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Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Shrinking World, Shrinking Ecosystems

Posted by edro on December 27, 2009

Temperature velocity for the 21st century is 0.42 kilometers (0.26 miles) per year: Study

Climate Change Puts Ecosystems on the Run

Global warming is causing climate belts to shift toward the poles and to higher elevations. To keep pace with these changes, the average ecosystem will need to shift about a quarter mile each year, says a new study led by scientists at the Carnegie Institution. For some habitats, such as low-lying areas, climate belts are moving even faster, putting many species in jeopardy, especially where human development has blocked migration paths.

“Expressed as velocities, climate-change projections connect directly to survival prospects for plants and animals. These are the conditions that will set the stage, whether species move or cope in place,” says study co-author Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology. Field is also a professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science at Stanford University and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment.

The research team, which included researchers from the Carnegie Institution, Stanford University, the California Academy of Sciences, and the University of California, Berkeley, combined data on current climate and temperature gradients worldwide with climate model projections for the next century to calculate the “temperature velocity” for different regions of the world. This velocity is a measure of how fast temperature zones are moving across the landscape as the planet warms―and how fast plants and animals will need to migrate to keep up.

EDRO Comments:

What the paper doesn’t mention, however, is the fact that the species “climbing a nearby mountain” in search of cooler temperatures would be climbing into an acid rain trap.

Forests and plants in mountain regions are heavily affected by “acid fog,” in addition to acid  rain. At higher altitudes, the lingering fog, which is more acidic than rainfall, surrounds the plants, affecting the leaves ability to carry out photosynthesis and produce photosynthetic products.

The acid fog does causes slower growth, disease and death of the plants and forests. Examples of this include the many areas of the eastern U.S., especially high altitude forests of the Appalachian Mountains.

The researchers found that as a global average, the expected temperature velocity for the 21st century is 0.42 kilometers (0.26 miles) per year. But this figure varies widely according to topography and habitat. In areas of high topographic relief, where species can find cooler temperatures by climbing a nearby mountain, velocities are relatively low. In flatter regions, such as deserts, grasslands, and coastal areas, species will have to travel farther to stay in their comfort zone and velocities may exceed a kilometer per year.

EDRO Comments:

The other factor is scarcity of food for many species due to the soil profiles of mountainous areas. Upland areas often have thin soils and glaciated bedrock, profiles that make it extremely difficult for plant growth.

Can the planet’s ecosystems keep up? Plants and animals that can tolerate a wide range of temperatures may not need to move. But for the others, survival becomes a race. After the glaciers of the last Ice Age retreated, forests may have spread northward as quickly as a kilometer a year. But current ecosystems are unlikely to match that feat, the researchers say. Nearly a third of the habitats in the study have velocities higher than even the most optimistic plant migration estimates. Even more problematic is the extensive fragmentation of natural habitats by human development, which will leave many species with “nowhere to go,” regardless of their migration rates.

Protected areas such as nature reserves are generally too small to accommodate the expected habitat shifts. According to the study, less than 10% of protected areas globally will maintain current climate conditions within their boundaries 100 years from now. This will present a challenge for many species adapted to highly specific conditions, especially if migration to new habitats is blocked.

Scott Loarie, a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution and lead author of the paper, points out that an appreciation of climate velocities could stimulate discussions about sound management for climate change, from the design of nature reserves to the planning of assisted migrations for affected species. He adds that it should also stimulate discussion about strategies for minimizing the amount of warming and thereby help slow climate velocity.

The paper was published in the 24 December, 2009, Nature. Contact: Chris Field  cfield@ciw.edu

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Posted in 286W, acid fog, acid rain, air pollution, climate change | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Florida Might Look Like in 2014

Posted by edro on December 7, 2009

The World Is Rapidly Collapsing

To fathom the reasons for world’s rapid collapse, the following basic premises should first be understood:

