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news: tuesday, April 7-8, 2008 7:10 pm, pst


Posted: April 7-8, 2008, Draft edition

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Environmental Destruction Page # 9

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1) The Article printed below is complete. After the article there's analysis and commentary, links to related articles, and a link to the database with suggested search terms.

Climate change will erode foundations of health

WHO Director-General warns vulnerable populations at greatest risk of projected impacts



7 APRIL 2008 | GENEVA -- Scientists tell us that the evidence the Earth is warming is "unequivocal." Increases in global average air and sea temperature, ice melting and rising global sea levels all help us understand and prepare for the coming challenges. In addition to these observed changes, climate-sensitive impacts on human health are occurring today. They are attacking the pillars of public health. And they are providing a glimpse of the challenges public health will have to confront on a large scale, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan warned today on the occasion of World Health Day.

"The core concern is succinctly stated: climate change endangers human health," said Dr Chan. "The warming of the planet will be gradual, but the effects of extreme weather events -- more storms, floods, droughts and heat waves -- will be abrupt and acutely felt. Both trends can affect some of the most fundamental determinants of health: air, water, food, shelter and freedom from disease."

Human beings are already exposed to the effects of climate-sensitive diseases and these diseases today kill millions. They include malnutrition, which causes over 3.5 million deaths per year, diarrhoeal diseases, which kill over 1.8 million, and malaria, which kills almost 1 million.

Examples already provide us with images of the future:

European heat wave, 2003: Estimates suggest that approximately 70 000 more people died in that summer than would have been expected.

Rift Valley fever in Africa: Major outbreaks are usually associated with rains, which are expected to become more frequent as the climate changes.

Hurricane Katrina, 2005: More than 1 800 people died and thousands more were displaced. Additionally, health facilities throughout the region were destroyed critically affecting health infrastructure.

Malaria in the East African highlands: In the last 30 years, warmer temperatures have also created more favourable conditions for mosquito populations in the region and therefore for transmission of malaria.

Epidemics of cholera in Bangladesh: They are closely linked to flooding and unsafe water.


These trends and events cannot be attributed solely to climate change but they are the types of challenges we expect to become more frequent and intense with climate changes. They will further strain health resources that, in many regions, are already under severe stress.

"Although climate change is a global phenomenon, its consequences will not be evenly distributed," said Dr Chan. "In short, climate change can affect problems that are already huge, largely concentrated in the developing world, and difficult to control."

To address the health effects of climate change, WHO is coordinating and supporting research and assessment on the most effective measures to protect health from climate change, particularly for vulnerable populations such as women and children in developing countries, and is advising Member States on the necessary adaptive changes to their health systems to protect their populations.

WHO and its partners -- including the UN Environment Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the UN World Meteorological Organization -- are devising a workplan and research agenda to get better estimates of the scale and nature of health vulnerability and to identify strategies and tools for health protection. WHO recognizes the urgent need to support countries in devising ways to cope. Better systems for surveillance and forecasting, and stronger basic health services, can offer health protection. WHO will be working closely with its Member States in coming years to develop effective means of adapting to a changing climate and reducing its effects on human health.

"Through its own actions and its support to Member States," said Dr Chan, "WHO is committed to do everything it can to ensure all is done to protect human health from climate change."


For further information contact:


Sari Setiogi

Telephone: +4122 791 3576

Mobile +4179 701 9467



John Rainford

Telephone: +41 22 791 3982

Mobile +41 79 516 3709


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2) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.


A 'perfect storm' of hunger

The U.N.'s World Food Program is struggling as costs of food and fuel skyrocket while the numbers of people needing help surge across the globe. Millions are in danger.

By Edmund Sanders and Tracy Wilkinson

Los Angeles Times , April 1, 2008,0,5185698.story



KHARTOUM, SUDAN — For 15 years, he's been a "grocer" for Africa's destitute. But he's never seen anything like this.

Pascal Joannes' job is to find grains, beans and oils to fill a food basket for Sudan's neediest people, from Darfur refugees to schoolchildren in the barren south.

Lately Joannes has spent less time shopping and more time poring over commodity price lists, usually in disbelief.

"White beans at $1,160," the white-haired Belgian, 52, cries in despair over the price of a metric ton. "Complete madness! I bought them two years ago in Ethiopia for $235."

Joannes is head of procurement in Sudan for the World Food Program, the United Nations agency in charge of alleviating world hunger.

Meteoric food and fuel prices, a slumping dollar, the demand for biofuels and a string of poor harvests have combined to abruptly multiply WFP's operating costs, even as needs increase. In other words, if the number of needy people stayed constant, it would take much more money to feed them. But the number of people needing help is surging dramatically. It is what WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran calls "a perfect storm" hitting the world's hungry.

The agency last month issued an emergency appeal for money to cover a shortfall tallied at more than half a billion dollars and growing. It said it might have to reduce food rations or cut people off altogether.

The most vulnerable are people like those in Sudan, whom Joannes is struggling to feed and who rely heavily, perhaps exclusively, on the aid. But at least as alarming, WFP officials say, is the emerging community of newly needy.

These are the people who once ate three meals a day and could afford nominal healthcare or to send their children to school. They are more likely to live in urban areas and buy most of their food in a market.

