While the world watches in awe as the people of Egypt in all their stereoscopic splendor relentlessly reinvent the concept of Revolution, perhaps our immersion in this struggle will sensitize and energize us finally to stare down and take up arms against the reality of climate change. For as tens of thousands of us resonate with the new knowledge that “We are all Egypt,” this reawakening of our core interconnectedness must be the catalyst to catapult us to action and awareness of the impact our lifestyles are having on the most vulnerable countries in the world.
You see, Egypt, once it has completed this stage in its struggle for independence and self governance, will need our assistance and care and unyielding commitment as it faces its next seemingly insurmountable hurdle: its extreme vulnerability to the ravages of climate change.
For while today the streets alongside the Mediterranean city of Alexandria throb with the life and passion of protesters – children, students, mothers and fathers, friends – and soldiers and looters and frustrated shopkeepers, the horrific truth is that this ancient city, within a few short years, will be underwater if the sea rises by just one meter!
Unless we act. Now. As one.
From 220 miles above Earth, one of the Expedition 25 crew members on the International Space Station took this night time photo featuring the bright lights of Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt on the Mediterranean coast. The Nile River and its delta stand out clearly as well. On the horizon, the airglow of the atmosphere is seen across the Mediterranean. The Sinai Peninsula, at right, is outlined with lights highlighting the Gulf of Suez and Gulf of Aqaba. NASA
When Egyptian farmer Mohssen el-Kafrawi invested money borrowed from a relative to cultivate a 4-acre plot in the recently created 6th of October governorate with tomatoes, he had no idea a few years later rising temperature would wipe out his business.
“This time I did whatever it took me in the past to produce good tomatoes,” el-Kafrawi, 50, said. “But none of the measures I took was good for anything. True, the weather was warmer this year, but could this destroy the plants?” he asked in an interview with The Egyptian Gazette.
A 50-year-old farmer, el-Kafrawi says his four acres traditionally produced 20 tons of tomatoes annually. In 2010, his yield dropped to 12 tons.
“I spent tens of thousands of pounds to cultivate the land with tomatoes,” he said. “But I am getting nothing in the end.”
Egypt IS Boiling
Mohamed Eissa, the Chairman of the Egyptian Meteorological Authority, said Egypt’s 2010 summer was the hottest in years.
“This trend will rise in the future, which will have its effects on the geological formation of agricultural lands,” he added.
Always one of the world’s most water-scarce regions,the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have developed over 3000 years a wide range of strategies and solutions to survive. Now, even the climate-sensitive agriculture they depend on is inadequate to adapt to rising temperatures, drought and floods.
A recent IPCC report assesses that most of the MENA region will experience drastic increases in temperature, reduced precipitation, and accordingly significantly more intense and recurrent droughts. By 2050, water stress, will severely deplete existing groundwater resources, causing dramatic fluctuations in rain-fed agriculture.
A temperature increase of 1-3 degrees could expose 6–25 million people to coastal flooding, urban dwellers to heat island effect,” and ground ozone formations. Public health will be impacted by decreased availability and quality of water, as well as heat waves and poor air quality.
The rise in temperature is expected to be so extreme that current crops will not be able to withstand the heat.
A one-meter sea-level rise would submerge Alexandria.
While low-lying coastal areas — Tunisia, Qatar, Libya, UAE, Kuwait — will be impacted socially, economically, and ecologically by rising sea levels (.1 to 0.3 meters by the year 2050, and from about 0.1 to 0.9 meters by 2100) Egypt is expected to be most significantly impacted.
Egypt Builds Climate Change Plan For Cairo-Delta Region
By 2017, Egypt’s water needs may surpass its resources as rising sea levels inundate much of the county’s most fertile Delta region, currently home to 60 percent of Egypt’s 80 million people.
“Many of the towns and urban areas in the north of the Delta will suffer from the rise in the level of the Mediterranean with effect from 2020, and about 15 percent of Delta land is [currently] under threat from the rising sea level and the seepage [of salt water] into ground water,” Environment Minister George Maged told a parliamentary committee in 2009.
Soil salinity will threaten coastal food security due to the intrusion of salt water and the contamination of ground water resources.
A 2007 study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that by 2050 Egypt will experience a decrease in national production of many of its major crops ( –11% for rice to –28% for soybeans).
“Egypt does not have any specific plans to deal with the effects of climate change and global warming on its water resources and its share of the Nile River,” said Mosaad Qutb, the Director of the Central Laboratory for Agricultural Climate at the ARC.