  • The sum total of human activities on the planet is exponentially INCREASING.
  • Humans consumptions of energy and resources continue to increase in parallel to its activities.
  • Pollution including  greenhouse gas emissions resulting from increased energy consumption is accumulating.
  • The increase in the consumption of energy and resources is enlarging humans ecological footprint.
  • The impacts of humans’ ever-enlarging ecological footprint and the accumulating pollution have driven most of the planetary-scale ecosystems to the verge of collapse.
  • In the absence of any intervention by the forces of nature, the large-scale ecosystem such as the atmosphere, climate, oceans, soil … will completely collapse, rendering the planet unable to support large species.
  • We can say with the maximum degree of certainty that in the absence of any ‘remedial action’ by natural forces the state of our planet would progressively worsen [NOT improve] with time.
  • Based on the evidence, including enhanced seismic and volcanic activity, WE BELIEVE, the earth is trying to maintain planetary “homeostasis.”
  • However, there is a high price to pay for the nature’s balancing act functions.
  • Planet earth is effectively becoming “smaller,” less hospitable. The quality of nature’s services are generally deteriorating, becoming more rudimentary
  • The effect of Nature’s balancing act functions, as harsh as they may be, should be viewed as desperate last measures: Survival of some, or extinction of all.

EDRO Moderators believe that the impact of global climate change, including extreme rain events, storm tides, and rising sea levels caused by both melting ice and slowing down [or disappearance ] of Gulf Stream could flood large swaths of eastern United States, especially the coastal areas of Florida.

Cities and population centers both on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts could experience complete or partial inundation for some of the year, most of the year, or permanently.

About 40 percent of Florida’s more densely inhabited areas, home to more than 65 percent of the population, could be impacted by the climatic events, rendering most of the existing cities effectively uninhabitable and affecting up to 90 percent of Florida’s population.

USGS Digital Elevation Map of The United States

Click on image to get map

The elevations correspond to the following legend:


Plotted on these maps are:

  • White – State, country, coast outlines
  • Gray – County outlines
  • Black – Rivers and major streams
  • Red – US Highways
  • Light red – Interstate Highways
  • Magenta – National Parks and Monuments

USGS Digital Elevation Map of Florida


Some of the areas most prone to flooding are marked on the map. The markings are meant as an indication only. They do not represent exact locations. Source of images: Unisys Weather. Images may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in civilization, climate change, Collapse, collapse mechanisms, collapsing ecosystems | Tagged: , , , , | 25 Comments »

Could Sydney, Australia Be Buried by Dust Storms

Posted by edro on October 19, 2009

How Large Is Your Dust Storm?

On September 23, 2009 our colleagues at FEWW posted the following on their blog:

FEWW entry summarized a phenomenal dust storm which had started a day earlier ( September 22),  sweeping across Australia’s eastern states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (Qld), reaching Sydney, the country’s largest city, and Brisbane.

The dust plume measured about 500 kilometres wide and at least 1,000 km long, covering dozens of communities, towns and cities in both states.

Recently, they posted details of another dust storm

They have now asked EDRO Moderators the following questions:

‘How much dust would it take, and under what circumstances could it make Sydney uninhabitable?’

Desertification of farmlands, villages and small communities have been commonly occurring throughout history. In recent times, countries like China have experienced accelerated rates of desertification. Up to 3 million km² of land in China have already desertified.  The country’s annual desertification rates have  more than doubled to 3,400 km²  since the 1970s (1,560 km²) and have increased by 62 percent compared with the 1980s (2,100 km²). Thousands of villages have been lost to encroaching deserts.

According to a report by the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), “some 24,000 villages, 1,400 kilometres of railway lines, 30,000 kilometres of highways, and 50,000 kilometres of canals and waterways are subject to constant threats of desertification.”

“Dust-laden blasts have buried villages before blowing into cities and suffocating urban residents.”

Historic examples are abound about large cities in Africa, Asia, Near and middle East that were lost to desert.

Chilean town of Chaitén is one of the latest examples of a town lost to [human-enhanced] natural phenomena, namely lahar caused by volcanic ash deposits, and other pyroclastic materials.

Well, Could it Happen to Sydney, Australia?

The short answer is yes!

Given  copious supplies of dust [or sand,] sufficiently strong winds,  as well as extremes of climatic and atmospheric conditions conducive to precipitating large amounts of airborne dust on the ground, dust storms could bury any village, town or city in their path and make them partially or completely uninhabitable.

Under the said conditions, one or more dust storms blowing within a critical period of time, with wind forces lasting long enough to deposit significantly large amounts of dust over a critically large portion of the city could trigger a partial or total collapse of Sydney [or other cities in eastern Australia.]

How Much Dust?

Australia’s CSIRO estimated that the September 22-24 storm carried a record-breaking 16 million tons of dust from the deserts in the heart of Australia [The Lake Eyre Basin was reportedly the main region, where the dust came from.] Interestingly enough, the media boasted how the benevolent storms had dumped a million tons of iron-rich topsoil from Australia’s outback into the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean.