They are the urban poor in Afghanistan, where the government has asked for urgent help. They are families in Central America, who have been getting by on remittances from relatives abroad, but who can no longer make ends meet as the price of corn and beans nearly doubles.

"This is largely a new caseload," John Aylieff, the emergency coordinator for the WFP's assessment division, said at the agency's Rome headquarters.

Aylieff and his staff assess the vulnerability of people in 121 countries. About 40 of the nations have been judged to be at risk of serious hunger, or already suffering from it.

The criteria include: how much does the country rely on imported food; how large is the urban population; what is the current rate of inflation, and what portion of their income do families spend on food (in Burundi, for example, it's 77%; in the U.S. it's 10%).

In the short term, officials predict food riots and political unrest, as has occurred in recent weeks in Pakistan, Indonesia and Egypt. In Egypt, shortages of government- subsidized bread recently triggered strikes, demonstrations and violence in which seven people died.

In the longer term, overall health worsens and education levels decline.

"Finally they end up selling their productive assets [and] that pretty much means they will remain economically destitute, even when things come back to normal," said Arif Husain, senior program advisor for the assessment division, who recently moved to the WFP's Rome headquarters after years in Sudan.

Countries are taking steps to avert widespread hunger. Some, like Egypt and Indonesia, have quickly expanded subsidies; others, like China, have banned exports of precious commodities.

Afghanistan was the first country to request urgent help. President Hamid Karzai in January asked the agency to feed an additional 2.5 million people, most of them urban poor, in addition to the 5 million rural people the agency already feeds.

In Kabul, the Afghan capital, Abdul Fatah and his wife Nooriya raise their five children on her teacher's salary; he lost his government job a year ago.

"Life is getting harder day by day," said Fatah, who is 45 but looks far older. "We cannot even buy meat once a month."

The price of wheat in Afghanistan has risen by more than two-thirds in the last year. Because staples such as rice, oil and beans are also expensive, Fatah and his wife are sometimes unable to buy pens and notebooks for the children to use in school. Unable to afford both food and lamp oil, the household goes to sleep early.

A world away in El Salvador, in hills that once yielded abundant harvests of coffee, signs of malnutrition are spreading.

Salvadorans need twice the money to buy the same amount of food they could purchase a year ago, meaning their nutritional sustenance is cut in half, the WFP says.

In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak ordered army-owned bakeries that produce 1.2 million loaves a day to pour more bread onto the general market.

The government also allocated almost $1 billion to bread subsidies for 2008. It subsidizes 210 million loaves of flat round bread a day, the main item on most Egyptians' daily menu. As commodity prices soared, subsidized bread became precious, and fights broke out in queues at bakeries and stores.

The price of unsubsidized bread has gone up 10 times, and rice doubled in a single week, said Farag Wahba Ahmed, an official with Egypt's Chamber of Commerce.

In Sudan, where the WFP oversees the largest emergency food operation in the world, aid officials are drafting contingency plans for coping with a smaller supply. In Darfur, especially, they must tread carefully.

"There's no way we can come in and say, 'We have no more food,' " Joannes said. "It would create riots."

Darfur, the beleaguered region in western Sudan, accounts for three-fourths of the WFP's operation here, which in total distributes 632,000 metric tons of food valued at $700 million to 5.6 million people (more than in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia combined).

The WFP has sought to lower costs by turning to regional markets to buy food. Buying from local farmers helps the budget since it eliminates shipping costs. But because the WFP is such a big buyer, it has to be careful not to distort the market.

A 30% increase in costs in Sudan in the last four months is blamed chiefly on rising prices for locally produced sorghum. The WFP is already absorbing 6% of the national production and fears that buying more would destabilize the market.

Back in Rome, Nicole Menage, head of the food procurement service, receives daily, sometimes hourly, reports on rising prices and falling reserves. It's like a mammoth board game, with multiple moving pieces.

She and her associates last year managed to find in China 12,000 tons of maize needed urgently in nearby North Korea. Then, suddenly, China slapped on an export ban and the agency ended up finding the maize in Tanzania.

What's Really Going on Here??

Impending Famine

Open your Mind, and see the burning planet

only you can prevent global crisping

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., April 6, 2008

On april 6th, 2007 it appeared that the upcoming summer crops in the northern hemisphere were going to suffer from a range of hardships, from excessive heat in europe, drought across much of the US, to an erratic monsoon in asia and south asia. As it turned out, there were substantial declines in crop yields last summer.

This trend of declining crop yields across the northern hemisphere has continued through this winter, with freak weather destroying winter crops across asia, africa, and the US.

The aberrations in the seasons we are now experiencing appear to be pushing the impending summer planting deeper into spring. As late summer heat has become hot enough to damage most summer crops, planting late in spring reduces summer crop yields.

Expect significant declines in summer crop production across the northern hemisphere again this summer due to late planting, unpredictable weather, and increased temperature

As global food stocks are at record lows, and commodity prices at record highs, it appears that the increase of unpredictable summer weather patterns has the potential to trigger the threat of a global famine by october of 2008.

The basic cause of this crisis is that we have destabilized global weather patterns at the same time that the global population is testing the ability of our agricultural skills to provide the minimal levels of production required to feed this massive population.

