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					SEKILAS Sebagai negara kepulauan terbesar di dunia yang terdiri dari 17.000 pulau, Indonesia membentangkan dua kawasan biogeografis – Indomelayu dan Australia - dan mendukung berbagai jenis kehidupan flora dan fauna dalam hutan basah yang asli dan kawasan pesisir dan laut yang kaya. Sekitar 3.305 spesies hewan amfibi, burung, mamalia dan reptil dan sedikitnya 29.375 spesies tanaman berpembuluh tersebar di pulau-pulau ini, yang diperkirakan mencapai 40 persen dari biodiversitas di kawasan APEC. Namun, lingkungan alam yang indah dan sumber daya yang kaya harus terus menghadapi tantangan dari fenomena alam - letaknya di Ring Api Pasifik seismik yang tinggi yang mengalami 90 persen gempa bumi dunia - maupun kegiatan manusia. Tekanan yang meningkat dalam memenuhi tuntutan penduduk dan pengelolaan lingkungan yang tidak memadai merupakan tantangan yang merugikan rakyat miskin dan perekonomian di Indonesia. Misalnya, total kerugian perekonomian akibat keterbatasan akses ke air bersih dan sanitasi yang aman setidaknya mencapai 2 persen dari PDB setiap tahun sedangkan biaya tahunan yang ditimbulkan polusi udara bagi perekonomian Indonesia telah diperhitungkan mencapai sekitar $400 juta per tahun. Biaya-biaya ini secara tidak proporsional ditanggung oleh rakyat miskin karena rakyat miskin kemungkinan besar harus menghadapi polusi dan sulit melakukan tindakan-tindakan untuk mengurangi dampaknya. Tantangan sumber daya alam terus terjadi dan menjadi lebih rumit setelah desentralisasi. Misalnya, sektor kehutanan telah lama memainkan peranan yang sangat penting dalam mendukung pembangunan perekonomian dan mata pencaharian masyarakat pedesaan dan dalam menyediakan pelayanan lingkungan. Tetapi, sumber daya ini belum dikelola secara berkelanjutan atau adil. Untuk memperbaiki situasi ini, diperlukan sebuah visi baru yang dipimpin oleh Pemerintah mengenai seperti apa sektor kesehatan yang layak dan sehat dari segi lingkungan itu. Kerangka administratif dan peraturan di Indonesia belum dapat memenuhi tuntutan akan adanya pembangunan yang berkelanjutan meskipun adanya dukungan kebijakan dan pengembangan kapasitas dari pemerintah sendiri maupun dukungan dari donor internasional. Kementerian-kementerian Indonesia yang terkait dengan pengelolaan lingkungan dan sumber daya alam telah memperoleh manfaat dari kepemimpinan
Cerita Tajuk Utama Mencari Jalan Pembangunan yang Lebih Hijau. Bank Dunia berkonsultasi dengan para pemangku kepentingan di seluruh dunia mengenai konsep baru yang mengatasi perubahan iklim di setiap aspek pembangunan. Kerangka Kerja Strategis mengenai Perubahan Iklim dan Pembangunan akan berfungsi sebagai panduan Kelompok Bank Dunia dalam semua usaha global dan operasi negara. Selengkapnya Bekasi Ramah Lingkungan Bank Dunia menandatangani perjanjian bersama inovatif yang akan segera mengurangi emisi gas rumah kaca, meningkatkan pengelolaan limbah padat, dan menyediakan pendanaan bagi masyarakat setempat di Kotamadya Bekasi. Selengkapnya Developing Countries Brace for Climate Change Impact. Will enough rain fall for crops to grow? What will happen to heavily populated low-lying areas when glaciers melt? Can island peoples keep their way of life if coral reefs no longer attract enough fish for them to eat? Read more Menyelamatkan hutan dan membuka lapangan kerja bagi pembalak liar Sebuah program percontohan melestarikan hutan di Aceh, telah membantu para penduduk setempat yang selama beberapa generasi membalak. Selengkapnya

yang baik di tingkat nasional dan juga dari jaringan organisasi masyarakat sipil yang aktif di seluruh nusantara yang difokuskan pada masalah-masalah lingkungan, dengan pengalaman advokasi yang signifikan. Namun, memperbaiki pendekatan pengelolaan lingkungan dan sumber daya alam di Indonesia tidaklah mudah. Kinerja yang buruk terutama disebabkan oleh dua alasan: Pertama, meskipun terdapat investasi yang besar pada kebijakan lingkungan dan sumber daya alam serta pengembangan kepegawaian, pelaksanaan peraturan dan prosedur di lapangan masih buruk dan lambat karena lemahnya komitmen instansiinstansi sektoral, rendahnya kesadaran departemen-departemen lokal dan tantangan kapasitas di semua tingkatan. Selain itu, pengetahuan tentang dampak negatif lingkungan yang diperkirakan akan terjadi dari pertumbuhan ekonomi yang berkelanjutan dan mekanisme bagi stakeholder untuk meminta pertanggungjawaban kinerja instansi pemerintah masih lemah. Kedua, pertimbangan-pertimbangan lingkungan masih sangat minim di tingkat perencanaan dan penyusunan program, terutama dalam proses perencanaan investasi publik dan dalam rencana tata guna lahan dan sumber daya daerah.