“Farmers need agricultural planning and consultation to confront these changes successfully,” he added in a conference in Cairo last April.
Climate Change News Roundup
BP & FOSSIL FOOLISH NEWS
- Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated.
Put the breaks on! The EPA says the US should think again before doubling down on natural gas as the quick and easy solution to alt energy needs. Turns out a full life cycle assessment is a real eye opener on the polluting effect of this combustible mixture of hydrocarbons which includes methane, ethane, propane, butane and pentane.
- Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands .
Now online! Dr. David Suzuki (The Nature of Things) reveals groundbreaking research which has triggered a tipping point for Alberta oil sands.
- Worst Person in the Eco-World.
That’d be Tap Oil CEO Troy Hayden! His west African company launches its ‘Ghana Seismic 3D seismic survey’ which will conduct rapid-fire geophysical studies off the Ghana coast to expedite access to potential goldmine-quantity petroleum systems and thereby expedite drilling, Says Hayden: “We look forward to carrying out the operations as planned in a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly manner.”
- The Ultimate Change Change FAQ.
If you haven’t been to this wonderful resource by The Guardian check out their masterful project, tasked to build “the definitive guide to climate change, covering science, politics and economics.”
CLIMATE CHANGE & ENERGY
- Solar Panels Inch Closer To Top Of World.
Getting High in Lhasa, Tibet. The highest solar power system in the world, a utility-scale, single-axis tracking solar installation generating 10 megawatts of solar power capacity at a very high elevation.
- Google Mosaic – Breathtaking beauty … .
Check out this interactive image from Google Mosaic on shifting weather patterns …
- A close second visualization comes from … .
NOAA for its phenemonal Data Visualizations, most specifically the section on Ozone and Water Vapor
- 100 Million Potentially Impacted by Next Storm.
Tim Ballisty, Editorial Meteorologist at weather.com predicts next weeks weather patterns will continue to batter the US. Watch the video…
CLIMATE CHANGE POLITICS
- The EPA & the GOP EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regs.
Stay tuned this week as good ole’ Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) — best known for his infamous portrayal of climate change as the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” — introduces legislation (do we smell a cock-Koch here?) challenging to the Obama administration’s extending EPA authority over limiting GHG emissions.
- Everglade “Head” fund.
Read Interior Sec. Ken Salazar’s idea for 21st century conservation? An Everglades Headwaters Refuge in response to Floridians concerns over the impact of altered water flows, excessive nutrients and pollution on the state’s greatest natural wonder — the Everglades.
- Carbon markets after Cancun: Carbon Capture and Storage in the Clean Development Mechanism .
Middle East and North Sea oil companies can expect huge profits from the UN’s inclusion of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as they stretch authorities to subsidize increased oil extractions.
- WEF: The Outrage of it all or Tell us something we don’t know already, for God’s sake! .
Descending from the rarefied heady & breathless atmosphere of snow-drenched Davos, the global elite members of the increasingly irrelevant WEF once again exhibit their monocular field-dependent vision. As the conference melted to a yawn-of-a-close, world leaders are once again late to the ballgame. As if we underlings didn’t already know that underinvestment in energy and agriculture posed significant global economic threats and that we underlings are suffering global burn out and an uptick in stress related illnesses due to increased in economic turmoil, round-the-clock (add ‘delusional’ or ‘contrived’) communication and constant social pressure to succeed against Sisopyian odds.
WATER & NATURAL RESOURCES
- Lower your Coral Reef Flipperprint.
Before diving in to the delicately balanced ecosystems of The Great Barrier Reef (and other reefs) check out the Responsible Reef Practices guide to ensure you follow the old boyscout code — leave it cleaner than when you arrived.
- 5.16 mln acres of crops, 2.79 mln people suffer from drought in China
China announces today ongoing drought has harmed some 77.4 million mu (5.16 million acres) of crops, while causing 2.57 million people to face shortages of drinking water.
WILDLIFE & ENDANGERED SPECIES
- Trade in rare plants sows trouble for endangered species.
Rare plants are increasingly finding their way outside their normal habitats because of commercial sellers and citizen conservationists, two ecologists warn. Unless the movement of such plants is better regulated, it could spell trouble for endangered species as well as the environments to which they are moved.
The caution, written by Patrick Shirey and Gary Lamberti at the University of Notre Dame and published in the journal Nature, warned that rare plants grown outside their native territories can disrupt their new environment, hybridize with related plants and blur their genetic individuality, or carry pathogens them that devastate other plants. They called for more uniform and rigorous regulation of Internet trade in rare plants across the U.S.
