World Bank: Agriculture Faces “Havoc.”

Is this to be the legacy of climate change? Big Ag could not care less. (Photo: Bloomtrigger.com)

Is this to be the legacy of climate change? Big Ag could not care less. (Photo: Bloomtrigger.com)

The World Bank’s vice president for climate change — yes, it has a vice president for climate change — last weekend issued a blunt warning to a meeting of agriculture ministers, held in Berlin. To paraphrase Rachel Kyte just a little: agriculture must adapt or die. And do it fast.

Okay, she was not quite that blunt, but she came very close. She told the ministers that the world will warm two degrees Celsius “in your lifetime,” that the changes won’t be pleasant and slow, but “volatile…with unpredictable impact.” Moreover, “significant damage and destruction are already happening.” Yet, she said “The agricultural community has still some way to go in realizing the full significance.” Or, to translate from bureaucratic/diplomatic English, they still have their heads up their you-know-whats. Continue reading

Iran: A Nuclear Program, a Monkey in Space, No Water

Bridge Over Vanished Water: A dry riverbed in the Al-Ahwaz region of Iran, site of the country’s worst drinking water crisis, 90 per cent of Iran’s oil production, one third of the country’s water and the most polluted city on earth. (Ahwaz News Agency photo)

Bridge Over Vanished Water: A dry riverbed in the Al-Ahwaz region of Iran, site of the country’s worst drinking water crisis, 90 per cent of Iran’s oil production, one third of the country’s water and the most polluted city on earth. (Ahwaz News Agency photo)

Iran, the country that American sparrow hawks have pencilled in for our next invasion and 20-year war, is beginning to die of thirst. Its government is often fighting pitched battles with citizens desperate for water, and is preparing water-rationing plans for its biggest cities including Tehran. Its new president, Hassan Rouhani, has identified water as a national security issue and has promised his people to bring it back. Nice trick if he can do it.

Major rivers in Iran (think the Colorado River in just a few more years) have gone completely dry, as have large lakes such as Hamoun, near Afghanistan, and Urmia, once one of the world’s largest salt lakes (think California’s Salton Sea). Wasteful irrigation (they simply spray water into the hot, dry air), a profusion of dams trying to keep up with demand for electricity, and a burgeoning population sinking wells everywhere for drinking water, have all contributed to a dramatic depletion of available surface water. Continue reading

Study: Lights Going Out All Over the World

New York City, August 2003. (Photo by Zombiehunters.org (!)

New York City, August 2003. (Photo by Zombiehunters.org (!)

In August of 2003, an overheated electric transmission line touched a tree somewhere in Quebec and 50 million people in the Northeast including New York City lost power for days. The same year, a tree falling on a power line in Switzerland triggered a cascade of events that shut off the power in Italy. The whole country. In Brazil in 2009 (60 million people affected), in India in 2012 (600 million people), and around the world, the hits keep on coming, bigger and faster. A new international study looks at the evidence and concludes that it’s going to get worse. Much worse. Continue reading

Forbes Guru: “Shale Oil Boosters are Charlatans.”

shell game

A representative of Big Oil (right) explains the future of fracking to America’s top energy investors (left). (Photo by Michel Lagarde/Google Images)

A noted opinionator for Forbes Magazine, James Gruber, has had an epiphany about the renaissance of the oil bidness in America, and suddenly sounds like a contributor to The Daily Impact. Gruber runs an investment newsletter, Asia Confidential, and has been a fund manager and stock analyst in Asia for 13 years. He’s at least a Deputy Assistant Master of the Universe, and sings in that choir. Or he did. Now that he has concluded, and written in Forbes, that “the era of cheap energy is over,” and “shale boosters are charlatans,” he may be booted off the island. Continue reading

California Drying. And Strangling. Oh, and Burning.

No,it's not Beijing, but downtown Fresno on Friday, January 17, 2014. (Photo by Craig Kohlruss/The Fresno Bee)

No,it’s not Beijing, but downtown Fresno on Friday, January 17, 2014. (Photo by Craig Kohlruss/The Fresno Bee)

In the headlong race to see which city or region of the United States will generate the first wave of climate refugees, a race long dominated by Las Vegas NV and Phoenix AZ, California’s Central Valley has suddenly become a contender. It’s not just that the drought is becoming unbearable in this near-desert that through the wonders of water engineering has become the lettuce capital of the country; now the air is becoming unbreathable. Just as the lack of rain has parched the earth and overtaxed the water pipelines, so too has it left the air unwashed, and with the enormous quantities of junk being emitted into California’s air, you don’t want that. Continue reading

Energy Conference: World “Sleepwalking” into Crisis.

