[A-List] Fwd: Russia's Agony a "Wake-Up Call" to the World
Suzanne de Kuyper
suzannedk at gmail.com
Sun Aug 15 09:15:01 MDT 2010
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Suzanne de Kuyper <suzannedk at gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 5:12 PM
Subject: Fwd: Russia's Agony a "Wake-Up Call" to the World
To: "Radical anti-capitalist environmental discussion." <
rad-green at lists.econ.utah.edu>
In Al Gore's film of world warming the prognosis for California and the
grain, fruit and vegetable crops there was that the Chinese coal emmissions
trapped by the Rocky Mountains before they can be blown over them will drop
coal emmissions poisons onto vital cropland as well as keep the rains away,
probably meaning there will begin desertification in that area, rather
sooner than later. Neither the Congress or the Senate allow debate about
the world-warming so we must somehow force that discusssion to begin
seriuosly. I am sure that many who pay big bucks to never have world
warming mentioned in the halls of power were delighted when Al divorced his
first sweetheart after a sexual scandal. His research was and is right-on.
We are watching what he predicted. Suzanne
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sid Shniad <shniad at gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Aug 14, 2010 at 8:19 PM
Subject: Russia's Agony a "Wake-Up Call" to the World
Russia's Agony a "Wake-Up Call" to the World *
* Stephen Leahy*
* VIENNA, Aug 11 (IPS) - A wind turbine on an acre of northern Iowa farmland
could generate 300,000 dollars worth of greenhouse-gas-free electricity a
year. Instead, the U.S. government pays out billions of dollars to subsidise
grain for ethanol fuel that has little if any impact on global warming,
according to Lester Brown.*
"The smartest thing the U.S. could do is phase out ethanol subsidies," says
Brown, the founder of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, in
reference to rising food prices resulting from the unprecedented heat wave
in western Russia that has decimated crops and killed at least 15,000
"The lesson here is that we must take climate change far more seriously,
make major cuts in emissions and fast before climate change is out of
control," Brown, one of the world's leading experts on agriculture and food,
Average temperatures during the month of July were eight degrees Celsius
above normal in Moscow, he said, noting that "such a huge increase in
temperature over an entire month is just unheard of."
On Monday, Moscow reached 37 C when the normal temperature for August is 21
C. It was the 28th day in a row that temperatures exceeded 30 C.
Soil moisture has fallen to levels seen only once in 500 years, says Brown.
Wheat and other grain yields are expected to decline by 40 percent or more
in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine - regions that provide 25 percent of the
world's wheat exports. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced a few
days ago that Russia would ban all grain exports.
Food prices will rise but how much is not known at this point, says Brown.
"What we do know, however, is that the prices of wheat, corn, and soybeans
are actually somewhat higher in early August 2010 than they were in early
August 2007, when the record-breaking 2007-08 run-up in grain prices began."
Emissions of greenhouse gases like CO2 from burning fossil fuels trap more
of the sun's energy. Climate experts expected the number and intensity of
heat waves and droughts to increase as a result. In 2009, heat and fire
killed hundreds in Australia during the worst drought in more than century,
which devastated the country's agriculture sector. In 2003, a European heat
wave killed 53,000 people but as it occurred late in the summer crop, yields
were not badly affected.
If a heat wave like Russia's were centred around the grain- producing
regions near Chicago or Beijing, the impacts could be many times worse
because each of these regions produce five times the amount of grain as
Russia does, says Brown. Such an event could result in the loss of 100 to
200 million tonnes of grain with unimaginable affects on the world's food
"Russia's heat wave is a wake-up call to the world regarding the
vulnerability of the global food supply," he said.
The global climate is warming and most food crops are both heat and drought
sensitive. Rice yields have already fallen by 10-20 percent over the last 25
years in parts of Thailand, Vietnam, India and China due to global warming,
new research has shown. Data from 227 fully-irrigated farms that grow "green
revolution" crops are suffering significant yield declines due to warming
temperatures at night, researchers found.
"As nights get hotter, rice yields drop," reported Jarrod Welch of the
University of California at San Diego and colleagues in the Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Aug. 9. Previous studies have shown
this result in experimental plots, but this is the first under widespread,
With such pressures on the world's food supply it is simply wrong-headed to
use 25 percent of U.S. grain for ethanol as a fuel for cars, said Brown.
"Ethanol subsidies must be phased out and real cuts in carbon emissions made
and urgently," he said.
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