Saturday, May 26, 2012

A quite frank comment on climate migration from Israeli expert

Israeli expert says it exactly like he sees it after having researched his country's challenges:

"The migration wave is not a problem for the future. It is today; it is going on now [...] It will just increase from day to day. [...] In India, they shoot; in Nepal, they shoot; in Japan, they shoot [at refugees...] Millions perished along the Sahel [...] It’s the deterioration of Africa [...] I can see how the desert will penetrate slowly to Kiryat Gat, Gaza and Hebron – everywhere [...] If you accept what the scientists are saying, then there will be no question that people will be forced to leave the Negev. [...] Why are they coming to the North? Either because of population explosion or because of water loss [...] This is a microcosm of what is going on between the border of the Mediterranean climate and the semiarid zone. [...] I am one that fights for building fences all around Israeli borders [...] We are an island – we don’t belong to this region, and we have to defend Israel from waves of migration from Egypt from Jordan and maybe from Syria. If we want to keep Israel a Jewish state, we will have to defend ourselves from what I call ‘climate refugees,’ exactly as Europe is doing now [...we should provide the Palestinians and the Jordanians with sources of water] maybe this will bring peace. [...] I have to satisfy the Israeli citizens, to be human as much as I can [...] Whatever I do, we will not be as cruel as Europe. They have huge navies; they sink boats; they send them back."
- Prof. Arnon Soffer

Bold added by me. Although the warning is largely based on indisputable facts I foresee some controverse from certain parts of his comments.

From The Jerusalem Post / Defending Israel’s borders from ‘climate refugees'.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The US of A: Coal and oil right-wing battles life-saving sustainability initiatives in the military. Really.

Even if wars are not all about oil, soldiers have certainly been killed for oil: Up to one in three US casualties has happened at gasoline convoys. Check out how solar panels are saving lives and improving the flexibility of US Marines deep in foreign deserts: Grist / U.S. military kicks more ass by using less fossil-fuel energy.
"Other people are busy saving the planet; this is about saving Marine lives [...] I’d kiss a polar bear if it meant getting one Marine off an IED-filled highway." - Col. Bob Charette, director of the Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office
Irrespective of one's sentiments towards US soldiers in Afghanistan, the story is a parable for all of society. As the article finishes: "In a time of rising fossil-fuel prices and increasingly apparent climate dangers, the tether of fuel binds all of us — homes, businesses, communities, and whole economies — to a future of vulnerability and instability. Using less energy and generating more of our own is about more than dollars spent or saved. It’s about self-determination. That makes for a more effective military and a more secure, productive society".

You should think the politicians most eager for war would support such initiatives. But no. Because those politicians are at the same time the ones whose careers are sponsored by the existing energy sector hegemony. Read Slate / Why We Need a Greener Military and Wired / Republicans Order Navy to Quit Buying Biofuels for the full story about right wing politicians working hard to pass a law banning military spending on fuels more expensive than conventional oil. But since it is designed to obstruct initiatives to experiment with (currently relatively expensive) biofuels it explicitly omits alternative energy sources based on coal and gas (probably to allow shale gas, fracking et cetera).

In a way it's hard to believe the hypocrisy, the idiocy, the callousness. On the other hand it all makes depressing sense. Strong powers in business and politics accumulate vast fortunes on the people wasting obsolete energy and endangering their lives at home, at work and abroad.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Addition to reading list: Club of Rome author writes 2052 prognosis

In the book "2052," Jorgen Randers, one of the co-authors of "Limits to Growth," issues a progress report and makes a forecast for the next forty years. To do this, he asked dozens of experts to weigh in with their best predictions on how our economies, energy supplies, natural resources, climate, food, fisheries, militaries, political divisions, cities, psyches, and more will take shape in the coming decades. He then synthesized those scenarios into a global forecast of life as we will most likely know it in the years ahead.The good news: we will see impressive advances in resource efficiency, and an increasing focus on human well-being rather than on per capita income growth. But this change might not come as we expect. Future growth in population and GDP, for instance, will be constrained in surprising ways-by rapid fertility decline as result of increased urbanization, productivity decline as a result of social unrest, and continuing poverty among the poorest 2 billion world citizens. (Presentation at Google Books)
"We need a system of governance that takes a more long-term view [...] It is unlikely that governments will pass necessary regulation to force the markets to allocate more money into climate friendly solutions, and must not assume that markets will work for the benefit of humankind [...] We already live in a manner that cannot be continued for generations without major change. Humanity has overshot the earth’s resources, and in some cases we will see local collapse before 2052 – we are emitting twice as much greenhouse gas every year as can be absorbed by the world’s forests and oceans." - Jørgen Randers at presentation of the book
"Now, at age 66, I realize my concerns have been wasted. Not because the global future is smooth and rosy. My concern has been in vain, because it has not had much influence on world events during the generations that have elapsed since I began to worry. [...] Although things will be more or less alright until 2052, the world will in 2052 be destined down the road, I really fear, the road to self-reinforcing climate change and climate disasters in the second half of the century. I certainly don't see a world in a well-planned course towards sustainability" - Jørgen Randers to Danish newspaper Information

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