Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Millions To Go Hungry, Waterless

I am going to expound on this later, and also include some news regarding the drastic measures Australia will now take to give people drinking water. The one thing I did want to type in response to this report now however, is to the U.S Congress: STAND UP FOR THE PEOPLE OF YOUR COUNTRY AND THIS PLANET AND STOP THIS GD WAR IN IRAQ/IRAN/AFGHANISTAN AND WHEREVER ELSE, AND START WORRYING ABOUT THE FUTURE. More later. Also, sorry for the lack of posts this past week. My schedule has been busy but I have not forgotten about this crisis, because it is always part of me.

Millions To Go Hungry, Waterless

Published on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 by Reuters
Millions to Go Hungry, Waterless: Climate Report
by Rob Taylor

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.

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. 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.

Africa and poor countries such as Bangladesh would be most affected because they were least able to cope with greater coastal damage and drought, said Pearman. The IPCC was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the U.N. Environment Program to guide policy makers globally on the impact of climate change. The panel is to release a report on Friday in Paris forecasting global temperatures rising by 2 to 4.5 Celsius (3.6 to 8.1 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by 2100, with a "best estimate" of a 3C (5.4 F) rise.

That report will summarize the scientific basis of climate change, while the April draft details the consequences of global warming and options for adapting to them. The draft contains an entire chapter on Australia -- which is in the grip of its worst recorded drought -- warning the country's Great Barrier Reef would become "functionally extinct" because of coral bleaching. As well, snow would disappear from Australia's southeast alps, while water inflows to the Murray-Darling river basin, the country's main agricultural region, would fall by 10 and 25 percent by 2050.

In Europe, glaciers would disappear from the central Alps, while some Pacific island nations would be hit hard by rising sea levels and more frequent tropical storms. "It's really a story of trying to assess in your own region what your exposure will be, and making sure you have ways to deal with it," said Pearman. On the positive side, Pearman said there was an enormous amount the international community could do to avert climate change if swift action was taken.

"The projections in the report that comes out this week are based on the assumption that we are slow to respond and that things continue more-or-less as they have in the past." Some scientists say Australia -- the world's driest inhabited continent -- is suffering from "accelerated climate change" compared to other nations.
© Reuters 2007
This is PM Howard's answer to it all: handing the river system over to the Federal government on a silver platter. It is the government's great opportunity to now hijack the water system and keep the people paying through the nose for any water they get to drink (which according to news will be "reclaimed" water.) Not good. How long before the entire water system in Australia is privatized with substandard quality? As usual, it is all about profit.

What Howard should have done is institute regulations regarding water flow and seek to implement legislation regarding the climate crisis. However, he isn't doing that. He appears to be now using this as an opportunity to give him political clout for the next election after allowing it to get to this point, and to make a profit for the government off of the misery of its people.

The drought is not now going to instantly disappear because he has decided to take it upon himself to conviscate the water which should be a public trust. He is no savior, he is actually one of the causes now looking to save face in an election year. Climate change is here to stay and so are it affects unless people begin to change their ways as well and until governments really see the urgency of the climate crisis and institute legislation across the board to mitigate all of its causes, including the use of fossil fuels.

Surely there is no doubt that irrigation methods and water management need an overhaul, but that won't come by the federal government taking it over, and I fear it will come at a very hefty price for Australians.
Australia unveils multi-billion dollar bid to beat water shortage
Thu Jan 25, 12:11 AM ET

CANBERRA (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister John Howard has unveiled a radical 10-billion dollar (7.8-billion US) plan aimed at protecting dwindling water supplies in the world's driest inhabited continent.

Faced with the worst drought in a century and the growing threat of climate change, Howard used his annual address on the eve of the Australia Day holiday to outline a 10-point intiative to better manage the island's lifeblood.
A key element involves a controversial federal government takeover of the country's biggest river system, the Murray-Darling Basin, from the four states currently controlling it.

Howard said that last year the inflow of water into the system had fallen to 40 percent of its previous all-time lowest level, and that he would write to the states to ask them to hand over control.

More at the link.

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