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Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: Sanitation & Deforestation Issues Highlighted; What Global Warming Will Cost, & What We Aren't Spending
By Richard Power
Here are four important stories that highlight the consequences of skewed priorities:
The human race continues to pursue deforestation at a verocious and suicidal pace.
From Brazil to central Africa to once-lush islands in Asia's archipelagos, human encroachment is shrinking the world's rain forests. ...
"If we lose forests, we lose the fight against climate change," declared more than 300 scientists, conservation groups, religious leaders and others in an appeal for action at December's climate conference in Bali, Indonesia. ...
The latest data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) helped spur delegates to action.
"Deforestation continues at an alarming rate of about 13 million hectares (32 million acres) a year," the U.N. body said in its latest "State of the World's Forests" report. ...
Although South America loses slightly more acreage than Africa, the rate of loss is higher here — almost 1 percent of African forests gone each year. In 2000-2005, the continent lost 10 million acres a year, including big chunks of forest in Sudan, Zambia and Tanzania, up from 9 million a decade earlier, the FAO reports. EDWARD HARRIS, Associated Press, 2-2-08
The spilling of 2.7 million gallons of raw sewage into the San Francisco Bay illustrates the potentially catastrophic intersection of three great largely unaddressed problems --
1. Sustainability issues concerning sanitation and water usage (clearly, not just a "Third World" problem)
2. The USA's deteriorating infrastucture
3. The impact of extreme weather brought on by climate change.
Nearly 3 million gallons of sewage that spilled out of a treatment plant in northern California has reached Richardson Bay ... 2.7 million gallons of treated and raw sewage from the plant operated by the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin found its way into the bay, a tidal marsh with currents that could carry the contaminant-filled effluence past Sausalito and Tiburon into San Francisco Bay.
The estimated amount of sewage from Thursday's spill could cover an entire football field more than six feet deep and could pose a significant risk to wildlife and potentially to people. Earth Times, 2-2-08
Meanwhile, the UN estimates that global warming could cost the world $20 trillion over the next twenty years, and yet, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, the USA will spend $647.5 billion on its defense budget, in 2008, and only $7.37 billion to fight climate change and global warming.
Global warming could cost the world up to $20 trillion over two decades for cleaner energy sources and do the most harm to people who can least afford to adapt, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns in a new report.
Ban’s report provides an overview of U.N. climate efforts to help the 192-nation General Assembly prepare for a key two-day climate debate in mid-February. ...
In his 52-page report, Ban says that global investments of $15 trillion to $20 trillion over the next 20 to 25 years may be required “to place the world on a markedly different and sustainable energy trajectory.” Today, the global energy industry spends about $300 billion a year in new plants, transmission networks and other new investment, according to U.N. figures. John Heilprin, Associated Press, 1-31-08
Despite growing recognition in the Pentagon and the intelligence community that global warming poses serious national security threats to the United States, Washington is spending 88 dollars on the military for every dollar it spends this year on climate-related programmes, according to a new study released here Thursday by the Institute for Policy Studies.
The study, entitled "Military vs. Climate Security", found that the government has budgeted 647.5 billion dollars for the defence budget in 2008 -- more than the defence budgets of the rest of the world's nations combined -- compared to 7.37 billion dollars for climate-related programmes. Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, 1-31-08
Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.
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For analysis of the US mainstream news media's failure to treat global warming and climate change with accuracy or appropriae urgency, click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".
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Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farewell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogues with friends, family and colleagues.
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