Exactly the same situation applies to our water and energy use.

The magnitude and danger of the situation we have created demands a significant reevaluation of how we approach life, starting with our goals and the means we pursue our goals.

Our goal of endless growth in population, consumption, and profit through the means of a corporate dominated state has proved to be both practically and ethically flawed.

Practically speaking, our growth and consumption is the main cause of the climatic chaos we are experiencing. Ethically speaking, our corporate state is a violation of our own political values and our constitution. In pursuit of the resources our growth and consumption demand we have become the main source of tyranny and oppression around the world.

Until we change our goals and means, we will be incapable of confronting the many-headed crisis our irresponsibility has created. Our corporate and special interests have used our government to consume the world. Our democratic rights and constitution were the appetizers. It's time to end the orgy of greed. It's time to take our government back.

The first step towards a cleaner world is clean elections. Until we diminish the power of our special interests to buy politicians and policy, our government will continue to be a tool of the most powerful interests in our country, and they will continue to use our own wealth and power against us, and what little remains of our natural environment.

The same greed that made our country so rich and powerful is the real source of the impending global famine. Unless we wise up fast, america's greed will be the main reason our planet will be incapable of feeding us.

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Corruption Updates 39, 10th article on the page, "Top Scientists Warn of Water Shortages and Disease Linked to Global Warming"

Corruption Updates 47, 9th article on the page, "Earth Faces a Grim Future: UN Report"

Corruption Updates 53, 2nd article on the page, "Arctic Sea Ice Melting Faster, a Study Finds:Climate Change has already happened"


Corruption Updates 71, 9th article on the page, "Only 50 years left' for sea fish"

Corruption Updates 76, 7th article on the page, "Study finds huge decreases in bird populations"


Corruption Updates 94, 8th article on the page, "Climate Change Debate Hinges On Economics"

AP, August 7, 2007; South Asia Flood Victims Hit by Disease: Global Weather Crisis Deepens for Billions in South Asia

NY Times, August 8, 2007; Warming Threatens Farms in India, U.N. Official Says: Global Warming puts Billions at Risk


Corruption Updates 106, 1st article on the page, Over 1,000 Displaced by Midwest Flooding

Corruption Updates 106, 2nd article on the page, US Midwest heatwave kills dozens

BBC, August 4, 2007; European heatwaves 'have doubled'

SF Chron, August 7, 2007; Exploring an amphibian epidemic: Tadpoles are the Canaries in the Global Mine

Corruption Updates 125, 2nd article on the page, Natural decline 'hurting lives'


Big Oil: China & India demand massive increase in global oil production, consumption, NYT, Nov 7, 2007

Australians: More Co2 per capita, USA #1 in total emissions, BBC, Nov 14, 2007


Senate Dems forming worthless Co2 Bill, McClatchy, Dec 3, 2007

Essay: Boxer's liar's Game: Maintain growth and Pollution while looking "Green"

Nuke power problem: replacing one poison with another, NYT Dec 5, 2007

Essay: Nukes=Death: Democrap's economic and demographic growth program brings Nukes, death to environment, and our democracy.


UN IPCC Report, UN Human Devel. Report, Bali climate meet,  Late Nov to Dec 3, 2007

Comment: wealth and power, not wisdom and democracy, setting agenda @ Bali


Equatorial heat dominating weather patterns, N & S poles losing roles as weather engines, BBC, Dec 4, 2007


The Corruption Database



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3) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Fuel or folly?

Ethanol and the law of unintended consequences


Cinnamon Stillwell


Wednesday, April 2, 2008


In the pantheon of well-intentioned governmental policies gone awry, massive ethanol biofuel production may go down as one of the biggest blunders in history. An unholy alliance of environmentalists, agribusiness, biofuel corporations and politicians has been touting ethanol as the cure to all our environmental ills, when in fact it may be doing more harm than good. An array of unintended consequences is wreaking havoc on the economy, food production and, perhaps most ironically, the environment.

In the search for alternatives to fossil fuels, many countries have turned to biofuels, which has led to a booming business for those involved. In the United States, ethanol is the primary focus and, as a result, corn growers and ethanol producers are subsidized heavily by the government.

But it turns out that the use of food for fuel is wrought with difficulties. Corn, or some derivative thereof, is a common ingredient in a variety of packaged food products. So it's only natural that, as it becomes a rarer commodity due to the conflicting demands of biofuel production, the prices of those products will go up. The prices of food products containing barley and wheat are also on the rise as farmers switch to growing subsidized corn crops. During a time of economic instability, the last thing Americans need is higher prices at the grocery store, but that's exactly what they're getting.

At the same time, corn is the main ingredient in livestock feed and its dearth is causing prices of those products to rise as well. Farmers have had to scramble to find alternative sources of feed for their livestock and, in some cases, have had to sell off animals they can no longer afford to feed. This, in turn, has led to an increase in the price of meat and dairy products for consumers.

The hit on the livestock industry has also affected jobs, with countless employees being laid off due to the downturn. Pilgrim's Pride Corp., the nation's largest chicken producer, announced in March that it was closing a North Carolina chicken processing plant, and six of 13 U.S. distribution centers, due to the jump in feed costs. Even Iowa, the state that produces the most corn and therefore the supposed beneficiary of new jobs due to ethanol production, has seen its unemployment rate rise over the past year. The plant layoffs and closings already underway due to global competition and the fluctuating market have continued unabated.

