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and there were lean years - don’t
worry folks, there is no global warming, just unfortunate coincidences on a
“Desertification could drive tens of millions of people from
their homes, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and central Asia, a UN study
warned on Thursday.
“People displaced by desertification put new strains on natural
resources and on other societies nearby and threaten international instability,
the 46-page study by the UN University showed.” [Quoted from planetark.org]
“Drought in China's northeast, the country's top corn and soybean
region, is likely to last for another week at least and could seriously
undermine grains production, agricultural officials said on Wednesday.”
[Quoted from planetark.org]
Lightning has killed 42 in China during the last couple of days.
“Severe flooding in China has left at least 128 people dead
and 24 missing, with direct economic losses passing the $1-billion (about
R7,2-billion) mark, state media reported Sunday.
“Xinhua News Agency said the hardest-hit areas have been in southern
China, including Guangdong province, the export powerhouse next to Hong
“Most of the economic losses of $1,17-billion were in agriculture,
“China is frequently hit by natural disasters. The agency said
that while there is flooding in the south, the northern part of the
country is experiencing a drought.
“It said the drought has left 11 million people short of drinking
“Cheng Dianlong, the deputy head of the Office of the State Flood
control and Drought Relief Headquarters, was quoted as saying the drought
in northern China would continue or worsen due to high temperatures
and a lack of rain." [Quoted from iol.co.za]
“A heatwave that has killed more than 30 people in parts of southeast
Europe has hit wildlife and crops, from the humble toad in Greek lagoons
to grain across the region, while fruit is ripening weeks early in Italy.
“Greece is experiencing its worst heatwave in 110 years that
has already killed seven people, with temperatures reaching 46 Celsius
(114.8 Fahrenheit) during a scorcher that has lasted five days and showed
no signs on Wednesday of letting up.
“In southern Italy, after the hottest spring in nearly two centuries,
this year's harvest of grapes and other fruit and vegetables is expected
to be as much as a month earlier than usual, at the beginning of August.
“The heat is "literally cooking" Sicilian lemons on
the trees, said farmers' group Coldiretti, while watermelons, peppers,
courgettes, peaches and tomatoes are also at risk.”
Meanwhile Texas, the UK and many other places are undergoing unusual
Texas had 16 inches of rain in one day.
“In Pakistan, provincial relief commissioner Khubah Bakhsh estimated
that some 200,000 houses had been destroyed or damaged. More than 800,000
people have been affected by the floods from heavy rains and overflowing
rivers and dams, he said.”
“ Severe floods have also ravaged four eastern provinces of neighboring
Afghanistan, causing at least four deaths, a NATO statement said.
“NATO troops and Afghan police rescued 42 trapped villagers Wednesday
and four people died in another province Tuesday when a river overran
It’s all the fault of George Bush says Dorkistan’s
A nebulous state
of like-minded persons with challenged intelligence, keen to show their
independence of mind by believing at least six imposible things politic,
ecological or sociological before breakfast. A Dorkistani lives by certain
truths, such as it is all GWB’s fault, or muslims are always right.
“Kherson region near the Black Sea, in the heart of Ukraine's
grain belt, is one of 10 areas hit by drought -- 60 percent of grainfields
have felt the effects. The government on Monday reduced its crop forecast
to 30 million tonnes from 38 million.”
“Australia will have to cut irrigation to prime farmland, decimating
harvests, unless heavy rains break the worst drought in 100 years, the
prime minister, John Howard, said yesterday.
“Prolonged drought has reduced Australia's rivers to a trickle,
forcing many cities and towns to impose drastic water restrictions as
reservoirs dry up. A contingency plan prepared for the government said
that unless water catchments across the country received heavy and widespread
rainfall before mid-May, allocations for irrigation would be stopped,
presenting a threat to farmland in the critical food bowl of the Murray-Darling
“The recent rise in corn prices--almost 70 percent in the past
six months--caused by the increased demand for ethanol biofuel has come
much sooner than many agriculture economists had expected.
“According to the United States Department of Agriculture, this
year the country is going to use 18 to 20 percent of its total corn
crop for the production of ethanol, and by next year that will jump
to 25 percent.”
“World Grain Supplies Will Barely Meet Demand Despite Record
Forecast for 2007
By Crystal Davis on Friday, May 25, 2007.
“World cereal production is forecast to reach a record high in
2007, but food analysts anticipate that total supplies will be barely
adequate to meet increased demand, boosted by a rapidly expanding biofuels
industry and continued growth in the food and feed sectors. Over
the past several years, grain harvests have consistently fallen short
of consumption, reducing carryover stocks--our only buffer against unanticipated
crop failure--to their lowest levels since the 1980s. At the
same time, international cereal prices have soared to their highest
levels in a decade, creating concern for low-income food deficit countries
and hunger hotspots such as Sub-Saharan Africa.”
feeding it to the cows
“Growth in world grain demand has been traditionally driven by
population growth and rising incomes. Although population growth is
anticipated to slow over coming decades, incomes will continue rise,
thus increasing demand for so-called "luxury" food commodities
such as milk, meat, and other livestock products that require large
grain inputs. As a result, increases in grain demand will outpace population
“Australia's winter grains crop is set to more than double after
unusually heavy rains in some areas partially offset the impact of a
long-term drought, the official rural forecaster said Tuesday.