Most of the dust spread over a vast area precipitating on the continental Australia, Indian ocean to the west,  and Tasman Sea to the east, reaching as far as the North Island, New Zealand.

EDRO Team designed a basic model and, using the available data, ran  a few dozen simulations. The  simulations showed that the amount of dust needed to ‘bury’ central Sydney [an area about 100 km²,] so as to make the entire city mostly uninhabitable, would be about 10-12 times the dust blown off in the Septemeber 22-24 dust storm.

Notes:

  1. The simulations were based on optimally extreme climatic and atmospheric conditions conducive to precipitating large amounts of airborne dust in a relatively small area.
  2. Dust diameters of (i) less than 60 micrometer, and (ii) 62 – 65 micrometer, were used in the simulations.
  3. The maximum air particle concentration levels reached over 45,000 micrograms/m³ of air.
  4. As the air particle concentration levels rose above about 25,000 micrograms/m³ of air, the number of casualties dramatically increased.

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Posted in australian coal, carbon-intensive economy, Chaitén town, climate change, collapsing cities, desertification, drought, ghost towns | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Volcanic Eruptions and Earth’s Energy Budget

Posted by edro on June 15, 2009

Sarychev Peak a Russian Volcano in Matua Island, central Kurils,  spewed  two ash plumes

sarychev Peak june 14 UTC
Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead at 2:10 p.m. local time (2:10 a.m. UTC). The volcano had apparently produced a high-altitude ash plume. In this photo-like image, the brown ash plume forms a circular opaque cloud immediately southwest of Ostrov Matua, casting a large shadow to the north. Farther away from the summit, thinner ash plumes mingle with clouds. Clouds and ash swirl in von Karman vortices west of the volcanic island. The red outline along the ash cloud’s edge indicates a hotspot of high surface temperature resulting from volcanic activity. NASA image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.

For more information see:

In the Majestic Earth’s Service: Sarychev Peak Spews Two Plumes of Ash, Helping to Balance Earth’s Energy Budget

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Posted in anthropogenic warming, climate change, earth's defense mechanisms, natural mitigation, solar radiation | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

When Will Food Riots Break Out Across the U.S.?

Posted by edro on November 25, 2008

See main Entry at >> The Land of Plenty [of hungry people]

Loss of topsoil, land degradation and desertification are global phenomena, which are rapidly destroying our ability to feed the world population

Unless comprehensive action is taken globally to stop the deadly trends, food riots will be commonplace throughout the world in the very near future.


Severely degraded land. Photo: Unesco. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in climate change, energy, future, lifestyle, Loss of topsoil | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Good Move Generally in the Right Direction

Posted by feww on September 16, 2008

Working Toward Low-Energy Communities


Volunteers from Transition Forest Row in East Sussex cut grass and weed around gooseberry bushes in a field loaned to them by a nearby college. (Courtesy of Mike Grenville). Source: Christian Science Monitor.

Transition Movement

Christian Science Monitor published the following report about the “Transition Movement,” which apparently started in England and is becoming popular here in the US.  (www.transitiontowns.org)

“Transition Towns (or districts, or islands) designate places where local groups have organized to embrace the challenge of adapting to a low-oil economy.”  CSM reports. More …

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Posted in climate change, energy, environment, future, lifestyle | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Images of the Day: Ike Was Here!

Posted by edro on September 14, 2008

Hurricane Ike: “Not the ‘Nightmare Scenario'”

The following image relates to a comment made by Cynthia Beal on The First Wave of World’s Collapsing Cities

Ike was here! (Matt Slocum / Associated Press). Image may be subject to copyright.

“The Day the Dead ‘Rose’ from their Graves!”

Floodwaters brought by Hurricane Ike cover a cemetery in Orange, Texas. September 14, 2008. (Smiley N. Pool/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images). Image may be subject to copyright.

Them Crosses Ain’t Like They Used to BE!

George Levias, 75, moves a cross from an exposed casket as he looks for a headstone at the Hollywood Cemetery in Orange, Texas. Several caskets were exposed after Hurricane Ike caused flooding in the area. September 15, 2008 (Eric Gay/Associated Press). Image may be subject to copyright.

