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Global warming to increase terrorism ? PDF Print E-mail
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WASHINGTON

 Global warming could destabilize "struggling and poor" countries around the world, prompting mass migrations and creating breeding grounds for terrorists, the chairman of the National Intelligence Council told Congress. Climate change "will aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions," Thomas Fingar said.

"All of this threatens the domestic stability of a number of African, Asian, Central American and Central Asian countries."People are likely to flee destabilized countries, and some may turn to terrorism, he said."The conditions exacerbated by the effects of climate change could increase the pool of potential recruits into terrorist activity," he said.

"Economic refugees will perceive additional reasons to flee their homes because of harsher climates," Fingar predicted. That will put pressure on countries receiving refugees, many of which "will have neither the resources nor interest to host these climate migrants," he said in testimony to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.Reactions to the report broke down along partisan lines, with Democrats generally praising it and Republicans expressing doubts.

Committee members had concerns about the report's secrecy, reliability and use of intelligence resources.Global warming may have a slight positive effect on the United States, since it is likely to produce larger farming yields, Fingar saidBut it is also likely to result in storm surges that could affect nuclear facilities and oil refineries near coasts, water shortages in the Southwest and longer summers with more wildfires, the study found.International migration may also help spread disease, Fingar added, and climate change could put stress on international trade in essential commodities.

"The United States depends on a smooth-functioning international system ensuring the flow of trade and market access to critical raw materials, such as oil and gas, and security for its allies and partners. Climate change and climate change policies could affect all of these," he warned, "with significant geopolitical consequences."The report was the conclusion of the most comprehensive government analysis the U.S. intelligence community has ever conducted on climate change.

Fingar emphasized that it could make no hard and fast predictions, saying that the operative word in his assessment was "may."Wealthy countries will be able to handle the situation better than poorer ones, he said."We assess that no country will be immune to the effects of climate change, but some will be able to cope more effectively than others," he said.

"Most of the struggling and poor states that will suffer adverse impacts to their potential and economic security are in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Central and Southeast Asia."However, the spillover -- from potentially increased migration and water-related disputes -- could have a harmful global impact," he added.Fingar painted a mixed picture of the effects of climate change on the United States itself.

"Most studies suggest the United States as a whole will enjoy modest economic benefits over the next few decades, largely due to the increased crop yields," he said."Costs begin to mount thereafter, however, and some parts of the United States -- particularly built-up coastal areas -- will be at greater risk of extreme weather events and potentially high costs related to losses in complex infrastructure.

"The impact of fighting and preparing for climate change may be greater than the effect of global warming itself, Fingar said."Government, business and public efforts to develop mitigation and adaptation strategies to deal with climate change -- from policies to reduce greenhouse gases to plans to reduce exposure to climate change or capitalize on potential impacts -- may affect U.S. national security interests even more than the physical impacts of climate change itself," he said.

The report, the "National Intelligence Assessment on the National Security Implications of Global Climate Change to 2030," relied on U.S. government, military, academic and United Nations studies of climate change.The report itself is classified, which some members of the House committee objected to.Markey opened the hearing by saying "human beings all over the planet face death or damage or injury if we do not act."He blasted the White House stance on climate change, saying,

"The Bush administration continues to limit what their experts know. The president doesn't want America to know the real risk of global warming.""We have a lot of information where we are incapable of assessing it," Fingar conceded."There are a lot more pressing issues out there for the intelligence community to be focused on right now that would help keep America safe," he said.

The assessment "was a waste of time, a waste of resources for the intelligence community to be focused on this issue versus other folks in the government that could have done this job and have a responsibility for doing it."Fingar said the intelligence community had relied on the science of others because it did not itself monitor climate change. He said the assessment was based on midrange predictions of global warming

 
Another viewpoint to Global Warming PDF Print E-mail
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The Global Warming "consensus" is shattering right before our very eyes.
 
Of course it was inevitable that this would happen.  One agenda, one overzealous movement cannot control all of the science and all of the discourse forever, especially not when the facts start to lead people to the opposite conclusion.  

As Lord John Maynard Keynes, a British economist, once said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"
 
David Evans is a rocket scientist who served as a consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office for 6 years.  When he started in 1999, he bought into all the doomsday hype, and devoted himself to the study of the issue.  

