Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Millions to Go Hungry, Waterless: Climate Report





by Rob Taylor, Reuters, Posted on Commondreams



Rising temperatures will leave millions more people hungry by 2080 and cause critical water shortages in China and Australia, as well as parts of Europe and the United States, according to a new global climate report.




By the end of the century, climate change will bring water scarcity to between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people as temperatures rise by 2 to 3 Celsius (3.6 to 4.8 Fahrenheit), a leaked draft of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said.




The report, due for release in April but detailed in The Age newspaper, said an additional 200 million to 600 million people across the world would face food shortages in another 70 years, while coastal flooding would hit another 7 million homes.




"The message is that every region of the earth will have exposure," Dr Graeme Pearman, who helped draft the report, told Reuters on Tuesday.




"If you look at China, like Australia they will lose significant rainfall in their agricultural areas," said Pearman, the former climate director of Australia's top science body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.




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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Electric cars the answer for the future -- and the present

By Candace Page
Free Press Staff Writer








MONTPELIER -- Electric cars will "inevitably" replace gasoline-powered vehicles in coming decades, a Vermont researcher told lawmakers Wednesday, and the state can take steps now to prepare for and help speed the transition to a cleaner transportation system.





"The plug-in hybrid is the car of the future," Prof. Steven Letendre of Green Mountain College testified, "but this isn't futuristic stuff. These cars are out there now. Companies are taking the (Toyota) Prius hybrid and altering them to plug into the electric grid. They'll get 100 miles to the gallon."






Letendre was one of three speakers on the fourth day of a legislative inquiry into climate change and the ways Vermont can reduce its contribution to the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.







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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Coalition for Firm Limit on Emissions


By FELICITY BARRINGER, NY Times
WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 — Ten major companies with operations across the economy — utilities, manufacturing, petroleum, chemicals and financial services — have banded together with leading environmental groups to call for a firm nationwide limit on carbon dioxide emissions that would lead to reductions of 10 to 30 percent over the next 15 years.

Introduction of this group, which includes industry giants like General Electric, DuPont and Alcoa, is aimed at adding to the recent impetus for Congressional action on emissions controls and the creation of a market in which allowances to emit carbon dioxide could be traded in a way that achieves the greatest reduction at the lowest cost.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Behold the Rise of Energy-Based Fascism


The Pentagon is helping to create a grim future for all of us: a struggle for energy primacy abroad and Big Brother at home.

By Michael T. Klare, Tomdispatch.com., post on Alternet.

It has once again become fashionable for the dwindling supporters of President Bush's futile war in Iraq to stress the danger of "Islamo-fascism" and the supposed drive by followers of Osama bin Laden to establish a monolithic, Taliban-like regime -- a "Caliphate" -- stretching from Gibraltar to Indonesia. The President himself has employed this term on occasion over the years, using it to describe efforts by Muslim extremists to create "a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom." While there may indeed be hundreds, even thousands, of disturbed and suicidal individuals who share this delusional vision, the world actually faces a far more substantial and universal threat, which might be dubbed: Energo-fascism, or the militarization of the global struggle over ever-diminishing supplies of energy.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Vegetarian is the New Prius


by Kathy Freston, Huffington Post, posted on Commondreams



Last month, the United Nations published a report on livestock and the environment with a stunning conclusion: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.


"According to the UN report, it gets even worse when we include the vast quantities of land needed to give us our steak and pork chops. Animal agriculture takes up an incredible 70% of all agricultural land, and 30% of the total land surface of the planet. As a result, farmed animals are probably the biggest cause of slashing and burning the world's forests. Today, 70% of former Amazon rainforest is used for pastureland, and feed crops cover much of the remainder. These forests serve as "sinks," absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, and burning these forests releases all the stored carbon dioxide, quantities that exceed by far the fossil fuel emission of animal agriculture. "

Thursday, January 11, 2007

100-Mile Diet: Your Body Will Thank You







By Jeff Nield, The Tyee. Posted on Alternet



Is eating locally through the winter more a matter of survival than of pleasure or good health? The surprising answer is an emphatic "no." Vancouver-based registered holistic nutritionist Paula Luther is an adherent of year-round local eating for the sake of nutrition. "If we look at what's in abundance right now, we have lots of squash, carrots, things like that, which are actually beneficial at this time of year," she says. These winter foods are rich in beta-carotene, antioxidants, vitamin A -- just the sort of nutrients our bodies need to fight off colds and maintain energy levels for the season.



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