Another adverse impact of ethanol production is potential water shortage. One gallon of ethanol requires four gallons of water to produce. According to a recent report from the National Research Council, an institution that focuses on science, engineering, technology and health, "increased production could greatly increase pressure on water supplies for drinking, industry, hydropower, fish habitat and recreation."

Not only is ethanol less productive than gasoline as a fuel source, its production is hurting the environment it was intended to preserve, particularly in the Third World. The amount of land needed to grow corn and other biofuel sources means that their production is leading to deforestation, the destruction of wetlands and grasslands, species extinction, displacement of indigenous peoples and small farmers, and loss of habitats that store carbon.

Scientists predict that the Gulf of Mexico, already polluted by agricultural runoff from the United States, will only get worse as demand for ethanol, and therefore corn, increases. Meanwhile, rain forests throughout Central and South America are being razed to make way for land to grow biofuel components.

Tortilla shortages in Mexico, rising flour prices in Pakistan, Indonesian and Malaysian forests being cut down and burned to make palm oil, and encroachments upon the Amazon rainforest due to Brazilian sugar cane production — all these developments indicate that biofuels are turning out to be more destructive than helpful.

That means limiting the expansion of agriculture, a daunting task as the world's population keeps expanding. And saving forests is probably an impossibility so long as vast expanses of cropland are used to grow modest amounts of fuel. The biofuels boom, in short, is one that could haunt the planet for generations — and it's only getting started."

Accordingly, the United Nations has expressed skepticism about ethanol and other biofuels. But the European Union seems to have bought into the biofuel craze with proposed legislation to mandate its use. This proposal has set off alarm bells in the United Kingdom, particularly with the British government's chief science advisor, Professor John Beddington, who has warned that a food and deforestation crisis is likely to overtake any climate concerns. "The idea that you cut down rainforest to actually grow biofuels seems profoundly stupid," he stated. Similarly, the British government's top environmental scientist, Professor Robert Watson, called the policy "totally insane."

Some British environmentalists apparently agree, as do members of the American environmental movement. As noted in the aforementioned Time article, the Natural Resources Defense Council's Nathanael Greene, the author of a 2004 report that rallied fellow environmentalists to support biofuels, is "looking at the numbers in an entirely new way," now that biofuel production exists on such a large scale.

None of this has deterred American politicians from jumping on the ethanol bandwagon. No doubt, they see it as a means of garnering political support from the farm lobby and in particular ethanol producers, to whom they have provided generous federal subsidies. Indeed, President Bush, who according to his 2006 State of the Union address is a switchgrass enthusiast, has signed a bipartisan energy bill that will greatly increase support to the ethanol industry, as well as mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022.

While the search for alternatives to fossil fuels, and in particular the dependence upon foreign sources thereof, is laudable, future avenues must be considered more carefully. As the looming ethanol disaster has demonstrated, yet again, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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ethanol fraud, slate, july 19, 2005

Dems try to switch subsidies from big oil to industrial agriculture for ethanol fraud/boodoggle, nyt, June 18, 2007

Riots and hunger feared as demand for grain sends food costs soaring, guardian, 12-4-07

Toll Of Climate Change On World Food Supply Could Be Worse Than Thought, terra news, 12-04-07

Boxer says she'll back corporate agriculture, sf chron, December 4, 2007

Industry Flexes Muscle, Dems Swallow Weaker Energy Bill Passes, NYT, December 14, 2007

World food stocks dwindling rapidly, UN warns, iht, 12-17-07

Food Crisis expands. ethanol: starving people to fill your car, iht, 12-18-07

Fuel or folly? sf chron, 4-2-08


essay: growth assures climate meltdown, committee, 6-07

essay: seasons already shifted, committee, 5-07


The Corruption Database



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4) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Flood victims use respite to salvage what they can

The nation's heartland braces for more rain. In Piedmont, Mo., phone lines are out, bathing water comes from a motel pool and mud is everywhere.

By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

March 26, 2008



PIEDMONT, MO -- . -- Before the skies darken and rain returns to this soaked corner of the heartland, people are scrambling to salvage what they can.

Thunderstorms are predicted to hit this blue-collar Missouri town of not quite 2,000 by today. It's a frightening forecast, after a foot or more of rain fell last week across parts of the Midwest, triggering floods in Missouri that left five people dead, submerged rural towns and swept residents away as they tried to flee.

It's not over: National Weather Service meteorologists warned that last week's floods were just a preview of what promises to be a spring filled with record-breaking rainfall and some of the worst flooding the central part of the country has seen in decades.

When residents took a break from drying out sodden carpets and wet shotguns, they nervously wondered if this was the beginning of the biggest flood season since 1993.

Those were the most costly and devastating floods to ravage the central United States in modern history, according to Patrick Slattery, a spokesman for the National Weather Service's central region headquarters in Kansas City. For months, floodwaters swirled across the Midwest and the Plains, causing 48 deaths and $26.7 billion in damage. Agriculture levees crumbled. Farmland and transportation routes were destroyed. Thousands were forced from their homes.

