Thursday, March 29, 2007


The poor of the world have more to worry about than drowning in rising seas:
Cuban President Fidel Castro has strongly criticised the use of biofuels by the US, in his first article since undergoing surgery last year.

He said George W Bush's support for the use of food crops in fuel production would cause 3bn deaths from hunger.

Mr Castro's article appears in Thursday's edition of Granma, under the headline: "Condemned to premature death by hunger and thirst more than 3bn people of the world."
Australia's future isn't exactly rosy, either:
A leaked report by the United Nations Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change paints a devastating picture of Australia's future.

The document obtained by the ABC's The 7.30 Report says the average coastline temperature could rise by up to 3.4 degrees by 2050 and by more than 6 degrees by 2080.

It also predicts bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, more frequent fires, droughts, floods and storms, and a further dwindling of streamflows in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Thank God we'll have the storms and floods to put out the fires.

Update: The 7:30 Report transcript is now available, painting a much less dire picture than the news report above:
The 7.30 Report has obtained a copy of the chapter on Australia and New Zealand from the final draft of the IPCC's working group II report. Governments around the world have been given this draft on a confidential basis. It makes for some uncomfortable reading. Within 800 kilometres of the Australian coast, temperatures will warm from 0.1 degree to 1.3 degrees by 2020. By 2050, it could warm anywhere from 0.3 to 3.4 degrees and, by 2080, the mean temperature could be 6.7 degrees warmer than it is now. As a result, the report says, heatwaves and fires are virtually certain to increase in intensity and frequency. Floods, landslides, droughts and storm surges are very likely to become more frequent and intense. Climate change has become the hottest political topic of the moment. Labor has been on the offensive, challenging the Government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and committing itself to 60 per cent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Government says targets like that, and particularly the 30 per cent reduction by 2020 recommended by the British economist Sir Nicholas Stern, would do great damage to the Australian economy. The Government believes we should not take action on our own that would be to our disadvantage. Instead, it is pursuing global action outside the Kyoto Agreement, through the so called P6 dialogue that includes the US and China, and through what it says are practical measures, like today's announcement of a $200 million initiative to help developing nations preserve their forests. And although today he said he hadn't yet read the IPCC's draft on Australia, the Prime Minister is clearly still reluctant to embrace some of the more alarming predictions.
The left, the ABC included, is eager to embrace the most alarming predictions.


Anonymous Toaf said...

Castro's comment may arise from the impact that greater US demand for biofuel has had on the price of tortillas in Mexico. The Mexican government has made a gentleman's agreement with a gaggle of big agribusinesses to cap the price of tortillas, else many will indeed face starvation. A few years ago these people grew their own corn.

9:54 AM  

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