Thursday, July 27, 2006

Food Shortages, Biofuels and Oil Wars

What are biofuels?
Wheat, corn and sugar processed into ethanol and diesel.

What does it take to create biofuel?

Biofuels are cheap and friendly for the environment, right?
It takes oil to produce (grow) biofuels. Farm subsidies, tractors and harvesting rely on oil.

What are biofuels?
They are the food we grow in order to survive. Wheat, corn and sugar. Extreme weather reduces the amounts of wheat and corn grown around the world.

Earth Policy Institute

Grain prices starting to rise.
- World Grain Stocks Fall to 57 Days of Consumption.
- World grain consumption is rising as world grain production is falling.
- World population growth is rising as world food production is falling.
- Each year world farmers try to feed an additional 70 million people.
- Grain intensive products: Meat, milk and eggs.
- World meat production 1950: 44 million tons.
- World meat production 2005: 265 million tons.
- One-fifth of the US corn harvest will be used to produce fuel-ethanol.
- One sixth of the US grain harvest will be used to produce ethanol.
- The US subsidize ethanol production at 51 cents a gallon.
- Underground water reserves are being depleted by intense farming.
- World temperature increases are lowering rice and grain harvests.
- Drier than usual winters lowered the barley harvests.
- 70% of water from rivers, lakes, and aquifers are used for irrigation.
- Water supplies are decreasing in countries that contain half the worlds people: China, India and the United States.

- A recent study, authored jointly by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), forecasts an acceleration in world biofuel usage over the next 10 years that would raise demand for maize, wheat, oilseeds and sugar, the trade-offs between food/feed and non-food uses for specific crop sectors were still unclear.

Heatwave Crippling Europe
- A deadly heatwave gripping central Europe sent electricity prices rocketing in Germany and caused the suspension of shipping on major rivers as water levels dwindle. Europe's shops and supermarkets are facing a shortage of vegetables later this year as a result of the current heatwave, a leading industry group have warned.

Biofuel Demand Hits Food
- FOOD companies such as Unilever, Nestle and Cadbury could face higher commodity costs over the long term as rising demand for biofuels pushes up prices for raw materials such as wheat, corn and sugar, a report by Goldman Sachs says.

Get Ready For 'Peak Grain'
- To put the 57 days in historical perspective, the world price for wheat went up six-fold in 1973, the last time reserves were this low. Wheat prices ricocheted through the food supply chain in many ways, from higher prices for cereal and breads eaten directly by humans to the cost of milk and meat from livestock fed a grain-based diet. If such a chain reaction happens this year, wheat could fetch $21 a bushel, about six times its current price. It might cost even more, given that there are now two other pressing demands for grains that were less forceful during the 70s.

Those happy days predated modern fads such as using grains for ethanol, now touted as an alternative to petroleum fuels for cars, and predated the factory barns that bring grains to an animal’s stall, thereby eliminating grazing on pasture grasses. University ethics classes and church elders can ponder the moral dilemmas imposed on the wealthy when they choose fuel and meat while others starve.

- World's Water Resources Face Mounting Pressure
- Planet Ark
- Green Fuels Dirty Secret

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Israeli Lebanon Water Wars

If the water resources in your country are rapidly decreasing, and the neighbouring country has an intact water supply... and if you think that in the future you will need the other countries water supply... then you will not attack that country saying you need their water. If you attack that country you will do so for another reason, hiding your real objective behind a wall of deception and lies. Israel has always had water problems.

Today, in 2006, Israel lives with increasing water shortages and a rapidly decreasing supply of fresh water. The river Jordan may run dry within the next two years, because of the vast amount of water being drawn from the river by the people living in the area. People cannot survive without water, towns and cities cannot survive without water, past civilisations have died out as water became scarce. You cannot grow crops without water, which means you cannot store food. Water is the life blood of a nation. The Great Illusion

In the Middle East, the supply of water is much less than its demand, thereby resulting in conflict over it. This is true for Israel and Lebanon, where there have been struggles, although not always armed, for the waters of the Litani River. At this point, Israel occupies southern Lebanon. Part of the Litani is located in this region.

Israel seemingly is tempted to reach beyond its border to get access to the needed water. "Almost half of the water currently used in Israel is captured, diverted or preempted from its neighbors." This is understandable, given water can be described as "Israel's vulnerable and fragile source of life."