"Everyone in Piedmont is freaked about what's coming," said Wanda Patton, who manages the Stone Crest Motel, where locals had been using its pool's chlorinated water to bathe and wash dishes. "Everyone I know is scared."

"We've had three 100-year floods in the last quarter century or so," said Lynn Charlton, 79, a retired head carpenter with the Army Corps of Engineers. "Each one has been getting worse. I live about a quarter mile from the creek, and I found a catfish flopping around in my backyard."

Locals had never seen so much water rise -- and so fast -- as they did March 18. It was just days before Easter, when the downtown shops were decorated with pastel-hued paper eggs.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Rise of global famine

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., April 8, 2008

Lets see if I have the scenario correct; floods and heat of biblical proportions hit the mid-west last august. Then a massive ice storm gave the mid-west a thick coat of ice in december. The a massive tornado storm cut a swath of destruction through the mid-west in early february. Now another flood of historic dimensions has again drowned the mid-west, and they are expecting constant flooding through the spring.

Weather patterns around the world are dysfunctional, producing massive flooding across south america and africa, while burying china under an unprecedented freak snow storm.

This winter's global shift in weather patterns has seriously damaged the northern hemisphere's winter crops, and have disrupted planting times for the upcoming summer crops.

This summer the weather pattern changes that have been emerging in the asian and south asian continent will significantly deepen, presenting a high probability that the monsoon will fail to support asia's summer rice crop.

The emerging changes in the weather patterns indicate that the heating and drought conditions that have been diminishing the northern hemisphere's mid-lattitude crops will deepen this summer, pushing european and american crop yields significantly downward.

It appears that by october of this year we are going to discover that we have grown ourselves into a global famine.

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Freak Weather in the MidWest


Corruption Updates 106, 8-26-07 , Over 1,000 Displaced by Midwest Flooding

Corruption Updates 106, 8-20-07, US Midwest heatwave kills dozens

Freak Tropical Weather Floods Mid-West, committee, 8-29-07


Equatorial heat dominating weather patterns, N & S poles losing roles as weather engines, BBC, Dec 4, 2007


Deadly Ice Storm Glazes mid west, cbs, 12-11-07

Freak tropical storm, tornadoes, hit mid west, nyt, January 9, 2008


global warming kills 54: Out of control tropical moisture sparks massive tornado storm, ap, 2-6-08


Massive mid-west flooding hits yet again, lat, 3-26-08


june 2008

U.S. Heat Wave Sears East; Midwest Faces Flooding, bloomberg, 6-8-08

1 Dead, 1 Missing In Indiana Flood, Severe Flooding Grips Portion Of State, indy channel, 6-8-08


essay: We grew ourselves into this mess, committee, 6-26-07


background; essay/links: freak weather/nature dealing death to mid west for over a year now. essay: climitologist's failure. essay: freak weather is the new "normal." links: the Environment.


Twister Destroys Okie Town

global warming ravages mid-west yet again: It's an annual, four-season event now

Tornadoes rake state, tulsaworld, 2-11-09

Unseasonal twisters create carnage, newsau, 2-12-09




Links: The environment


The Seasonal Shift:

Freak weather(essay)

Seasonal Shift (essay)

Endless Growth not Questioned (essay)

The Corruption Database


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5) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.


Bolivia declares flood emergency

bbc, 2-13-08

Bolivian President Evo Morales has declared a national disaster as his government tries to cope with the aftermath of widespread flooding.

Floods caused by rain have left more than 60 dead in the eastern lowlands.

Mr Morales on Monday toured the worst-hit province, Beni, where thousands of people have had to leave their homes amid rising floodwaters.

It is the second year in a row that Bolivia has seen such floods, which officials blame on climate change.

The floods have left more than 40,000 people homeless, officials say.

Rivers have broken their banks and floodwaters are threatening to breach a raised road surrounding the provincial capital of Trinidad, home to some 300,000 people.

The United Nations says the flooding is expected to get worse as more rain is forecast.

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5b) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.


Namibia braces for more flooding

aljazeera, 3-4-08

Further flooding is expected in Namibia, where 42 people have already died since early February due to the rising waters.

About 4,500 people have been displaced in the centre and north of the southern African country after heavy rains in neighbouring Angola.

About 250,000 people in the densely populated Owamba region have been cut off.

Many can be reached only by helicopter.

Guido van Langenhove, head of hydrology in Namibia, said more floods are expected because Angola's southern Cunene province has received non-stop rain for the past three weeks.

Van Langenhove said: "The end is not yet in sight.

"The Cuvelai area is a disaster, the floods are at the highest level we have seen in over 35 years," he said, referring to an area in Angola north of the Namibian town of Oshakati.

Heavy rain in Angola washed away roads and bridges and forced the closure of scores of schools in the north.

At least 45 people have died in Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi since torrential rains swept through southern Africa in December and January.

The subsequent floods have swept away livestock and crops, prompting fears of food shortages and outbreaks of disease.


6) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Brazil military will combat dengue outbreak in Rio

BRASILIA, Mar. 23, 2008 (Reuters) — Brazil's military will help fight an outbreak of dengue fever in Rio de Janeiro, the defense ministry said at the weekend, after the disease killed 49 people and made more than 30,000 ill this year.