Posted in climate change, energy, environment, future, lifestyle | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thought for the Day: VLS Food Production

Posted by edro on September 5, 2008

VLS Accelerated Food Production Amid Environmental Chaos

The most highly sought after technology in the next 12 – 24 months could be VLS accelerated hydroponics. That is the know-how to produce large amounts of food in confined (or semi-confined) environments within a short time cycle and without the need for soil.

VLS: Very Large Scale

Posted in atmosphere, climate change, economy, energy, environment, future, lifestyle, pollution, soil, war | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Snapshot of World “Disasters” this Week

Posted by edro on September 5, 2008

Haiti


Haiti’s second city, Gonaives, was deluged by Hurricane Hanna. Image: Matthew Marek/American Red Cross. Source:BBC. Image may be subject to copyright.

Haiti – Two hurricanes, Gustav and Hanna, struck the Caribbean’s poorest nation in little over 4 days, just two weeks after tropical storm Fay had already drenched the country. the hurricanes left at least 200 people dead. The death toll could still climb substantially as thousands of people who escaped to rooftops to avoid rising floodwaters continue to starve. See: Hungry Haitian Flood Victims Stranded on Rooftops.

In 2004, after Hurricane Jeanne struck the city of Gonaïves causing widespread floods and mudslides, more than than 3000 people died.

Nepal


People seek refuge from flood waters in east Nepal August 24, 2008. Twenty-four bodies have been discovered washed away by Koshi River at the Nepal-India border according to local media. More than 20,000 thousand people have been displaced due to a flooding after a dam burst. REUTERS/Nepal Army 11 Brigade/Handout (NEPAL). FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.

Nepal – An appeal for assistance for Koshi flood affected people in eastern Nepal has been made by: WFP, FAO, UNICEF, WHO, OCHA, and OXFAM for a total of US$10,102,485.

  • WFP has asked for $5,000,000 to provide: Short to medium-term food needs and recovery support to flood affected persons
  • FAO requires $1,819,000 for: Support to provide fodder, treat sick draught animals/livestock and carcass disposal activities in support of the flood affected farming families
  • UNICEF asked for $1,795,065 to provide: Shelter, safe water, sanitation facilities, hygiene kits, school and student kits, emergency health messages and psychosocial support for flood affected families
  • WHO needs $853,150 to: Procure essential emergency/outbreak response medicines for Saptari and Sunsari districts, buffer stocks for Kathmandu and pre- positioning of international emergency health kits in all the regions
  • OCHA has asked for $600,000 to Capitalize Emergency Response Fund to allocate grants for emergency flood response
  • OXFAM requested a mere $35,270 to provide Support for shelter items, fuel wood, and to cover transportation costs of both IDPs and shelter kits in Saptari

[Note: The more experienced agencies never publish the required aid money in figures that are rounded to nearest thousands—,000.]

India

India – The flooding in the Bihar state of India has affected an estimated three million people. Without clean water, food, medicines and shelter many of them will perish.


A flood-affected man takes a nap outside a flood relief camp in Jankinagar village of Purniya district in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, September 3, 2008. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri. Image may be subject to copyright.

Cuba


People walk past a destroyed car as Hurricane Gustav passes in Los Palacios, 100 km (62 miles) west of Havana August 30, 2008. The Category 4 storm swept across Cuba in a matter of hours and now poses a threat to Gulf oil fields on a projected path that could take it ashore near New Orleans, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. REUTERS/Claudia Daut (CUBA)

Cuba – Hurricane Gustav destroyed or damaged about 100,000 homes in Cuba. Pinar del Río province was the hardest hit with its share of 70,000, and a total of about 500 damaged schools. In the municipality of Isla de la Juventud about half of the houses were damaged. In the municipality of Los Palacios 80 percent of the 13,000 homes were damaged, some 6,000 were completely destroyed.

Chile


A man rows a boat in a flooded street of Puerto Saavedra town in southern Chile September 3, 2008. Hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes during the storms that hit parts of Chile, according to local media.  REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Caballero. Image may be subject to copyright.

Chile – About 100,000 people have been affected by torrential rains in Chile, the worst in living memory; four people drowned.

In Araucania region, 700 km south of Santiago, rain has damaged about 10,000 homes, flooded rivers and canals, blocked roadways, destroyed bridges and inundated more than 200,000 hectares of farmland.

President Michelle Bachelet designated the region as a “catastrophe zone” on Wednesday.

Two hurricanes, Gustav and Hanna, struck the Caribbean’s poorest nation in little over 4 days, about two weeks after tropical storm Fay had already drenched the country.