“The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE)
said the winter crop would rise to 37 million tonnes, up more than 130
percent on the previous year's drought-affected 16 million tonnes.
“However, ABARE, estimated the recently-harvested summer crop would be
down 57 percent at a 20-year low of 1.89 million tonnes because of the
drought, saying dry conditions persisted in Queensland and parts of
“It said rainfall across the majority of New South Wales, Victoria and
South Australia states had provided an ideal start to the winter crop
“ABARE said winter wheat production was expected to rise from 9.82
tonnes to 22.5 million tonnes, just shy of the 25.4 million tonnes
harvested in a bumper crop two years ago."”
“A commission spokesman said the heaviest rain had been in coastal
areas, not the inland regions where farmers needed water the most.
“"The rain has been on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range and
hasn't had much of an impact on the western side at all, [...]”
And so on....
There is always thre consolation that we could starve the cows and cars.
“General Motors is determined to "remove the car from the environment
and energy debate" in the next 10 years by doing away with the
internal combustion engine altogether.
“The worldís second largest car company now views hydrogen fuel cell
power as the "the end game," according to its director of advanced
technology vehicle concepts Dr Christopher Borroni-Bird. Using
internal combustion engines is no longer an option, and that includes
diesels and hybrids.
“ "Hybrids are not a solution," he said. "They just delay the day of
reckoning. The debate about hybrids being cleaner than diesel is
irrelevant - the diesel is a dead end because it uses fossil fuels."
“Dr Borroni-Bird said that hydrogen-powered and electric cars would
develop alongside each other, and that GM would have a
"cost-effective" fuel cell car by 2010. It will trial 100 fuel cell
Equinox SUVs across the world in a market test for the car.”
“[...] Since 1960 the amount of municipal waste being collected in
America has nearly tripled, reaching 245m tonnes in 2005. According to
European Union statistics, the amount of municipal waste produced in
western Europe increased by 23% between 1995 and 2003, to reach 577kg
per person. (So much for the plan to reduce waste per person to 300kg
by 2000.) As the volume of waste has increased, so have recycling
efforts. In 1980 America recycled only 9.6% of its municipal rubbish;
today the rate stands at 32%. A similar trend can be seen in Europe,
where some countries, such as Austria and the Netherlands, now recycle
60% or more of their municipal waste. Britain's recycling rate, at
27%, is low, but it is improving fast, having nearly doubled in the
past three years.”
“Based on this study, WRAP calculated that Britain's recycling efforts
reduce its carbon-dioxide emissions by 10m-15m tonnes per year. That
is equivalent to a 10% reduction in Britain's annual carbon-dioxide
emissions from transport, or roughly equivalent to taking 3.5m cars
off the roads. Similarly, America's Environmental Protection Agency
estimates that recycling reduced the country's carbon emissions by 49m
tonnes in 2005.”
“An outgrowth of "Cradle to Cradle" [William McDonough, pub 2002] is
the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a non-profit working group that
has developed guidelines that look beyond the traditional benchmarks
of packaging design to emphasise the use of renewable, recycled and
non-toxic source materials, among other things. Founded in 2003 with
just nine members, the group now boasts nearly 100 members, including
Target, Starbucks and Estée Lauder, some of which have already begun
to change the design of their packaging.”
Two really neat machines are described
A spinning magnetic rotor induces a current in aluminium cans which
are then ‘blown out’ by an eddy current.
Spectroscopic identification of various materials, thence diversion to appropriate conveyors
Britain was generating a green glass mountain, by virtue of all the Frog wine being imported.
So now the wine is imported in 24,000-litre lots and bottled in the UK.
Link to Australian 45-minute documentary: abcnet.au
This second film is reasonable on peak oil, but very sloppy on alternatives. For instance, there is only one mention of nuclear, and not even a positive mention. Generally, the film is too optimistic about alternative oil sources.
energy: some ways of the future - on photovoltaics
the largest commercial solar facade in Europe, and will also be one of
the largest solar power systems in the UK.”
If you look closely at the cost/benefit, you will see
this sort of project is not yet close to competitive with a modern power
station; but this is a vertical array in imperfect latitude. One must
start somewhere. Note also the wind generation capacity.