Public hospitals in the northern and western districts of the city were overwhelmed by the number of patients seeking treatment at the weekend. Many complained about long delays.

More than 30,000 people have fallen ill with the disease this year, state health officials said on Thursday.

Rio de Janeiro Health Secretary described the outbreak as an epidemic, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

Dengue is a viral disease spread by the Aedes mosquito and there is no vaccine or drug to treat it.

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7) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Asia shows way to fight dengue as global spread looms

By Tan Ee Lyn
Posted 7:03 am EDT

HONG KONG, Mar. 12, 2008 (Reuters) From Africa to Asia to Latin America, around 2.5 billion people live in areas that are at risk of dengue fever, a viral disease spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. There is no vaccine or drugs to treat the illness which killed an estimated 22,000 people last year, most of them children.

Due to international travel and climate change, the Aedes aegypti mosquito's habitat is spreading.

In January, health officials warned that the disease was poised to move across the United States. It has been spreading aggressively in Latin America and the Caribbean, reaching epidemic levels last year.


International travel has made the spread of dengue inevitable, experts say.

"There is always a risk for the borders ... In central America, you have a lot of people moving up north," Ehrenberg said. "There is a risk of people moving in with dengue."

Ehrenberg says there is little to stop dengue from spreading. He compares it to West Nile virus which appeared in New York in 1999 and then spread across the United States, Canada and Mexico. West Nile killed 98 people in the United States last year.

"As you can see with West Nile virus, there is hardly anything you can do to control its spread in the U.S. It's all over the place now. There's always the risk of introducing, when the climatic conditions are right," Ehrenberg said.

Both dengue and West Nile are spread by mosquitoes.

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NY TIMES, 3-12-07: Top Scientists Warn of Water Shortages and Disease Linked to Global Warming: CLIMATE ALREADY CHANGED, NO ONE NOTICED

lat, April 6, 2007, "Earth Faces a Grim Future: UN Report"

AP, August 7, 2007; South Asia Flood Victims Hit by Disease: Global Weather Crisis Deepens for Billions in South Asia

BBC NEWS: 8-20-07, US Midwest heatwave kills dozens

Climate Change Spurring Dengue Rise, Experts Say, National Geographic News, 9-21-07


Corruption Updates 106, UC team believes deadly fungus may be killing frogs

BBC, August 4, 2007; European heatwaves 'have doubled'


AP, August 7, 2007; South Asia Flood Victims Hit by Disease: Global Weather Crisis Deepens for Billions in South Asia


Natural decline 'hurting lives,' bbc, 10-25-07


Big Oil: China & India demand massive increase in global oil production, consumption, NYT, Nov 7, 2007

Co2 sets record in 2006, AP, 11-23


Riots and hunger feared as demand for grain sends food costs soaring, guardian, 12-4-07

Toll Of Climate Change On World Food Supply Could Be Worse Than Thought, terra news, 12-04-07


2007 one of warmest on record, BBC, 13 December 2007


Brazil military will combat dengue outbreak in Rio, reuters, 3-23-08

Asia shows way to fight dengue as global spread looms, newsdaily, 3-12-08


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8) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Warning on plastic's toxic threat

By David Shukman

BBC environment correspondent, Midway

Thursday, 27 March 2008, 11:57 GMT


Plastic waste in the oceans poses a potentially devastating long-term toxic threat to the food chain, according to marine scientists.

Studies suggest billions of microscopic plastic fragments drifting underwater are concentrating pollutants like DDT.

Most attention has focused on dangers that visible items of plastic waste pose to seabirds and other wildlife.

But researchers are warning that the risk of hidden contamination could be more serious.

"The thing that's most worrisome about the plastic is its tenaciousness, its durability"

Matt Brown, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Dr Richard Thompson of the University of Plymouth has investigated how plastic degrades in the water and how tiny marine organisms, such as barnacles and sand-hoppers, respond.

He told the BBC: "We know that plastics in the marine environment will accumulate and concentrate toxic chemicals from the surrounding seawater and you can get concentrations several thousand times greater than in the surrounding water on the surface of the plastic.

"Now there's the potential for those chemicals to be released to those marine organisms if they then eat the plastic."

Shoreline mess

Once inside an organism, the risk is that the toxins may then be transferred into the creature itself.

"There are different conditions in the gut environment compared to surrounding sea water and so the conditions that cause those chemicals to accumulate on the surface of the plastic may well be reversed - leading to a release of those chemicals when the plastic is eaten."

It is as if the plastic particles act as magnets for poisons in the ocean.

Research on stretches of shoreline has shown that, at the microscopic level, plastic pollution is far worse than feared.

In a typical sample of the sandy material gathered at the high tide mark on shorelines, one-quarter of the total weight may be composed of plastic particles.

Studies have found that plastic traces have been identified on all seven continents.

Here on Midway, Matt Brown of the US Fish and Wildlife Service echoes the warnings of a long-term threat from plastic waste.

"The thing that's most worrisome about the plastic is its tenaciousness, its durability. It's not going to go away in my lifetime or my children's lifetimes.

"The plastic washing up on the beach today - if people don't take it away it'll still be here when my grandchildren walk these beaches."

8b) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.