Historically, Israel has been interested in the Litani, and conflict with Lebanon over the Litani is more likely given this. Essentially, control of the Litani has long been a dream of Israel in hopes of establishing a greater Zion from Sinai to ancient Babylon. Litani River Wikipedia

Israel hoped that it would have use of the Litani by the mid 1980s, when it projected that it would have fully used up the waters captured in the 1967 war. Israel hoped to meet this goal by securing the Litani in 1978. Israel had even included the Litani in calculations of their water resources.

Israel's significant sources of water are currently exploited, and the only other source is the Litani, which, in order for Israel to use it, would have to be in Israel's possession, which could possibly happen through seizure. The only other source of additional water would be recycled water.

Israel could increase its annual water supply by 800 MCM (approximately 40% of its annual water consumption in 1993) if it had continued access to the Litani through continued/permanent occupation of southern Lebanon. Another reason for Israel to want the Litani is that, especially along the Israeli coast, many aquifiers are stressed and their water is increasingly brackish. Lebanon Conflict

Israel's High Water Consumption
There is a general consensus among hydrologists and water planners in Israel that the country is currently developing all of its replenishable water stock. Indeed, the gap between water supply and demand is widening.

As mentioned earlier, although the occupation of Arab land in 1967 augmented Israel's water supply by about 40%, the Jewish state is utilizing almost all of the renewable water resources available to it. As water demand rises, its supply is becoming ever more finite. That raises two fundamental questions: one about the future of the territories, and the other about the alternative sources of water for Israel. To answer these questions one must evaluate the Israeli economy's degree of dependence on the resources of the occupied territories.

Politics and Economics of Water
Israel's Water War

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Emerging World Water Shortage

Water Shortages May Cause Food Shortages
Lester R. Brown

The world is incurring a vast water deficit. It is largely invisible, historically recent, and growing fast. Because this impending crisis typically takes the form of aquifer overpumping and falling water tables, it is not visible. Unlike burning forests or invading sand dunes, falling water tables cannot be readily photographed. They are often discovered only when wells go dry.

The world water deficit is recent by-product of the tripling of water demand over the last half-century and the rapid worldwide spread of powerful diesel and electrically driven pumps. The drilling of millions of wells has pushed water withdrawals beyond the recharge of many aquifers. The failure of governments to limit pumping to the sustainable yield of aquifers means that water tables are now falling in scores of countries.

We are consuming water that belongs to future generations. In some countries, the fall of water tables is dramatic. In Yemen, a country of 19 million, the water table under most of the country is falling by roughly 2 meters a year as water use far exceeds the sustainable yield of aquifers. World Bank official Christopher Ward observes that "groundwater is being mined at such a rate that parts of the rural economy could disappear within a generation."

Iran, a country of 70 million people, is facing an acute shortage of water. Under the agriculturally rich Chenaran Plain in northeastern Iran, the water table was falling by 2.8 meters a year in the late 1990s. But in 2001 the cumulative effect of a three-year drought and the new wells being drilled both for irrigation and to supply the nearby city of Mashad dropped the aquifer by an extraordinary 8 meters. Villages in eastern Iran are being abandoned as wells go dry, generating a swelling flow of water refugees.

Shortages of water in Egypt, which is entirely dependent on the Nile River, are well known. With the Nile now reduced to a trickle as it enters the Mediterranean, the three principal countries of the Nile River Basin-Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan-can each increase its take from the river only at the expense of the other two. With the combined population of these countries projected to climb from 167 million today to 264 million in 2025, all three are facing growing grain deficits as a result of water shortages.

In Mexico-home to 104 million people and growing by 2 million per year-the demand for water has outstripped supply in many states. In the agricultural state of Guanajuato, for example, the water table is falling by 1.8-3.3 meters a year. Mexico City's water problems are legendary. How the United States and Mexico share the water of the Rio Grande has become a thorny issue in U.S.-Mexican relations.

A World Bank study of the water balance in the North China Plain calculated an annual deficit of 37 billion tons of water. Using the rule of thumb of 1,000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of grain, this is equal to 37 million tons of grain-enough to feed 111 million Chinese at their current level of consumption. In effect, 111 million Chinese are being fed with grain produced with water that belongs to their children. Scores of other countries are running up regional water deficits, including nearly all of those in Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, plus India, Pakistan, and the United States.