Posted in atmosphere, climate change, economy, energy, environment, future, lifestyle, soil, war | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Effective System of Mass Extinction

Posted by edro on August 21, 2008

The Exponential Growth Economy is Committing Life to Extinction

Yet, our top scientists want to preserve the economic system, instead of sustaining life on Earth!

Instead of urging an immediate end to the exponential growth economy and demanding a zero-growth, low carbon, waste-free oikonomia for managing the environment, welfare of humans and other living species, and a system of ‘housekeeping’ for the planet’s natural resources to sustain life on Earth, the country’s top scientists are looking for ways of serving the economic Titanic.

Read Original Entry: Protect Economy from Climate??!

The Environmental Cost of US Economy (carbon footprint only!)

  • US GDP (2007 PPP) : $13.8 trillion [World Bank]
  • US CO2 Emissions (2007) : 6,825.733 MMT [based on CDIAC data updated by MSRB/CASF]
  • Virtual CO2 content of US dollar (2007) : 494 g (The average amount of CO2 produced each time a dollar was paid or received in 2007. SEE: How Much Carbon Dioxide Does Your Money Make?)

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Posted in atmosphere, climate change, economy, energy, environment, future, lifestyle, pollution, soil, war | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Collapse Engine Revving UP!

Posted by msrb on August 18, 2008

The problems?

  • Water scarcity. About 3 billion people are affected by water scarcity caused by diminishing reserves of freshwater (excessive use), climate change (drought, extreme climatic events, vanishing snow caps…)
  • Excessive volumes of wastewater produced by growing urban population
  • Increased demand for crops to feed growing urban population

The “Quick Fix!”

Irrigating urban agricultural land with untreated wastewater!

A possible outcome:

Spread of pandemic diseases leading to large scale collapse

A new 53-city study conducted by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) reveals that about 80 percent of the cities studied use untreated or partially diluted wastewater for agriculture. At least 50 percent of the urban agricultural land in those cities is irrigated with raw or diluted wastewater.

“Irrigating with wastewater isn’t a rare practice limited to a few of the poorest countries. It’s a widespread phenomenon, occurring on 20 million hectares across the developing world, especially in Asian countries, like China, India and Vietnam, but also around nearly every city of sub-Saharan Africa and in many Latin American cities as well,” said IWMI researcher Liqa Raschid-Sally.

“It’s a widespread phenomenon, occurring on 20 million hectares (50 million acres) across the developing world, especially in Asian countries, like China, India and Vietnam, but also around nearly every city of sub-Saharan Africa and in many Latin American cities as well.”

Wastewater is most commonly used to produce vegetables and cereals, especially rice, pose a health threat to the farmers as well as the consumers.

“The negative and positive implications of wastewater agriculture have only recently received attention. This study offers the first comprehensive, cross-country analysis of the conditions that account for the practice and the difficult tradeoffs that arise from it,” said Colin Chartres, director general of IWMI.

About 200,000 people in Accra, 10 percent of the urban population of Ghana’s capital city, consume vegetables produced on just 100 hectares of urban agricultural land, which is irrigated with wastewater, according to the IWMI report. “That gives you an idea of the large potential of wastewater agriculture for both helping and hurting great numbers of urban consumers.” Raschid-Sally said.

“And it isn’t just affluent consumers of exotic vegetables whose welfare is at stake. Poor consumers of inexpensive street food also depend on urban agriculture.” She reported.

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Posted in 286W, Accra, climate change, economy, energy, environment, future, ghana, lifestyle, pollution, soil | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Good Bye, Tuvalu!

Posted by edro on August 13, 2008

Original Entry:

Global Warming Tolls the Death Knell for Tuvalu

‘I want to leave this country. When the spring tide comes and the gale winds blow, it will be over for us. We realize that disaster is all too certain to strike us.’

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Posted in atmosphere, climate change, economy, energy, future, lifestyle, pollution, soil, war | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Much CO2 Are You Producing?

Posted by edro on August 8, 2008

Original Entry: World CO2 Emissions

World Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuel Consumption (including Flaring) Cement Production and Tropical Deforestation

CO2 This Year ( From 1-1-2008 to 8-8-2008 )
23,803.61 MMT CO2

CO2 Total 2007
38,058.66 MMT CO2

Anthropogenic CO2 Total (1750 – Today)
1,358,931.31 MMT CO2

Total atmospheric CO2

3,008,879.36 MMT [3,008.88GT]

How much CO2 are YOU producing?