The scientists noted that about 10% of the 753 plants federally listed as threatened or endangered are being advertised for sale online.
- Invasive plant species lists by state – US East Coast, Ontario & Midwest
From Connecticut through Wisconsin…
- Engandered species status for the Gunnison’s prairie dog.
Take heart, Colorodo State wildlife officials! Your struggle to combat a plague threatening populations of Gunnison’s prairie dog, a species that’s considered a candidate for federal protection, just may have gained support! Seems a slot may be opening up on the Endangered Species list! (see below)
- …because the Gray Wolf’s endangered species status IS threatened …..
“Scientists and wolf recovery advocates agree – the gray wolf is back. Since it is no longer endangered, it should be de-listed as a species, managed as others species are–by state wildlife agencies– and time, money and effort can be focused where it’s needed.” Jim Matheson, D-Utah
- Migratory flyways: Birds vanishing in Philippines.
The dramatic demise of wetlands and hunting have impacted the migratory flyways of birds flying south to winter in the Philippines. Despite increasingly harsh weather systems across the Eurasian airmass, the flock numbers migrating to tropical islands are on the decrease. In fact. some waterbirds aren’t showing up at all. Experts are calling for well-managed waterbird sanctuaries.
FOOD & HEALTH (Lifestyle & Education)
- green gossip.
Green light for production of Avatar 2 and 3 as James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment Studio purchases space in Agoura Hills, CA for 92,000 square-foot project.
- Wheat Poised to Weather Climate Change.
A new study suggests that new wheat-growing conditions across North America will ensure the ability of the region to adapt to climate change, based upon analysis of 150 years.
- The Farmer & The Horse .
Check out this wonderful and inspiring video about a New Jersey family adapting to working with horses in the fields.
True, Twitter is becoming top-heavy with these ‘paper-cutter’ easily customizable paper-lis (read about how to unstuff your tweetfeeds w/content curation) but I always find Bebe Le Blanc has that certain je ne sais pas quoi which elevates her daily rag. Yesterday Bebe featured edible condoms, the FDA and GMO salmon, news on heart-rhythm coherence & the usual fabulous recipes.
ECO JUSTICE & HUMAN RIGHTS
- Van talks plastic @ TED.
Van Jones lays out a case against plastic pollution from the perspective of social justice. Because plastic trash, he shows us, hits poor people and poor countries “first and worst,” with consequences we all share no matter where we live and what we earn. At TEDxGPGP, he offers a few powerful ideas to help us reclaim our throwaway planet.
- Seeing REDD … .
As the 10th session of the UN Forum on Forests ushered in the UN Year of Forests last week, environmental groups denounced “False Forest Policies” demanding an end to ongoing privatization and commodification of forests through forest carbon offsets and other false solutions to climate change.
- reddisms; quote of the day.
““There is $10bn coming in from palm oil, $4bn from pulp and paper, and the people who work in these concessions are many, so we cannot just stop it all or the IMF will collapse us as an economy. So please be wise about this, who will pay for that? Europe and the US has a financial crisis and who is going to help us just for the sake of climate change? Nobody. We were told to democratise and this is the price of democracy. Climate change is the price of democracy. Indonesia is trying to be a good boy, but we can’t paint the sky for you.”” — Hadi Daryanto, secretary-general of the Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia, October 2010
- Child Labor and Cotton.
The majority of the 250 million children who are compelled to work find work in agriculture, exposing them to pesticides, machinery and hard labor. Many of these children are ‘penal prisoners’ of the cotton industry, which extends from West Africa to Egypt, India to Turkmenistan.
GREEN JOBS & ECONOMIC IMPACTS
- Sunday Train: Quiet Progress Edition Two ~ Sustainable Power and Feed-in Tariffs.
Stop by at BruceMcF’s diary just up … “a quiet piece of good news on that front ~ good news that allows states that wish to pursue green jobs to do so without the Grossly Oil-addicted Party in the House of Representatives being able to get in the way.”
- Tinkering with VOLTS: A STORY PART II.
Part II of Bruce Mulliken’s story about a fictitious automobile conversion shop about to purchase three cars to be “reengineered.” The dialogue continues…
- Portland Auto Show 2011: The Green Cars.
The White Zombie premieres at the Oregon Convention Center where this year’s International Auto show is getting a green shellacking as 30,000 square feet showcase eco car technologies.