This is from 2003.

Peter Schiff Was Right 2006 - 2007 (2nd Edition)

I will need the stock market to be reasonably healthy for the next couple of years to finance my move to a sustainable location... but

Amazingly correct predictions

So what's he saying now?

I don't totally agree with this guy. I think we need the government to spend money to keep us from going into a double dip recession... but in the long run, he is right.

Coral Reefs

Coral reefs report warns of mass loss threat

By 2050 virtually all of the world's coral reefs – from the waters of the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean to Australia – will be in danger, the report warns. The consequences – especially for countries such as the Philippines or Haiti which depend on the reefs for food – will be severe.

"These are dire results," said Lauretta Burke, a lead author of Reefs at Risk, a collaborative effort led by the World Resources Institute in Washington and 25 other research organisations.
But Lubchenco warned: "It will take a Herculean effort to reverse the current trajectory and leave a healthy ecosystem to our children and grandchildren."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Radio Ecoshock

Radio Ecoshock

Tons of good stuff!

Note the interview with Tim Garrett IS CLIMATE CHANGE UNSTOPPABLE?

HT Bob Lang over at Climate Progress

Climate Change and Health

This is jam packed with information, and it's remarkably current even though it's over 4 years old. Think on that... most stuff that old is still thinking gradual change.

Google Tech Talks
October 30, 2006

Paul Epstein

Climate change has multiple direct and indirect consequences for human health. Heat waves affect health directly and are projected to take an increasing toll in developed and underdeveloped nations. The 2003 summer heatwave in Europe -- an event six standard deviations from the mean -- led to 21-35,000 excess deaths in five nations, extensive wildfires, crop failures, nuclear plant shutdowns and melted 10% of the Alpine glacial mass. This event and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 demonstrate that climate change and its impacts may be surprisingly non-linear. Credits: Speaker:Paul Epstein

Health Impacts of Global Climate Change 2001 SOEH

10 years ago... and the weather gets weirder but we've done almost nothing!
Why would anybody believe we're going to save ourselves?


Droughts, Floods and FoodBy PAUL KRUGMAN

The usual suspects will, of course, go wild over suggestions that global warming has something to do with the food crisis; those who insist that Ben Bernanke has blood on his hands tend to be more or less the same people who insist that the scientific consensus on climate reflects a vast leftist conspiracy.

But the evidence does, in fact, suggest that what we’re getting now is a first taste of the disruption, economic and political, that we’ll face in a warming world. And given our failure to act on greenhouse gases, there will be much more, and much worse, to come

And now something to cheer you up

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Does Civilization Have a Promising Energy Future?

Steven Chu before he got tapped to be President Obama's Energy Secretary.

Two years have passed without much progress. It doesn't matter whether we can, it only matters whether we will.

Here's Obama two years ago:

Obama today? In his State of the Union Address he didn't even mention climate change :(.

Nuclear Power

So many anti nuclear folks think the waste from nuclear reactors is worse than CO2. How many radiation leaks would it take to wipe life off our planet?

NSIDC bombshell: Thawing permafrost feedback will turn Arctic from carbon sink to source in the 2020s, releasing 100 billion tons of carbon by 2100
Study underestimates impacts with conservative assumptions

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Future Of Climate Change

Earth's permafrost likely to disappear by 2200 due to global warming: study

Earth's permafrost likely to disappear by 2200 due to global warming: study

Using Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenarios and land-surface models for the study, the researchers ran multiple Arctic simulations assuming different rates of temperature increases to forecast how much carbon may be released globally from permafrost in the next two centuries.

After taking into account all of the permanently frozen ground at high latitudes around the globe, the researchers estimate a release of roughly 190 billion tons of carbon, most of it in the next 100 years
"The amount we expect to be released by permafrost is equivalent to half of the amount of carbon released since the dawn of the Industrial Age," said Schaefer.

Note: the IPCC was way too optimistic

Monday, February 14, 2011

Interview with Mark Hertsgaard

Author Mark Hertsgaard
Mon, Feb 7, 2011 -- 10:00 AM

"The Velocity of Climate Change" by Dr. Chris Field

GOP war on science

Republicans Gut EPA Climate Rules, Slash Deeply Into Climate Research, Aid and Technology Programs

House Republicans introduced spending legislation Friday that would strip U.S. EPA of its ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, gut the State Department's climate aid programs and slash funding for energy and climate research across the federal government

A bitter GOP-led hearing on EPA's climate regs highlights an intractable ideological division over whether CO2 rules will create jobs and prosperity
A bitter GOP-led hearing on EPA's climate regs highlights an intractable ideological division over whether CO2 rules will create jobs and prosperity

I have a hard time believing the sincerity of the deniers.