A Russian oil rig in the North Sea. New oil wells are deeper, more expensive, more complicated -- and play out faster -- than ever.

A Russian oil rig in the North Sea. New oil wells are deeper, more expensive, more complicated — and play out faster — than ever.

A teleconference of world energy, financial, political and military officials organized out of Washington and London last month agreed that a full-blown global energy crisis could erupt as early as 2016. The conference was convened by Daniel Davis, a whistleblower colonel in the United States Army “acting in a private capacity,” and Jeremy Leggett, a contrarian British oil geologist. The conference took place in December, and was brought to light by Britain’s Guardian newspaper last week.   Continue reading

China Collapse Continues, Debris Falls on US

The Great Wall of China proves ineffective against pollution. Maybe if they made it bigger. (Photo by ToGa Wanderings/Flickr)

The Great Wall of China proves ineffective against pollution. Maybe if they made it bigger. (Photo by ToGa Wanderings/Flickr)

As signs of China’s impending collapse from industrial poisoning continue to proliferate (about which, more in a minute), some of them are proliferating in California. Air pollution, largely from China’s unrestrained use of coal, has become legendary in the country — virtually shutting down Shanghai in December and Beijing last week, and touching off armed uprisings by desperate people in various locations across the country. Now, a new study says that China’s industrial air pollution accounts for a significant portion of California’s smog. Continue reading

NY Times: Rising Seas “An Enormous Risk for the United States”

With distressing and increasing frequency, the streets of Norfolk, VA resemble the canals of Venice. The water is rising all along the US East Coast. (Photo by telmnstr/Flickr)

With distressing and increasing frequency, the streets of Norfolk, VA resemble the canals of Venice. The water is rising all along the US East Coast. (Photo by telmnstr/Flickr)

The New York Times seems to be suffering from multiple personality disorder. Last year, the number of stories it published that mentioned climate change or global warming dropped 40 per cent from 2012, this in the year the the paper closed its environment desk (nothing to see here), shut down its Green blog (nothing left to say here), reassigned its top environment reporters (nothing to do here), and gave a disproportionate amount of ink to climate-change deniers. Yet it remains capable of publishing, as it did this week, a hair-raising summary of the dangers this country is ignoring as climate change bears down upon it. “The Flood Next Time,” by Justin Gillis, is a clarion call to panic for anyone living near the Atlantic Ocean on America’s East Coast. Continue reading

Congress Realizes It Fixed Flood Insurance: Repeal Imminent

Sandy damage

“Yeah, but it’s got a great ocean view. so we’re gonna rebuild. When do I get the check?” Hurricane Sandy took a bite out of this New Jersey house, just like subsidized flood insurance takes a bite out of the federal budget. (Photo by RetroRed/Flickr)

Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, was in a state of high dudgeon, last November, as she pilloried the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at a committee hearing in Washington. He had been dragged before the committee to explain why his Federal Flood Insurance Program was racking up rates for policies on water-soluble buildings in flood-prone coastal and riverine areas. “The harm that has been caused to thousands of people across the country,” she raged, “is just unconscionable.” Director Craig Fugate might be forgiven for being nonplussed. He had raised the rates at the explicit direction of Congress, which just 16 months previously had decided to end the existing flood-insurance madness with the Biggert-Waters Act. Which bears not only a wonderfully punny name for a bill dealing with floods, but the name of its co-sponsor, one Maxine Waters.   Continue reading

Methane Feedback: “Instant Planetary Emergency”

The outline shows the normal extent of Arctic sea ice. This is where it was in the summer of 2012. But wait there's more. (NASA Goddard photo)

The outline shows the normal extent of Arctic sea ice. This is where it was in the summer of 2012. But wait there’s more. (NASA Goddard photo)

A cascade of recent studies concludes that warming Arctic permafrost and ocean floors are on the verge of emitting massive methane eruptions that will quickly load the atmosphere with many times more greenhouse gas than has been produced during the entire Industrial Age. The ensuing warming will so destabilize the climate that a mass extinction may follow that could be the worst in 300 million years — since the so-called “Great Dying” of the Permian Period wiped out 90 per cent of sea life and 70 per cent of land animals. (Please insert the latest “how-could-there-be-global-warming-when-it’s- so-cold?” joke here.) Continue reading