Sea life counts dive for 2nd year

Decrease in essential plankton and krill disrupt food chain

Jane Kay, Chronicle Environment Writer

Friday, June 23, 2006

This is the time of the year when the ocean off the California coast should be at its most lush, teeming with vast schools of krill to feed whales and salmon as well as plenty of baby rockfish for seabirds, seals and fishermen's nets.

But based on new counts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, federal researchers are reporting an odd summer and a scarcity of some sea life from San Diego to Newport, Ore., for the second year in a row. And some scientists wonder if the warming of the world's oceans and atmosphere is playing a part.

"The upwelling that we normally expect in the springtime hasn't kicked in,'' said Frank Schwing, a NOAA oceanographer in Pacific Grove.

"We think there might be real consequences for the seabirds, fish and mammals.''

On the Farallon Islands, krill-eating Cassin's auklets are producing only a few chicks this year. Common murres, although plentiful in numbers, for the most part can't find the rockfish to keep their young alive.

Many scientists believe that the years of 2005 and 2006 should have been cold ones in the California Current, the band of coastal water from Baja California to British Columbia, according to calculations of naturally alternating cold and warm periods over the past millennia.

By now, the offshore waters should be roiling with plankton and the shrimp-like krill, the foundation of the ocean's food chain. Instead, the researchers say, the organisms appear to be in short supply.

Oceanographers are scratching their heads over the brand-new data. While they believe that global warming may be throwing off natural climate regimes, they don't know how the warming might eventually affect the California Current.

The penguin-like common murres, which number more than 200,000, apparently haven't been able to locate the small rockfish they feed their hatchlings. On this largest murre colony south of Alaska, researchers see parent birds trying unsuccessfully to stuff anchovies three times the size of baby rockfish into hungry mouths.

Rockfish counts are the lowest in 24 years of NOAA monitoring by offshore vessels, meaning that the fish stocks for Pacific snapper and other rockfish may be low in 2008 to 2012 when they would come to market. The inch-long krill is also turning up low numbers, report NOAA scientists.

The California ocean system is fed by both transport of colder, rich waters from the North Pacific and upwelling of deep sea life-filled cold waters. Only recently, scientists determined that warm and cold periods have alternated for thousands of years according to 15- to 20-year cycles called climate regimes, in part driven by the currents from the North Pacific and changes in atmospheric pressure and the direction of winter winds.

In this scheme, this should be a cold period.

The average catch rate of 100-day-old shortbelly rockfish was 24 per trawl over the past quarter century. In May and June 2005, the average rate was 0.15 fish per trawl, the lowest on record. This year is comparable to 2005, he said.

"We're getting El Niño-like conditions in non-El Niño years,'' Ralston said.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography biologist John McGowan, who started studying ocean conditions more than 50 years ago, said Thursday that there was "a great deal of disruption going on in food webs and it's climate related.''

"The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere right now is sufficient to keep trapping heat for a good many years into the future even if we don't put any more into the atmosphere,'' he said, citing the imbalance between the amount of heat coming in from the sun and the amount of heat going out into space.

"The California Current goes up and down like the stock market, but the ups and down are warmer,'' McGowan said, "and there's a long-term trend upward just as there is in the stock market.''

8c) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.



earth observatory, Nasa, August 9, 2004



For the second time in three years, a hypoxic “dead zone” has formed off the central Oregon Coast. It’s killing fish, crabs and other marine life and leading researchers to believe that a fundamental change may be taking place in ocean conditions in the northern Pacific Ocean.

The event appears similar to one in 2002, when an area of ocean water with low oxygen content formed in the nearshore Oregon coast between Newport and Florence, causing a massive die-off of fish and invertebrate marine species. The fact that it’s happening again is triggering concern among marine scientists.

In 2002, the dead zone appeared to be a one-time anomaly, an odd combination of climate, winds and upwelling patterns that led to a hypoxic event � a situation in which the oxygen level was so low it could not support most marine life � which had not been seen in the region’s recent history.

But continued research has shown that the same thing almost occurred last year and is now happening in full force again this year. Dissolved oxygen levels are a great deal lower than those seen in the past 40 years. This is a disturbing trend with an unknown cause that scientists now say may reflect a major change in ocean circulation patterns, with serious impacts on marine biology.

In the 2002 event, water at depths of 30-50 meters, within a mile or two of the shoreline, had dissolved oxygen levels in the range of 0.5 to 1 milliliters per liter � whereas a normal reading would be about four times that high. Any dissolved oxygen level below 1.4 milliliters per liter is considered hypoxic, capable of killing a wide range of fish, crabs, and other marine species that literally suffocate.

“The figures in 2002 were just off the charts compared to the historical norm, and already this year we have had some readings in that same range,” Chan said. “One recent measurement taken at a 30 meter depth station just 1.2 miles off Newport found dissolved oxygen at 0.8 milliliters per liter. Further offshore and to the south, we’ve found oxygen levels in deeper areas of the shelf to be as low as anything we saw in 2002.”

“Hypoxic conditions such as this have been documented in other nearshore upwelling ocean regions of the world,” said Jack Barth, a professor of oceanography at OSU, “but never on the central Oregon coast.”