Historically, water shortages were local, but in an increasingly integrated world economy, the shortfalls can cross national boundaries via the international grain trade. Water-scarce countries often satisfy the growing needs of cities and industry by diverting water from irrigation and importing grain to offset the resulting loss of production. Since a ton of grain equals 1,000 tons of water, importing grain is the most efficient way to import water. World grain futures will soon, in effect, become world water futures.

Although military conflicts over water are always a possibility, future competition for water seems more likely to take place in world grain markets. This can be seen with Iran and Egypt, both of which now import more wheat than Japan, traditionally the world's leading importer. Imports supply 40% or more of the total consumption of grain-wheat, rice, and feedgrains in both countries. Numerous other water-short countries also import much of their grain. Morocco brings in half of its grain. For Algeria and Saudi Arabia, the figure is over 70%. Yemen imports nearly 80% of its grain, and Israel, more than 90%.

Seventy percent of world water use, including all the water diverted from rivers and pumped from underground, is used for irrigation, 20% is used by industry, and 10% goes to residences. Thus if the world is facing a water shortage, it is also facing a food shortage. Water deficits, which are already spurring heavy grain imports in numerous smaller countries, may soon do the same in larger countries, such as China or India.

Even with the overpumping of its aquifers, China is developing a grain deficit. After rising to an historical peak of 392 million tons in 1998, grain production in the world's largest nation fell below 350 million tons in 2000, 2001, and 2002. The resulting annual deficits of 40 million tons or so have been filled by drawing down the country's extensive grain reserves. But if this situation continues, China soon will be forced to turn to the world grain market.

When this happens, it will almost certainly drive grain prices upward. Remember that when the Soviets decided after a poor harvest in 1972 to import grain rather than tighten their belts, the world wheat price climbed from $1.90 per bushel in 1972 to $4.89 in 1974.

The two keys to stabilizing aquifers are raising water prices and stabilizing population. The first step is to eliminate the pervasive subsidies that create artificially low prices for water in so many countries. The next is to raise water prices to the point where they will reduce pumping to a sustainable level by raising water productivity and reducing water use in all segments of society. Low-income urban consumers can be protected with Òlifeline ratesÓ that provide for basic needs at an affordable price.

The second key is to quickly stabilize population. Most of the 3 billion people projected to be added worldwide by mid-century will be born in countries already experiencing water shortages. Unless population growth can be slowed quickly by investing heavily in female literacy and family planning services, there may not be a humane solution to the emerging world water shortage. Population Press

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Chemtrails or Phantom Clouds?

'Phantomwolken' - Bundeswehr gibt sich ahnungslos

“Phantom clouds” - German Military say they don't have a clue

I found this article at a German Weather website and have translated it as best I can using Google Translation Tools

This is interesting, because they caught the phantom clouds on radar registering as clouds (that from the ground were not there). People want to know what the military are spraying "up there" - but the military say they don't know. The article concludes that the military create more questions than they answer....

Nach einer Anfrage der Niedersächsischen Landesregierung hat auch die Bundeswehr ermittelt. Doch die Stellungnahme der Militärs wirft mehr Fragen auf, als sie beantwortet. Im Februar hat den Fall der so genannten „Phantomwolke“ öffentlich gemacht. Im Juli 2005 zeigte das Wetterradar über Norddeutschland eine 350 Kilometer lange Wolke, die gar nicht existierte. Meteorologen verschiedener Organisationen, unter anderem des deutschen und des niederländischen Wetterdienstes, konnten natürliche Ursachen ausschließen. Einzige plausible Erklärung: Das Radarecho wurde durch Partikel oder Substanzen erzeugt, die in großer Menge in der Atmosphäre ausgesetzt wurden - so genannte „Düppel“. Zu welchem Zweck dies geschah, ist den Wissenschaftlern bis heute unklar. erstattete deshalb Strafanzeige wegen des Verdachts illegaler Wetterexperimente und Umweltverschmutzung.