“The building also has 24 wind turbines on the roof, which provide
10% of the total power used by the building.”[Quoted from metaefficient.com]
“The tallest office building outside of London, is about to make
history as the UK's largest ever solar project. CIS Tower, in Manchester,
is to be clad in solar panelling. The solar panels, which, despite popular
misgivings, will work regardless of the Manchester weather, will help
combat climate change and generate an amazing 180,000 units of electricity
each year [...]”[Quoted from cis.co.uk]]
Annually saves over 100 tonnes of CO2 emissions, a major greenhouse
gas, equivalent over 7 million party balloons or 63 Olympic swimming
Annual CO2 savings: account for 141 trees required to absorb CO2 over
To achieve the Kyoto Protocol, the UK is required to reduce CO2 emissions
by 12.5% below 1990 levels by 2010. This installation offsets the contribution
of 303 UK individuals to this target every year.
Technology: Solar PV
Installation Type: Wall cladding
System size (kWp): 391.00
Forecast electricity generation / year (kWh): 183,000.00
For more, see links at the bottom of first linked page.
[...] If you want to sign up for green power from Austin Energy, possibly
the greenest power grid in the country, you can get in line—this
year’s demand was unpredictably high, and they’re fresh
out. Austin’s growing list of proactive energy maneuvers is, to
say the least, striking. Not only does Austin lead the country in wind
power and biodiesel production, but it has built advanced plug-in hybrid
vehicles into its energy strategy.
As part of the recently announced Austin Climate Protection Plan, all
facilities, fleets and operations will be carbon-neutral by 2020, and
100 percent of city facilities will be powered by renewable energy by
2012. There will also be CO2 caps and reduction plans for all utility
emissions, something the federal government hasn’t dared do [...]”
If your plane arrives at Logan Airport’s Terminal A, you’re
experiencing Boston’s green building phenomenon the minute you
set foot on solid ground. Completed last year, it is the first LEED-certified
airport terminal in the world. Groups as diverse as the nonprofit Artists
for Humanity at Fort Point Channel and biotech giant Genzyme in Cambridge
have built LEED Platinum (the highest certification among the Certified,
Silver, Gold and Platinum LEED levels) headquarters in the Boston area.
Raising the bar even higher, Mayor Thomas Menino’s city government
approved a measure earlier this year requiring all new buildings larger
than 50,000 square feet - both public and private - to prove they can
earn a Silver rating under the LEED program.”
Really? Yes, definitely. While New York is indeed enormous and rife
with eco-woes such as pitiful air quality, on a per-person basis it
is one of the most efficient cities in the world. With 8.2 million people
(and another million expected by 2030), New York is not only the country’s
largest city, it is also the most densely populated. With half of New
Yorkers going carless, more than 20 percent of commuting happens on
foot or by bicycle. People also rely heavily on the daily carnival that
is the public transportation system, one of the most extensive in the
world. This car-light culture and high-density living make New Yorkers
some of the most efficient citizens in the country, though they may
not even know it. According to PlaNYC, "The average New Yorker
consumes less than half of the electricity of someone who lives in San
Francisco and nearly one-quarter the electricity consumed by someone
who lives in Dallas [...] ”
“ELEANOR HALL: Those behind a global initiative launched by former US
President Bill Clinton overnight say it is the biggest single step
ever taken by governments to tackle climate change.
“Mr Clinton has convinced the world's top finance companies to fund a
$5 billion program to be run by city mayors, to improve energy
efficiency in buildings.
“The latest IPCC report by the world's top climate change scientists
found that retrofitting buildings to make them energy efficient could
reduce world greenhouse gas emissions by close to a third.
“And the Victorian capital [Melbourne] is among the first fifteen
cities to get involved.
“In Melbourne, Samantha Donovan reports.
“SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The Global Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit
Program is part of the Clinton Foundation's Climate Initiative.
“Fifteen cities including New York, London, Rome, Bangkok and Melbourne
are on board to slash energy use in buildings.
“Bill Clinton says cities need to act urgently.
“BILL CLINTON: Cities use more than 75 per cent of the world's energy,
and generate more than 75 per cent of its greenhouse gasses.
“Buildings are often the largest energy users, accounting for 50 per
cent of energy consumption in newer cities, and in older ones, more
than 70 per cent.”
“The C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group is comprised of the
following cities: Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, BogotŠ,
Buenos Aires, Cairo, Caracas, Chicago, Delhi, Dhaka, Hanoi, Hong Kong,
Houston, Istanbul, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Karachi, Lagos, Lima,
London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Manila, Melbourne, Mexico City, Moscow,
Mumbai, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao
Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Toronto, Tokyo, and Warsaw.” [Quoted from clintonfoundation.org]]
“Scientists say the "mudtrails" are visible evidence
of the disturbance to seabed habitat caused by trawling, which they
say is one of the most damaging activities on Earth, according to this
“Bottom trawling has been likened - by Daniel Pauly, a fisheries
expert from the University of British Columbia, one of the scientists
involved in this study - to clear-cutting a forest merely to hunt its
How bottom trawling is performed. Image source: