Rising Seas and the Groundwater Equation
November 2, 2010
By FELICITY BARRINGER
Worldwide overpumping of groundwater, particularly in northern India, Iran, Mexico, northeastern China and the American West, more than doubled from 1960 to 2000 and is responsible for about 25 percent of the rise in sea level, according to estimates in a new study by a team of Dutch researchers published in Geophysical Review Letters.
The general idea that groundwater used for irrigation is running off into ocean-bound rivers or evaporating into the clouds, only to end up raining into the ocean, has been around for two decades or so; it was a focus of a 2005 paper in The Journal of Hydrogeology. But Peter H. Gleick, a leading expert on water issues, said the new paper offers a fresh way of quantifying the phenomenon.
Mr. Gleick, president of the Oakland-based Pacific Institute, said that experts on groundwater issues "have known for a long time that that water ultimately ends up in the oceans and contributes to sea level rise. What we haven't known is the magnitude and severity of the problem."
This study, by a team of researchers based at the University of Utrecht and the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Center in Utrecht in the Netherlands, suggests that, in Dr. Gleick's words, "both the magnitude and the severity of the phenomenon are severe": it estimates that groundwater depletion worldwide went from 99.7 million acre-feet (29.5 cubic miles) in 1960 to 229.4 million acre-feet (55 cubic miles) in 2000.
The Danger of Atmospheric Collapse
Note: Additional comments by Dyson Devine will be found at the end of this translation
This is an authorised, unofficial translation by Vivienne Legg and Dyson Devine. It may contain errors.
EXCERPT FROM FIGU SPECIAL BULLETIN No. 51, January, 2010
Excerpt from the 481st official contact report of October 14th, 2009
Billy …But now a question regarding the oxygen collapse, respectively, the atmospheric collapse, on the planet Akart, of which you spoke on February 3rd of this year in the 476th official contact conversation. What must I understand “oxygen collapse” and “atmospheric collapse” to mean?
Ptaah An oxygen collapse, respectively, an atmospheric collapse, arises as a result of a massive over-impregnation of the atmosphere by the molecule CO2, which enters the atmosphere, as well as the oceans and other bodies of water, as well as the soil of the Earth, and radically alters the climate. An oxygen and atmospheric collapse would be
Biodiversity loss seen as greater financial risk than terrorism, says UN
Loss of ecosystems perceived by banks and insurance companies to be a greater economic risk than terrorism, finds UN report
A controlled burn of oil from the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico. The report cites the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as an extreme example of the potential impact of inadequate environmental controls. Photograph: Ann Heisenfelt/EPA
The financial risks posed by the loss of species and ecosystems have risen sharply and are becoming a greater concern for businesses than international terrorism, according to a United Nations report released today.
From over-depletion of fish stocks and soil degradation caused by agricultural chemicals to water shortages and mining pollution, the paper – commissioned by the UN Environment Programme and partners – said the likelihood has climbed sharply that declines in biodiversity would have a "severe" $10bn (£6bn) to $50bn impact on business.
With the European Union and other regions increasingly holding companies liable for impacts on ecosystem services, it suggests banks, investors and insurance companies are starting to calculate the losses that could arise from diminishing supplies, tightened conservation controls and the reputational damage caused by involvement in an unsound project.
Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and Unep executive director, said: "The kinds of emerging concerns and rising perception of risks underlines a fundamental sea change in the way some financial institutions, alongside natural resource-dependent companies, are now starting to glimpse and to factor in the economic importance of biodiversity and ecosystems".
The briefing paper cites the 55% crash of BP's share price and the decline of its credit rating in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as an extreme example of the potential impact of inadequate environmental controls.
Richard Burrett, who co-chairs the Unep Finance Initiative and authored the report, said such cases highlighted the need for a new form of risk assessment that takes the value of ecological services into account. Water systems and forests are currently considered
Tropics in Decline as Natural Resources Exhausted at Alarming Rate
ScienceDaily (Oct. 18, 2010)
New analysis shows populations of tropical species are plummeting and humanity's demands on natural resources are sky-rocketing to 50 per cent more than the earth can sustain, reveals the 2010 edition of WWF's Living Planet Report -- the leading survey of the planet's health.
The biennial report, produced in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, uses the global Living Planet Index as a measure of the health of almost 8,000 populations of more than 2,500 species. The global Index shows a decrease by 30 per cent since 1970, with the tropics hardest hit showing a 60 per cent decline in less than 40 years.
"There is an alarming rate of biodiversity loss in low-income, often tropical countries while the developed world is living in a false paradise, fuelled by excessive consumption and high carbon emissions," said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International.
While the report shows some promising recovery by species' populations in temperate areas, thanks in part to greater conservation efforts and improvements in pollution and waste control, tracked populations of freshwater tropical species have fallen by nearly 70 per cent -- greater than any species' decline measured on land or in our oceans.
"Species are the foundation of ecosystems," said Jonathan Baillie, Conservation Programme Director with the Zoological Society of London. "Healthy ecosystems form the basis of all we have -- lose them and we destroy our life support system."
The Ecological Footprint, one of the indicators used in the report, shows that our demand on natural resources has doubled since 1966 and we're using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to support our activities. If we continue living beyond the Earth's limits, by 2030 we'll need the equivalent of two planets' productive capacity to meet our annual demands.
"The report shows that continuing of the current consumption trends would lead us to the point of no return," added Leape. "4.5 Earths would be required to support a global population living like an average resident of the of the US."
Carbon is a major culprit in driving the planet to ecological overdraft. An alarming 11-fold increase in our carbon footprint over the last five decades means carbon now accounts for more than half the global Ecological Footprint.