Jane Lubchenco

Oregon State University


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9) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Warmer seas boosted hurricane frequency by 40 percent: study

by Staff Writers

Paris (AFP) Jan 30, 2008

Warmer seas accounted for 40 percent of a dramatic surge in hurricanes from the mid-1990s, according to a study released on Thursday by the British journal Nature.

The paper -- the first to calculate the precise contribution of sea temperatures in driving hurricane frequency -- could be a major contribution to scientists struggling to understand impacts from global warming, its authors say.

Hurricanes -- the term for fierce cyclones that brew in the Atlantic and threaten Central America, the Caribbean and southern United States -- are known to have several causes.

One of them is the raw fuel of heat and moisture, provided by seas warmed to at least 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Another, called vertical wind shear, is the angle of prevailing winds. These dictate whether the infant storm will develop into the wheeling shape of a hurricane or instead be torn to be pieces.

British researchers Mark Saunders and Adam Lea of the Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre at University College London, looked at yearly US meteorological data for hurricanes between 1965 and 2005 and compared these to a 50-year average.

Over the half century, there were around six hurricanes per year on average, roughly half of which were intense hurricanes.

But for the 10 years from 1996 to 2005, the tally rose to about eight hurricanes per year, about four of which were intense ones.

Hurricanes that made landfall in the United States also became more frequent -- one extra storm every three years or so, statistically speaking.

After stripping out the role of wind in hurricane generation, the researchers calculate that an increase of 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 Fahrenheit) was responsible for about 40 percent of the rise in hurricane activity.

Last year, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC) said it was "likely" that tropical cyclones will become more intense this century. The storms could pack higher peak winds and heavier rainfall as tropical seas warmed.

The 1996-2005 decade climaxed with Hurricane Katrina, the most devastating storm ever to whack the United States.

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10) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Study: Contaminent Levels High in Parks



(BILLINGS, Mont.) — Pesticides, heavy metals and other airborne contaminants are raining down on national parks across the West and Alaska, turning up at sometimes dangerously high levels in lakes, plants and fish.

A sweeping, six-year federal study released Tuesday found evidence of 70 contaminants in 20 national parks and monuments — from Denali in Alaska and Glacier in Montana, to Big Bend in Texas and Yosemite in California.

The findings revealed that some of the Earth's most pristine wilderness is still within reach of the toxic byproducts of the industrial age.

"Contaminants are everywhere. You can't get more remote than these northern parts of Alaska and the high Rockies," said Michael Kent, a fish researcher with Oregon State University who co-authored the study.

The substances detected ranged from mercury produced by power plants and industrial chemicals such as PCBs to the banned insecticides dieldrin and DDT. Those can cause health problems in humans including nervous system damage, dampened immune system responses and lowered reproductive success.

Contaminants that accumulated in fish exceeded human consumption thresholds at the eight parks that researchers focussed on most: Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Mount Rainier, Olympic, Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Gates of the Arctic and Denali national parks and Alaska's Noatak National Preserve.

Also, mercury levels at the eight parks and DDT levels at Glacier and Sequoia and Kings Canyon exceeded health thresholds for fish-eating wildlife. Kent said he found airborne contaminants are causing male fish to develop female organs in some parks.

Much of the contamination is thought to have come from overseas — traveling global air currents from Europe and Asia.

But researchers said they were surprised to find substantial contamination from the local use of legal pesticides, particularly in agricultural areas around Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks.

University of Washington atmospheric researcher Daniel Jaffe said scientists previously thought banning substances like DDT and dieldrin would lessen the persistence of chemicals in the environment.

"We replaced them with pesticides with much shorter lifetimes in the environment," Jaffe said. "But in places like the Central Valley of California, we are applying many, many tons of these every year. ... We now know they can move substantial distances."

A parks advocacy group called the federal report "a wake-up call" that should mobilize Congress to take a tougher stance on air pollution.

"We can take steps to reduce mercury emissions from power plants, steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming," said Will Hammerquist with the National Parks Conservation Association.

The $6 million study is known as the Western Airborne Contaminants Assessment Project. It is the most comprehensive to date on the distribution and concentration of contaminants outside developed areas, according to the project's scientific director, Dixon Landers with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom that remoteness means less pollution, Landers said many of the parks — particularly those at higher elevations and in colder climates — actually are at higher risk.

Mercury from power plants in China, for example, is borne across the Pacific in clouds that rise up when they hit West Coast mountains. That causes the mercury to drop out of the clouds attached to rain droplets or snowflakes, he said.

Release of the study, which was coordinated by the National Park Service, came after a delay of several months. A Park Service spokeswoman, Colleen Flanagan, said the delay was caused by the time needed to analyze the vast volumes of data collected, from 2002 to 2007.

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On this page

hunger increasing

1] climate change destroying health

2] Perfect storm of hunger

3] ethanol farce

global flooding, Disease

4] mid-west takes yet another flood

5] Bolivia declares flood emergency

5b] Namibia braces for more flooding

6] Brazil military will combat dengue outbreak in Rio

7] dengue spreads across asia

Oceans Trashed

8] plastic oceans: Warning on plastic's toxic threat

8b] Sea life counts dive for 2nd year (2006 report)


9] study: Warmer seas boosted hurricane frequency by 40 percent

industrial pollution in national parks

10] Study: Contaminent Levels High in Parks