Each dollar you earn or spend produces 584 g of CO2. [See Carbon Footprint of Your Dollar]

How much CO2 was there before?

Measurements of CO2 levels in Ice cores collected in Antarctica and Greenland indicate that the preindustrial carbon dioxide level was 278 ppm. Between 1000 and 1800 A.D. that level varied by no more than 7 ppm.

What about human activities?

The CO2 levels have now reached 386 ppm, which means human activities have increased the concentration of atmospheric CO2 by 109 ppm or 39 percent.

Notes:
MMT: Million Metric Tons
GT: Gigatons (billion tons)
Sources: CASF/MSRB; CDIAC; Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency; Earth Systems Research Laboratory; Mauna Loa CO2 monthly mean data.

The following data were used to calculate the total mass of atmospheric CO2 :
1. Mass of dry air: 5.1352 × 1018 kg
2. The mean molar mass of air: 28.9625 g/mol.
3. Molar mass of CO2: 44.0095 g/mol.
4. Mauna Loa CO2 monthly mean data: 385.60ppmv

[Note: On various websites reporting the carbon dioxide emissions since 1750 the cumulative amount varies from about 1.3 – 1.8 trillion tons. On one website the amount is published once as 1.36 trillion tons and again as 1.71 trillion tons of CO2 on separate pages. Understandably, no sources are quoted. ]

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Posted in air pollution, atmosphere, carrying capacity, climate change, collapsing ecosystems, dynamics of collapse, economy, energy, environment, future, lifestyle, ocean acidification, pollution, soil, war | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Carbon Footprint of Your Dollar

Posted by edro on August 5, 2008

Submitted by a CASF Member

How Much Carbon Dioxide Does Your Money Make?

Definitions

GDP is gross domestic product at purchaser prices. It is the sum of the gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources. PPP GDP is gross domestic product converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GDP as a U.S. dollar has in the United States. (Source: World bank)

GDP = consumption + gross investment + government spending + net exports

United States one dollar bill (obverse).

.

[Important: for 3/4 & 1-1/2 U.S. Secret Service money illustration rules click here! See also Copyright rules.]

.

GNI (gross national income) is gross domestic product (GDP) plus net receipts of primary income (employee compensation and investment income) from abroad. GDP is the sum of value added by all resident producers plus any product taxes (less subsidies) not included in the valuation of output. (World Bank)

GNI per capita is gross national income divided by midyear population. PPP GNI is gross national income converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GNI as a U.S. dollar has in the United States. (World Bank)

World Population and GDP figures

World population 2007 (World Bank) : 6.61billion
GNI per capita 2007 (PPP) : 9,816 (International Dollars)
World GNI : 64.9 trillion (International Dollars)
World GDP: 65.17 trillion (International Dollars)

[PPP is purchasing power parity; an international dollar has the same purchasing power over GNI or GDP as a U.S. dollar has in the United States.]


CO2 and Other Exhaust gases spewing out of an industrial plant.

Energy and GDP

To create the above economic figures [GNI and GDP,] the world economies consumed about 531 exajoules [503 quads] of energy in 2007. [Sources: CASF and MSRB]

To produce a GDP of 65.17 trillion (International Dollars), the world economies emitted about 10.38 billion metric tons of carbon [~38.06 billion tons of CO2.] That is, for every dollar paid (or received) each time in 2007 an average of about 160 grams of carbon, or 584 g of CO2 were released to the environment! [Sources: CASF and MSRB]

Notes:
1. 1kg (1,000g) is about 2.21lb [1 lb ~ 453.6g]
2. The above figure of 584g of CO2/GDP dollar is a global average. In the US the pollution figure is 578g of CO2/GDP dollar. In China the CO2 amount per GDP dollar of economic activity rises to 1,282g – about 2.2 times the global average of CO2/GDP dollar. [Updated Sept. 2008 ]

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Posted in atmosphere, climate change, economy, energy, environment, future, lifestyle, pollution, war | Tagged: , , , , , , | 84 Comments »

Cyprus Collapse May Be Imminent!

Posted by edro on July 19, 2008

Submitted by a CASF Member

Cyprus’ extreme environmental stress may lead to early collapse!

Ex-govt official: “We are going through a visual process of desertification.”