The top 10 countries with the biggest Ecological Footprint per person are the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Denmark, Belgium, United States, Estonia, Canada, Australia, Kuwait and Ireland.
The 31 OECD countries, which include the world's richest economies, account for nearly 40 per cent of the global footprint. While there are twice as many people living in BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- as there are in OECD countries, the report shows the current rate of per-person footprint of the BRIC countries puts them on a trajectory to overtake the OECD bloc if they follow same development path.
"Countries that maintain high levels of resource dependence are putting their own economies at risk,"
The coming liquid fuel crisis
We face a liquid fuel crisis in two to five years. That was the stark message from an international conference on peak oil in Washington DC that I attended last month.
It will be far worse than the 1973 and 1979 oil shocks that induced panic, disorientation and insecurity. Back then stock market declines followed big hikes in fuel prices. This time we can expect ever-rising fuel prices accompanied by annually deepening recession, increasing inflation and unemployment, and a decline in world trade.
Last time, the crises resolved themselves as oil production and trade were resumed. This time, there will not be enough oil to resume business as usual. Despite a decrease in demand from OECD countries, overall demand continues to rise as global population climbs inexorably from 6.8 towards 9.2 billion and newly emerging economies expect their share of the global resource pie. Come 2015, however, we can anticipate a significant increase in the price of oil as global production starts its inevitable decline. Production of regular or conventional oil has already peaked while supplies of unconventional oil - heavy, deepwater and Arctic oil - will peak within a few years.
"We're drillin' three miles down in the Gulf of Mexico because of peak oil," drawled Jim Baldauf, former Texan oilman and organiser of the conference. "We're scrapin' the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. We have to drill twice as deep at twice the cost to get half what we're used to."
The recent Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf was a rude awakening to those who thought
US Military Warns Oil Output May Dip Causing Massive Shortages By 2015
Shortfall could reach 10m barrels a day, report says Cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 a barrel
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 11 April 2010 18.47 BST
The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by
2015 with a significant economic and political impact.
The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.
"By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly
If The Military Is Planning For A Fossil-Fuel Crisis, So Should Colleges
By Scott Carlson
October 8, 2010, 12:05 PM ET
A news item this week caused a stir among people who pay attention to energy issues. But did any college administrators take notice?
Granted, the item on its surface had little to do with higher education:
The U.S. military is increasingly nervous about its dependence on fossil fuels, reports The New York Times. That dependence presents some vulnerabilities in distant war zones, the Times reported:
Fossil fuel accounts for 30 to 80 percent of the load in convoys into Afghanistan, bringing costs as well as risk. While the military buys gas for just over $1 a gallon, getting that gallon to some forward operating bases costs $400.
"We had a couple of tenuous supply lines across Pakistan that are costing us a heck of a lot, and they're very dangerous," said Gen.
James T. Conway, the commandant of the Marine Corps.
The impetus for the Times story was a report released last month by a defense think tank, which stated that the problem goes far beyond the difficulties of tenuous and expensive supply lines. It contained a full-blown argument for grappling with peak oil, the notion that oil supplies will one day reach a peak or plateau, then begin an inexorable decline, leading to problems in
JUST GIVE ME THE FACTS M’AM: Let’s stop feeding reality the comfort food of false hope
In her book, "Titanic", author Stephanie Barcszewski described the exchange between Captain John Smith and the ship's designer Thomas Andrew just over ten minutes after the collision with the lethal iceberg.
"Smith asked Andrews how long the Titanic had left and Andrews did some quick calculations: An hour and a half, possibly two. Not much longer." That quick calculation was not far off. The ship sank two hours and forty minutes after it hit the iceberg, or roughly two hours and twenty minutes after Andrews made that grim pronouncement.
As there was no PA system on board the ship, Captain Smith issued immediate instructions to his crew to have passengers board the lifeboats, beginning with 1st class passengers of course. The Titanic was, after all, a microcosm of Edwardian society and 70% of third class people never saw a lifeboat that night. But then again, 40% in 1st class did not survive either, and I suspect that is a much lower percentage than that will perish in the imminent sinking of RMS Affluent Society. Rich ticket-holders will evidently launch off the first lifeboats half empty because they don't believe in the fallibility of the ship.
But the point is, Captain John Smith sought an honest assessment of his ship's condition, accepted it, and took whatever action he could to mitigate the scale of the disaster.
Imagine however, if Bernie Segal, or some such guru of the self help industry, had been captain of the Titanic on the night of April 14, 1912. Assuming that he would have indeed ordered a damage report, rather than blithely persisted in a state of denial by thinking happy thoughts, would he have accepted it? I rather doubt it. Here would be the screenplay:
Thomas Andrews: "Captain Segal, Sir, the front six bulkheads have risen 14 feet in just ten minutes and at this rate of water intake the weight will carry the ship down within two hours."
Captain Segal: "The fate of this ship will be determined by
Earth 'entering new age of geological time'
Last Updated ( Monday, 22 November 2010 12:05 )
Earth 'entering new age of geological time'
The Earth has entered a new age of geological time – the epoch of new man, scientists claim.
By Murray Wardrop
Published: 8:30AM GMT 27 Mar 2010
Posted here at CFH by: J.Barreto Silva, on July 8th, 2010
Humans have wrought such vast and unprecedented changes on the planet that we may be ushering in a new period of geological history.
Through pollution, population growth, urbanisation, travel, mining and use of fossil fuels we have altered the planet in ways which will be felt for millions of years, experts believe.
It is feared that the damage mankind has inflicted will lead to the sixth largest mass extinction in Earth’s history with thousands of plants and animals being wiped out.
The new epoch, called the Anthropocene – meaning new man – would be the first period of geological time shaped by the action of a single species.