By 2007, "the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming." 

Read more...
 
Power problems in the UK PDF Print E-mail
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Get ready for blackouts as we achieve full membership of the Third World 

It will not be long now before sensible people, and sensible businesses, start buying their own private electricity generators. The time is soon coming when power blackouts will be common in Britain, in the way they already are in the Third World.

They will be much worse than in the Third World, because we have become so dependent on electronics for everything we do.  Our whole commercial system, our phone network, our banks and our transport will simply come to a halt, for long, unpredictable periods each day, and probably cease to function in the middle of the night as well. As a result we will become poorer and more disorderly, and less able to cure the problem.

More well-ordered nations will begin to understand in detail that 50 years of demoralisation, egalitarian de-education and living beyond your means will eventually do irreversible damage. We will cease, with startling rapidity, to be able to live on the reputation for competence and reliability which it took our forebears two centuries to obtain.It is a sign of just how useless our political leaders are that they have done nothing to avoid this danger, being obsessed instead with the questionable problems of allegedly man-made global warming.

A request here: those who want to argue about man-made warming should go and do so with Lord (Nigel) Lawson, who has written much that is excellent and level-headed about this pseudo-religious mass panic. I claim no special knowledge on the subject, only the freedom to doubt what cannot actually be proved, to acknowledge that 'science' is not an infallible oracle and that scientists disagree on this subject; also the freedom to doubt the point of preparing expensively for something that may well not happen. 

What is not in doubt is that this country faces a real, measurable problem with generating electricity.  Several of our most important coal-fired power stations will soon have to close because they no longer meet European Union regulations on emissions, itself a reflection on what it means to lose your independence, and control of your own laws.

Many of our nuclear stations are already worn out and must close before long for more serious reasons. Much of the rest of our capacity depends on increasingly expensive natural gas, which will in coming years be subject to erratic supply and steeply rising costs, as demand increases and as Russia becomes Europe's main producer.

We also gather that the privatisation of electricity generation has also led to the loss of important companies specialising in power station construction, so that we will now have to import know-how and equipment which we once possessed, and even exported. How typical. The silly windmills which ruin so much of our hill country and moorland are absolutely no substitute for these things.

 The wind doesn't blow hard enough, or constantly enough,  to generate power all the time. Even if it did, the cost of building enough windmills to power this country (already adding greatly to electricity bills)  would be hopelessly high. They are so unreliable that conventional stations have to be kept running on standby, to kick in the moment the wind drops.

WE do not say these things because of a general hostility to renewable energy. We have some time for wave power, which would produce a considerable amount of renewable energy all the time, ideally suited to an island nation,  but for some reason the authorities seem uninterested in any serious large-scale wave-power development. It would take too long now.

It is just possible for us to avert this grave approaching power deficit, but only by an extraordinarily urgent and costly programme to build nuclear power stations on a  similar scale to those in France. This would probably need to be coupled with the construction of several clean coal-fired stations, fuelled by coal dug from reopened British pits. There's a bit of talk, but precious little action. And yes, I'd cheerfully live close to a nuclear power station (and I suggest we do as the French did, and offer subsidies to cities which accept them nearby).

Any major road is far more dangerous. The problems of waste disposal exist, but are soluble if we are reasonable about the possible risks. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island were both avoidable events, not fated, inevitable dooms.Energy policy is as decisive, and as interesting, as defence policy in determining the fate of a nation.

It is our unwisely heavy dependence on imported oil (which was always a choice, and never forced on us) that has governed much of our foreign policy for the past century. The Abadan crisis and the stupid overthrow of Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran were both caused by it. We, and the whole civilised world, pay to this day for the clumsy Anglo-American putsch which installed the Shah - a putsch involving Kermit Roosevelt of the CIA (Grandson of President Teddy Roosevelt, cousin of FDR) and Monty Woodhouse (later Tory MP for Oxford) of the SIS.