Dr James Hansen

Nothing really new here. Which is the point. Years have passed and we've yet to take real serious action to protect the planet and future generations from Climate Disruption.

The question and answer sessions are well worth the time.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Most viewed post

Self Provisioning she calls it... where we live in a culturenet and become individual contributers of real stuff to survive, instead of being a small cog in an uncaring machine in return for bits of green paper.

It's how I plan to spend my retirement, but I don't see the masses being able to make such a transition in time to save our bacon.

Juliet Schor: Plenitude from toddboyle on Vimeo.

Juliet Schor: Plenitude from toddboyle on Vimeo.

ht InKyDo at The Oil Drum

Saturday, February 12, 2011


China’s drought threatens global food security
China’s state media reported Feb 7 that the country’s major wheat producing provinces in the north were facing their worst drought in 60 years. It also reported Feb 8 that Shandong Province, a cornerstone of Chinese grain production, was bracing for its worst drought in 200 years unless substantial precipitation came by the end of Feb’11.

China bids to ease drought with $1bn emergency water aid
As the water spluttered on to his wheat field, farmer Liu Baojin expressed concern the support may have come too late. Despite the emergency well digging and partial compensation from the government, he fears he may have to seek work in the city if his harvest fails.

"I guess a third of my crops have already died," he said. "I'm very worried. I've never seen such a dry spell."

The problems are compounded by the growing water demands of cities and industry. On the outskirts of Sishui – which translates as Four Waters due to its historic abundance of rivers and sprints – villagers complain that they are not allowed to use the Si river that runs past their homes because the water is earmarked for the Huajin paper mill and an artificial lake in a nearby urban development.

"We can't use our own water. The local officials want to keep it so they can show a 'green face' to the big-shot leaders from Beijing," said a peanut and cotton farmer who gave the surname Liu. "We are very angry. But we are afraid to complain."

More than a month ago:

More recent:

Will warming worsen state water crisis?
The idea was to call attention to the potential effects of climate change on "ordinary Americans," said Frank Ackerman, a senior economist at the institute and director of its Climate Economics Group.
"It's not all about polar bears and things far away from you," Ackerman said. "It's not just about people who chose to live in Key West being hit by hurricanes. It's about ordinary Americans around the country starting to feel the effects of climate change."

Extreme weather, droughts and floods, impact food production resulting in reduced supply and higher prices.
And on and on and on...a domino effect

When the inevitable shortages and higher costs hit the average American, then, maybe, we will collectively force our government to act aggressively enough to forestall the worst of what's to come.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

You can't fool mother nature

And if Republicans want to gloss over the scientific evidence, there's not much Democrats can do about it. Representative Bobby Rush, of Illinois lamented that no actual scientists had been invited to the hearing; Republicans had mainly summoned industry representatives to complain about the costs of carbon rules. And, in his own opening statement, an exasperated Representative Henry Waxman of California tried to warn his fellow Republicans, "You do not have the power to rewrite the laws of nature." Maybe so. But now that they have a majority in the House, Republicans certainly have the power to ignore nature.
New Republic: The Wilting Climate Change Debate

Oh, no, they can't... not in the long run.
It may be this year, or it may take a decade, but these guys will eat their words.

Nature's laws affirm instead of prohibit. If you violate her laws you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and hangman. ~Luther Burbank

There's more

It won't be cheap to prepare prudently for a future in which oil prices are sky-high and the weather routinely devastating. But if Republicans have their way, we are all too likely to find out just how much more expensive it will be to do nothing.

Stupid Republican budget tricks

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Food Security and Climate Change

This is from 2009.

Peter Ward- climate change etc.

Plastic again

HT Jonathan Kim at Huffpo
ReThink Review: Plastic Planet -- Life in the Plastic Age

It is impossible to avoid using plastics. But we can stop buying water by the bottle!

Climate puts infrastructure in peril

The British government must work quickly to make sure the country's infrastructure can withstand the environmental stress from climate change, engineers said.

Read more:

Climate puts infrastructure in peril

This from the UK, but it applies globally.

What if extreme weather rendered highways and railways incapable of delivering food or fuel?