Im März tauchten dann mehrmals weitere, rätselhafte Strukturen in den Radarbildern über Deutschland auf - teilweise auch über Süddeutschland. Erst nach einer Anfrage des Grünen-Abgeordneten Ralf Briese an die Niedersächsische Landesregierung nahm die Bundeswehr Ermittlungen auf. Doch diese waren auch schnell wieder beendet. Dem Verteidigungsministerium sind die beobachteten Phänomene nach eigenen Angaben selbst nicht aufgefallen, Messdaten von der ersten ‚Radarwolke’ im Juli 2005 hat die Bundeswehr nicht gespeichert. Immerhin kommt auch das Verteidigungsministerium zu dem Schluss, dass „nur das Ausbringen sehr spezifischer Düppel in erheblicher Menge“ als Ursache in Frage käme. Und die Bundeswehr bestätigt auch, dass in der Nacht vom 22. auf den 23. März 2006 etwa 1 Stunde vor dem Auftauchen der merkwürdigen Echos auf dem Radar eine Luftkampfübung über den Niederlanden stattfand. Dabei seien auch Düppel ausgesetzt worden. Diese hätten sich jedoch nach etwa 1 Stunde und 10 Minuten „aufgelöst“. Zudem hätte die ausgesetzte Menge nicht für Radarechos in der beobachteten Größe ausreichen können, gibt das Verteidigungsministerium in seiner Stellungnahme an.

Wer für die Täuschungen des Wetterradars verantwortlich ist und zu welchem Zweck dies geschieht - diese Fragen werden von der Bundeswehr geschickt umschifft. Auf die Frage, ob es sich um militärische Experimente handelt, antwortet das Verteidigungsministerium: „Die Bundeswehr führt keine Experimente durch, die ein solches Phänomen hervorrufen könnte.“ Auch die Frage, ob es Kenntnisse über „entsprechende militärische Versuche über Norddeutschland mit dem Ziel der Terrorabwehr oder der Wetterbeeinflussung“ gebe, wird nahezu wortgleich beschieden: „Die Bundeswehr führt keine militärischen Versuche mit dem Ziel der Terrorabwehr oder zur Wetterbeeinflussung durch.“Die Bundeswehr scheidet also nach eigenen Angaben als Verursacher aus. Doch der Ursache der seltsamen Radarphänomene im deutschen Luftraum will die Bundeswehr offenbar auch nicht auf den Grund gehen. Und vor allem nicht der Frage nach dem Verursacher... Donnerwetter - Wetter Nachrichten

Google Translation: “Phantom clouds”
German Federal Armed Forces say they don't have a clue.

After an inquiry of the federal state government of Lower Saxony also the German Federal Armed Forces determined. But the statement that of military raises more questions, than it answers. In February made the case „of the phantom cloud in such a way specified public “. In July 2005 the weather radar showed a 350 kilometers long cloud, which did not exist at all over Northern Germany. Meteoroligists of different organizations, among other things the German and the Netherlands weather service, could exclude natural causes. Only plausible explanation: The radar echo was produced by particles or substances, which were suspended in large quantity in the atmosphere - „chaff so mentioned “. At which purpose this happened, is the scientists until today unclearly. refunded therefore charge because of the suspicion of illegal weather experiments and environmental pollution.

In March then several times further, puzzling structures dipped in the radar images over Germany up partly also over South Germany. Only after an inquiry of the Green delegate the German Federal Armed Forces determinations took up Ralf Briese to the federal state government of Lower Saxony. But these were also fast again terminated. The observed phenomena were noticeable to the Ministry of Defense according to own data themselves, measuring data of the first ‚radar cloud' in July 2005 the German Federal Armed Forces did not store. Also the Ministry of Defense nevertheless comes to the conclusion that „only the yield very specific chaff would come in substantial quantity “as a cause into question. And the German Federal Armed Forces confirm also that at the night of 22. on the 23. March 2006 about 1 hour before emerging the strange echoes on the radar a aerial engagement exercise over the Netherlands took place. Also chaff were suspended. These would have dissolved however after approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes „“. Besides the suspended quantity could have been sufficient not for radar echoes in the observed size, indicates the Ministry of Defense in its statement.

Who for the deceptions of the weather radar is responsible and for which purpose this happens - these questions are umschifft skillfully by the German Federal Armed Forces. To the question, whether it concerns military experiments, it answers the Ministry of Defense: „The German Federal Armed Forces do not accomplish experiments, which such a phenomenon could cause. “Also the question, whether it gives knowledge over „appropriate military attempts over Northern Germany with the goal of the terror defense or the weather influence “, is granted almost: „The German Federal Armed Forces do not accomplish military attempts with the goal of the terror defense or for weather influence. “ The German Federal Armed Forces separate thus according to own data as a causer. But the German Federal Armed Forces do not want to go to the cause of the strange radar phenomena in the German air space obviously also on the reason. And above all not the question about the causer...