This led, eventually, to the Iranian revolution and the rule of the Ayatollahs, which we now resent so much.Oil, and the fear that we should not be able to guarantee our supply from the Gulf, also lay behind our silly adventure in Suez  - though as it turned out the development of Supertankers meant the Canal did not matter as much as we had thought. And, despite unbelievable denials all round, oil was without doubt a motor in our involvement in Iraq,. and our increasingly troubled arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

We should also mention the Nigeria/Biafra problems in the days of Harold Wilson.I have never myself seen why it should be considered so wrong to go to war for oil, since we would perish without it, thanks to our unwise decision to become almost totally dependent on it. Much of the most decisive fighting in World War Two was aimed at securing or obtaining oil, or denying it to the enemy.   

I just prefer honesty on this score, and suspect that there are better ways of securing supplies than clumsy diplomacy followed by armed force.As a sideline to this, I think more people should know the astonishing story of the development of the US relationship with Saudi Arabia, beginning with the  fascinating meeting between Franklin Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud aboard the cruiser USS Quincy in February 1945 (which may have involved that unbelievably strange figure Harry St John Philby, father of the traitor Kim Philby) . 

Beautiful Arab carpets covered the cruiser's steel deck for the picturesque occasion. This encounter, one of the last important acts of Franklin Roosevelt's life,  led to the creation of the USA's real 'special relationship' . It also led to the establishment of the Saudi Ambassador in Washington as part of the 'permanent government' of the USA - and presumably a reciprocal arrangement in Saudi Arabia which might explain the USA's constant foreign policy bias against Shia Iran, much loathed by Wahhabi Saudis.

Then again, it seems increasingly that our own North Sea Oil, which could have been used as the basis for a complete retooling of our economy and society, has been squandered on short-term measures and will be regarded by historians of the 22nd century (probably Chinese) as one of our greatest national lost opportunities.But I digress.

One of the main functions of government is to ensure that the country has reliable supplies of the strategic materials needed to keep its economy functioning. One of those is energy.This policy also involves ensuring that the country does not become too dependent on unreliable or expensive imports. It is a mystery to me that we have made our transport system so wholly dependent on supplies of oil from one of the most politically and physically unstable parts of the globe, where most petroleum supplies are controlled by despots who care little for us, and whose way of life and beliefs are entirely different from ours.

This has unbalanced our foreign policy ( our feeble, creepy failure to oppose Arab terrorism against Israel, when we were the originators of the Balfour Declaration, most especially) . It has also helped create the hideous and irrational mess of our transport system, where motor cars - ideal in widespread semi-rural communities such as those of the remoter parts of the USA -  have become the dominant mode of transport in a dense, highly-urbanised , intensively-farmed landscape for which they are entirely unfitted.

This crazed policy was tolerable in the fool's paradise days of cheap oil which made it possible. Now that a tankful of fuel is enormously costly, it makes no sense at all. But town planners have resolutely designed cities around the motor car, making them actively hostile to the pedestrian and the cyclist.  Great featureless, shelterless highways sweep about the place, with barricades on the edges of them to protect drivers from the risk of actually encountering a human being. 

Homes lie at impossible distances from work, walking and bicycling are made hopelessly impractical . Road casualties these days mostly occur when pedestrians manage to escape from the corrals and dripping underpasses in which they are confined.  Meanwhile the general health toll , in obesity and  heart disease caused by lack of exercise, and bad backs caused by endless sitting in cars, is the single worst avoidable health problem in our population, apart from the cancer and heart-disease consequences of cigarette smoking.

Users of public transport seldom if ever do so from free choice. They can only bear it because they have no choice. Rural bus services have a lofty, condescending  'take-it-or-leave-it' character, infrequent, at odd hours, likely to be cancelled at no notice. They appear to have been designed by people who think it a moral failing not to drive a car, and desire to punish those who do not do so. Urban services are unreliable (because of car congestion)  and their mile-for-mile fares compare unfavourably with Concorde. 

It is also generally assumed by designers that the bus passenger deserves and expects a far lower level of comfort than a car passenger. Trams, making a major comeback in France, are deemed uneconomic and resisted by planners who (missing the point) say they will get in the way of cars. This, of course, is what they are supposed to do.

They are the only form of street public transport that can insist on priority over cars.  That is why our car-loving, oil-guzzling  planners got rid of them in the 1950s. Railways, a form of transport developed here because they are so suited to our narrow landscape, are run on the principle that as soon as they become popular, fares must rise to drive passengers away - as the alternative would be to run more trains and open more lines and stations, which a government in the hands of the road lobby persistently refuses to do.