Main Causes of Collapse

Climate Change
– Persistent Droughts
– Disruption in climatic patterns
– Low Precipitation
– Higher than normal temperatures
– Heatwaves
– Wildfires and other natural phenomena [disasters] exacerbated by warming

Land
– Urbanization
– Land use and land cover change
– Loss of topsoil
– Soil degradation, especially salination
– Soil erosion caused by high temperatures, low precipitation and hot dry winds

Water
– Extreme water shortages throughout the island worsened by additional [including unforeseen] factors

Tourism
– Causing additional environmental stress
– Creating excessive waste and pollution
– Weakening the Island’s natural defense mechanisms

Main Effects

– Reduced ability to produce food
– Crop failure
– Continued water scarcity (compounded by economic/monetary issues)
– Breakdown of sewage, water and sanitation systems
– Spread of disease pandemics
– Overshoot of Carrying Capacity: The Island may have already passed the tipping point
– Resumption of the Cypriot civil war between the north and south enclaves reignited by the specter of ecological collapse
– Collapse of local ecosystems
– Desertification
– Land abandonment
– Population displacement/climate refugees

Possible Timeline

2011- 2013

Country Data

Estimated Population: 793,000 (July 2008 Estimate)
Area:
Total: 9,250 sq km (of which 3,355 sq km are in north Cyprus)
Land: 9,240 sq km
Water: 10 sq km

No. of Tourists: About 3,000,000

Land use:
Arable land: 10.81%
Permanent crops: 4.32%
Other: 84.87% (2005)

Irrigated land: 400 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
: 0.4 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
Total: 0.21 cu km/yr (27%/1%/71%)
Per capita: 250 cu m/yr (2000)

Primary Energy Consumption year 2007: 0.13 Quad BTU [CASF estimate based on EIA data]
Percentage rise compared to year 2000: 20.8 percent

Fossil Fuel consumption (excluding aviation fuel) year 2007: 2,431,399 tonnes of oil [source]
Percentage rise compared to year 2000: 18.4 percent

CO2 Emissions From Consumption of Fossil Fuels year 2007 : 9.65 MMT [CASF estimate for 2007]
Percentage rise compared to year 2000: 22.5 percent

Natural hazards: moderate earthquake activity; droughts

Environment – current issues:
water resource problems (no natural reservoir catchments, seasonal disparity in rainfall, sea water intrusion to island’s largest aquifer, increased salination in the north); water pollution from sewage and industrial wastes; coastal degradation; loss of wildlife habitats from urbanization.

Human Rights Issues
Cyprus [like New Zealand] is primarily a destination country for a large number of women trafficked from Eastern and Central Europe, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic for the purpose of sexual exploitation; traffickers continued to fraudulently recruit victims for work as dancers in cabarets and nightclubs on short-term “artiste” visas, for work in pubs and bars on employment visas, or for illegal work on tourist or student visas. (Source CIA Factbook, Wikipedia, others)

Population density: It is estimated that at peak tourist season, the effective population density of [Southern] Cyprus exceeds that of the Netherlands (ranked world’s 25th most densely populated).


Location map: Cyprus (dark green) / European Union (light green) / Europe (dark grey). Credit: User 3meandEr, via Wikimedia Commons

Water Facts

  • After little winter rainfall, the drought in Cyprus is now in its fifth year.
  • Cypriot water reserves are at their lowest for 100 years; however, the effective population of Cyprus (citizens and tourists) have multiplied by about 150 folds.
  • “As long as the population remained [as] low [as] in the pre-industrial period, the water was sufficient for supplying cities which received water either from the mountains through the aqueducts or through the groundwater supply.” Said Chris Schabel, medieval historian at the University of Cyprus.
  • The entire island including both the Turkish Cypriot north and the Greek Cypriot south divisions are drought stricken.
  • The Island has an annual requirement of about 210 million cubic meters of water.
  • As of July 16, 2008 the water reservoirs were only about 6.5 percent full. Down one percent in the last three weeks (33 percent of the level 12 months ago).
  • Southern Cyprus’ 17 main reservoirs currently contain a paltry 17,733 cubic meters of water, some of which may be unsuitable for drinking.
  • Emergency measures have limited the supply of running water to homes to only twice weekly.
  • Most of the municipal wells have been shut down to avoid the risk of seawater contamination.
  • “The British policy of drilling boreholes throughout the island resulted in a serious depletion, due to excessive pumping of the groundwater reserves, in the main water bearing areas of Famagusta, Morphou and Akrotiri. It was calculated a few years ago that groundwater resources of Cyprus are over-pumped every year by 40 per cent over the allowable safe yield.” (Source)
  • Cyprus is buying from Greece 8 million cubic meters (2.1 billion gallons) of water to be delivered by November 2008 at a cost of €40 million (US$64 million). The water will only be distributed in the Greek Cypriot south.
  • The first ship carrying water from Greece arrived June 30 at Limassol (Cyprus’ main port). The officials then realized they could not pump the water from tanker because their makeshift pipeline was 10 feet short. Because of the delay, the water turned “odorous” and was deemed unsafe for drinking. The entire tanker load of 40,000 cubic meters was subsequently pumped into the ground, instead of the city’s water network due to contamination fears!
  • Under the initial agreement, two water-laden tankers were scheduled to leave Elefsina near Athens bound for Cyprus every day for six months (6 tankers delivering 200 shipments) between June and November 2008.
  • The Turkish Cypriot north is negotiating a separate arrangement with Turkey for their water needs.
  • The Greek Cypriot south plans to build a third desalination plant.