Expect high gas prices

The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom's crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.
Jeremy Leggett, convenor of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security, said: "We are asleep at the wheel here: choosing to ignore a threat to the global economy that is quite as bad as the credit crunch, quite possibly worse."

WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices

'60 Minutes' video: Schwarzenegger's green challenge

A couple years old.

I was surprised how many '60 minutes' had segments on climate change!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Unconventional Wisdom

Humankind is in a box. For the 2.7 billion people now living on less than $2 a day, economic growth is essential to satisfying the most basic requirements of human dignity. And in much wealthier societies, people need growth to pay off their debts, support liberty, and maintain civil peace. To produce and sustain this growth, they must expend vast amounts of energy. Yet our best energy source -- fossil fuel -- is the main thing contributing to climate change, and climate change, if unchecked, will halt growth.

We can't live with growth, and we can't live without it. This contradiction is humankind's biggest challenge this century, but as long as conventional wisdom holds that growth can continue forever, it's a challenge we can't possibly address.


Extreme weather

No embed:


Monday, February 7, 2011

Asia-Pacific at risk from climate migration

Asia-Pacific at risk from climate migration: report
Governments in the Asia-Pacific region face the risk of unprecedented numbers of people displaced by floods, storms and other impacts of climate change, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a report on Monday.
The report highlights Asia's booming megacities as being particularly vulnerable to disasters, such as floods, rising seas and cyclones.

"Megacities will often lack the carrying capacity to accommodate the influx of climate migrants on top of those moving for other reasons," said the report, adding that massive influxes of migrants could lead to conflict over resources.

Asia-Pacific at risk from climate migration

A new term for me: Climate Migration

Paul Krugman tells it like it is.

So what’s behind the price spike? American right-wingers (and the Chinese) blame easy-money policies at the Federal Reserve, with at least one commentator declaring that there is “blood on Bernanke’s hands.” Meanwhile, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France blames speculators, accusing them of “extortion and pillaging.”

But the evidence tells a different, much more ominous story. While several factors have contributed to soaring food prices, what really stands out is the extent to which severe weather events have disrupted agricultural production. And these severe weather events are exactly the kind of thing we’d expect to see as rising concentrations of greenhouse gases change our climate — which means that the current food price surge may be just the beginning.

Droughts, Floods and Food

Friday, February 4, 2011

More on peak fish: Sylvia Earle

Peak Fish

The conflict between increasing demand for fish and failing fisheries has enormous implications for world food security and the state of our oceans, lakes and rivers, stated the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Failing fisheries and increased demand damaging food security: WWF

Amazon Rainforest Droughts

CO2 Fears After Amazon Rainforest Droughts

Researchers calculate that millions of trees died in 2010, which means the Amazon is soaking up much less CO2 from the atmosphere, and those dead trees will now release all the carbon they've accumulated over 300 or more years.

The widespread 2010 drought follows a similar drought in 2005 which itself will put an additional five billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, Simon Lewis of University of Leeds in the UK and colleagues calculate in a study published Thursday in Science. The United States emitted 5.4 billion tonnes of CO2 from fossil fuel use in 2009.

The two droughts will end up adding an estimated 13 billion tonnes of additional CO2 - equivalent to combined emissions in 2009 from China and the U.S. - and likely accelerating global warming.

"New growth in the region will not offset those releases," Lewis told IPS.
Amazon Drought Accelerating Climate Change

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Long Emergency

Orion Online interview with JH Kunstler on the future of America in the post-oil world.

Kunstler is a bit of a pessimist

A taste of things to come

(Reuters) - World food prices hit a record in January and recent catastrophic weather around the globe could put yet more pressure on the cost of food, an issue that has already helped spark protests across the Middle East.

Up for the seventh month in a row, the closely watched Food and Agriculture Oganisation Food Price Index on Thursday touched its highest since records began in 1990, and topped the peak of 224.1 in June 2008, during the food crisis of 2007/08.

Food costs at records, no let up on prices: FAO

Yes, climate change is a security issue, both for people who eat, and governments around the globe.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


These folks must be deep in the thralls of the fossil fuel industry... or suffering mightily from cognitive dissonance.

Climate Progress tells the entire story so very very well

Have a laugh over at Climate Progress
Republicans vote to repeal Obama-backed bill that would destroy asteroid headed for Earth

Michio Kaku on CBS

I really like the guy, but it's La Nina, not El Nina...

More from Dr. Kaku on Energies of the Future