Newspapers occasionally run silly stories suggesting that major new lines are to be built, but these always turn out, on examination, to be based on thin air. Meanwhile huge subsidies and tax breaks are given to the roads and to air travel, despite official green ideology, which would - if taken seriously - mean that both these methods of transport should be severely discouraged. 

I think there are good rational reasons for switching subsidies from road and air to rail, but the truth - that the government don't believe their own green propaganda - is most clearly revealed in their continuing support for cars and planes. I would be interested in a proper analysis of the economic benefits of switching, over the next 25 years, to a public-transport rail and tram based system, largely powered by electricity which could be generated by nuclear stations and home-produced coal.

Plainly, a large number of cars, buses and branch-line trains would still run on oil-based fuels, but I suspect our dependency on imported oil (and gas) could be cut by enormous amounts.At the same time we would develop an independent, long-lasting power generating system, which could be exported when it produced surplus power and would assure a measure of national independence in an era when ( as is increasingly plain) energy will be a major weapon of international diplomacy. 

Russia has already used its gas reserves to place pressure on Ukraine and Belarus and will soon be able to do the same with Germany. The Caspian gas and oil bubble has already led to a pipeline war between Russia and the USA, which lies at the back of the current rumblings in the Caucasus. 

China's increasing need for Iranian gas, and Sudanese oil, has much to do with its attitude towards Iranian nuclear development and the Darfur massacres. Under these circumstances, a country that does not even know how it will light its homes 20 years from now is asking to be weak and vulnerable. 

 

 
Environmental concerns from Nigeria PDF Print E-mail
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The Booming Fuel Wood Market in Nigeria

  Fuel wood locally known as fire wood is no doubt the nations principal source of household cooking and its business potential for village farmers and wood retailers in major towns is booming.This is especially prevalent in the northern states of Nigeria (Being the largest black nation). Also due to the fact that the majority of its populace  are on low income. Poverty utilises fire wood as an energy source at the expense of its fragile environment due to the high populace to land mass ratio.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation of over 140 million inhabitants and is the 10th largest nation on the continent in terms of landmass (927,000sq/km).
I see large heaps of fuel wood in communities as I travel from Maiduguri the capital city of Borno state to Bauchi metropolis within Nigeria caused me to wonder why?

To my amazement seeing the heaps of fire wood bunches in various areas and markets made me to carry out a survey in Bauchi metropolis of this emerging new business. This is eroding both the government's meager effort and other agencies in combating desertification, drought and subsequently gradual soil productivity reduction to a barren state.

A wood retailer in Bauchi town who preferred to remain anonymous confided that they scavenge for fire wood in neighboring village communities outside the metropolis with their truck which can carry about 700 bunches of wood, where each bunch contains 7 to 8 log pieces of 90cm length and 12cm diameter per log of wood.

When in search for wood, the retailers leave Bauchi town early in the morning around 6am moving from one village to the other buying wood bunches at a cost of fifteen Naira (N15= 15 US cents) per bunch from various villages until they fill up their truck with the amount. Afterwards, they sell the woods to their distributors in several districts who buy at a wholesale rate of N30 to N35 per bunch.

A very lucrative enterprise with over 100% profit, unknown to them, many others in this business and even the nations force constables that operates check points outskirts the metropolis are violating the law by indulging in any act of commercial tree felling activities as long as it is not specifically grown for the purpose such as forestry. Such fire wood trading is not a unique or rare case in the nation but rather seen as a normal provision of basic home necessity in most cities.
Tree felling, an issue environmentalists, governments ,related agencies, NGOs and the international community are fighting against as it is the primary cause of the imbalance situation in our atmosphere known to us as Global warming.

Other causes are industrialization and population increase etc but all together reduction in global mass of trees due to settlement expansion, agriculture and industrialization at large is creating  less trees, more carbon dioxide (CO) and less oxygen a phenomena destabilizing our atmosphere. Basic knowledge; trees use the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to produce the oxygen we and other organisms use while it uses the carbon content from CO2 to grow.

Visibly to us as tree trunk, branches, roots,  etc while sunlight gives the energy for this process known to us as photosynthesis. So with more villages becoming towns and more towns becoming cities, this therefore results in clearing of more trees for settlements and to support their daily activities. Most importantly this issue of fire wood which is seen and taken slightly is becoming a menace to the nations quality of environment and its components i.e. soil, water, air and other living organisms therefore hindering sustainable development.