Agriculture, Wildfires, Desertification

“Extremely hot and dry weather conditions in Cyprus, combined with strong winds led to a disastrous upsurge of forest fires and wildfires in the Troodos Montain area on 29 June 2007. … Small villages had to be evacuated. Some houses were destroyed. Cyprus reported severe material damages in the area. Moreover, two forest fires hit Cyprus on 16 July 2007 in touristic areas of the Island. The first hit the vicinity of the Kalavasos village area … The other was close to Kornos village, which is located 20 km south of Nicosia [capital city]. The total burnt area … in Cyprus measured from satellite imagery on 31 July 2007 was 12 286 hectares.” European Civil Protection.

Climate change is pointing at us “like a loaded gun,” warned the EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel at a conference on water policy last week.

“Global warming is happening,” she said. “It’s taken thousands of years for global temperatures to rise by just one degree. In this century we expect to see an increase in global temperatures of between two and six degrees Celsius.”

“Climate change has arrived. Drought has arrived. We need to take out insurance now. Good business sense demands better use of water. For those farmers caught unprepared, climate change could be a sledge hammer,” said Boel. “Maybe there are areas that will benefit from this, like in the north, but we expect climate change to leave a wave of destruction. We expect more heat waves, drought, floods and crop failures.”

We are going through a visual process of desertification. Krasochorio near Limassol, has lost its environment [Ecosystems have collapsed]. Around 85 per cent of the population has left. In Lania, 30 villas are surrounded by burnt land after the fires. What can the villagers do with them now?” Said the former Cypriot Agriculture Ministry official, Antonis Constantinou.

“What Cyprus is not good at is holding water, avoiding erosion, adapting to water shortage, and not giving incentives which can’t guarantee a better future for the island. We are also not so good at keeping greenery, avoiding fires, fighting fires, giving incentives to people to manage land, even non-agricultural land owners,” he added. (Source)

Recent History

Cyprus is situated in the eastern Mediterranean south of Turkey, north of Egypt, and east-southeast of Greece, It is the third-largest Mediterranean island and a busy tourist destination, attracting about 3 million tourists each year.

A former British colony, it gained independence from the UK in 1960 claiming sovereignty over 97% of the island and surrounding waters, with the United Kingdom controlling the remaining three percent. It became a member of the European Union May 1, 2004.

In 1974, following a period of violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and an attempted Greek Cypriot coup d’état aimed at annexing the island to Greece and sponsored by the Greek military junta of 1967-1974, Turkey invaded and occupied one-third of the island. This led to the displacement of thousands of Cypriots and the establishment of a separate Turkish Cypriot political entity in the north. Cyprus is thus divided to:

  • The area under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus in the south of the island
  • The Turkish-occupied area in the north, calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (recognized only by Turkey)
  • The United Nations-controlled Green Line, separating the two
  • Two “Sovereign Base Areas” or military bases Akrotiri and Dhekelia, where United Kingdom is the sovereign despite Cypriot independence. (Source: Wikimedia)


Map of Cyprus: WSBA and ESBA (British military bases at Akrotiri and Dhekelia) are in pink, UN buffer zone dividing the northern (Turkish) and southern (Greek) administrations is shown in gray. The map is adapted from the CIA World Factbook map. (Source).

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