My personal analysis on this issue is quite complex due to it being delicate; taking into consideration of the fact that banning and enforcing the tree felling law without having a considerate alternative for Nigeria's majority masses that are in poverty is also a violation of the nations civil rights. . It is pertinent to note that most policies in Nigeria is at the expense of the masses, even Nigerias emerging middle class are resorting to fuel wood in their homes all for the sake of improving savings which is still at the expense on the quality of Nigeria delicate environment.

A country endowed with one of the largest gas and oil reserves happens to have the highest retail home cooking gas rate in Africa. As other populous nation like Egypt etc are giving subsidies to cooking gas where 12kg of cooking gas sells for around N400 the same quantity sells in this country for 600% higher at N2800 due to the recent rapid increase from N2000 all in the name of deregulation. As part of the sustainable development and struggle to combat desertification, drought and other related disasters, which currently the majority of the Northern states environment are suffering.

Subsiding basic home cooking gas will be a great step if implemented to shift the majority of its grassroots populace to a better source of energy for cooking which will lead to less harvesting of trees for domestic activities and subsequently tackling global warming.

A technical solution to this issue is the provision of alternative source of energy for domestic cooking that is cheaper and available, as the nation is blessed with solar energy of 3.5 to 7 watt per square meter, solar stoves that are not complex and easy to maintain which should be made available for sale or locally constructed if possible. Communities can also be enlightened and trained on creation of woodlot (tree farm) which can serve as tree reserve for domestic usages. Bio fuel can be generated using domestic liquid and solid waste to produce methane (CH4) for cooking purpose, as this research has gone far even in various tertiary institutions in the country.
Household pollution in Nigeria is a major threat to both the dwellers health and the environment at large, as it is a major non point source of the green house gasses which affects our micro and macro climate.

This requires seriously attention and possible alternatives. As part of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG's) to encourage sustainable development in every field of life, Nigeria is far from reaching the 2015 target due to most of its implemented policies that are not targeted for the benefit of the ordinary Nigeria in poverty or to make life easier as the case maybe for our counterparts in developed nations.

As the nation is still in its struggle to secure constant electricity, adequate security, quality health and transport systems which this current administration is trying to achieve, one of the only way grassroots
Nigerians will benefit is to adopt policies that directly influence their lives in a positive way.

Ali Grema Mohammed is an IEMA member and a student of Environmental management technology, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Nigeria.

 
Global Warming slowdown over next decade PDF Print E-mail
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Global warming may stop over the next decade because of natural climate cooling, scientists now claim. German scientists behind the study have warned Governments looking to save money not to use it as an excuse to cut back on preventative action.Noel Keenlyside, a climate researcher at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Germany who led the study, said:

"The natural variations change climate on this timescale and policy makers may either think mitigation is working or that there is no global warming at all." Climate researchers have long predicted more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would spur a general warming trend over the next 100 years. But the latest research study in the journal Nature claim natural variations will overwhelm any human warming effects in the short-term.

The German team made a computer model that takes into account natural phenomena such as sea surface temperatures and ocean circulation patterns. They checked their work by producing a set of forecasts using data recorded over the past 50 years and found the retrospective forecasts were accurate.

Mr Keenlyside said: "This is important because policies are made in the short term. "Our results show we might not have as much change in climate over the next 10 years." The findings contradict the latest United Nations climate panel report which predicted temperatures would rise between 1.8 and 4 degrees Celsius this century, in part because of fossil fuels that produce carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Scientists say rising temperatures could cause seas to rise sharply, glaciers to melt and storms and droughts to become more intense. These in turn may force mass migrations of climate refugees. But Mr Keenlyside said one possible reason for the relative short-term cooling effect in the next decade is the predicted weakening of a system that brings warm water northward into the North Atlantic and offsets an expected rise in greenhouse gases. The findings are already being accepted by respected weather experts.

Richard Wood, an expert at the Met Office, wrote in a respected publication: "The first attempts at decadal prediction suggest that reasonably accurate forecasts of the combined effects of increasing greenhouse-gas concentrations and natural climate variations can be made."

 

 
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