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ISU UTAMA Masalah-masalah yang paling serius mengancam kemajuan pembangunan yang berkelanjutan di Indonesia adalah: Dorongan yang keliru yang menghambat penggunaan sumber daya alam secara berkelanjutan Sumber daya alam memberikan kontribusi yang besar kepada PDB Indonesia dan anggaran belanja Pemerintah. Sektor pertanian, kehutanan, dan pertambangan menyumbang sekitar 25% PDB Indonesia dan sekitar 30% dari seluruh penerimaan anggaran Pemerintah (pada tahun 2005, pajak penghasilan atas migas mencapai 7% dari pendapatan, dan penerimaan bukan pajak atas pendatan sumber daya alam mencapai 22% dari pendapatan negara). Namun, kebijakan makro ekonomi Indonesia (kebijakan pendapatan pajak dan bukan pajak serta pola perimbangan keuangan) tampaknya mendorong terjadinya pengurasan sumber daya akibat penggunaan yang terus-menerus karena melalui kebijakankebijakan ini pemerintah kabupaten, berdasarkan pendapatan sumber daya dan bukan kinerja atau kepengurusan, tidak memperoleh pendapatan pajak yang memadai dari usaha kehutanan dan perikanan (yang terkait dengan sumber daya lain), dan tidak mengizinkan diberikannya sumbangan amal oleh individu atau badan usaha. Kesenjangan antara kebijakan dan praktek setelah desentralisasi dapat memperlambat perbaikan yang signifikan pada kualitas lingkungan Di bawah sistem desentralisasi, kini sedang diujicoba sampai sejauh mana pemerintah daerah merasa terikat oleh garis kebijakan nasional; pelayanan sipil tidak lagi merupakan bagian dari

rantai komando terpadu, badan-badan regulator di banyak provinsi dan kabupaten kini berada langsung di bawah perintah gubernur atau bupati yang seringkali juga menjadi penyokong proyek-proyek atau kegiatan-kegiatan yang harus diatur. Meskipun adanya investasi yang besar pada kebijakan lingkungan dan pengembangan kepegawaian, pelaksanaan peraturan dan prosedur di lapangan masih buruk. Masalah-masalah ini tidak mungkin dapat diatasi di bawah sistem desentralisasi kecuali jika pendekatan yang lebih efektif dapat dikembangkan. Banyak provinsi dan kabupaten membuat penafsiran-penafsiran baru mengenai peraturan yang ada, atau berupaya mencari prosedur peraturan yang seluruhnya baru. Meskipun sebagian inovasi ini memperkuat pengendalian lingkungan, namun sebagian besar malah mengendurkan pengendalian atau bahkan mengabaikan seluruh standar nasional. Persepsi masyarakat tentang masalah lingkungan dan prioritas pembangunan Pemerintah Kesadaran masyarakat penting dalam upaya mengatasi masalah lingkungan di Indonesia, dari risiko bencana alam sampai konservasi biodiversitas. Warga masyarakat yang terinformasi dan sadar dapat mengambil tindakan untuk mengatasi masalah-masalah lingkungan dan dapat membentuk kelompok untuk peningkatan upaya penanganan di tingkat politik maupun pemerintah daerah. Namun, di tingkat yang lebih luas, nilai-nilai lingkungan belum tertanam dengan kuat pada masyarakat sehingga mereka kurang menghargai sumber daya alam dan pelayanan lingkungan. Partisipasi dan suara dalam pengambilan keputusan merupakan unsur penting dalam penyelenggaraan yang baik. Bencana-bencana lingkungan yang baru-baru ini terjadi (banjir, lumpur, kebakaran, erosi) memang telah mendorong perhatian yang lebih besar kepada masalah lingkungan, namun pengkajian lebih lanjut mengenai pengetahuan, sikap dan praktek masih perlu dilakukan untuk mengetahui sampai sejauh mana pemahaman ini mencapai masyarakat di luar pusat-pusat perkotaan, dan apa saja sarana yang paling cocok untuk membangun di atas kesadaran dasar ini. Manfaat sosial, lingkungan dan ekonomi, risiko dan biaya langkah-langkah alternatif pembangunan Di Indonesia, kebijakan energi, praktek sektor kehutanan dan masalah perubahan iklim saling berhubungan erat. Bahan bakar fosil mendominasi konsumsi energi di Indonesia, di daerah pedesaan maupun perkotaan, dan Indonesia secara bertahap sedang meningkatkan penggunaan energi yang dihasilkan oleh batu bara (sekitar 40% pada tahun 2002). Indonesia juga merupakan penghasil gas rumah kaca terbesar ketiga di dunia, yang memproduksi 80% gas rumah kaca dari perubahan penggunaan lahan selain penebangan hutan dan kebakaran hutan/gambut. Kebijakan energi nasional mendorong peningkatan pemanfaatan sumber energi yang dapat diperbaharui termasuk biomassa, panas bumi dan tenaga air. Pada saat yang sama, Pemerintah merencanakan pemanfaatan batu bara berskala besar untuk mengurangi ketergantungan Indonesia pada impor minyak. Peningkatan pemanfaatan batu bara dapat menimbulkan dampak lingkungan negatif yang signifikan terkait dengan kandungan sulfur yang tinggi dan dampak potensial terhadap hutan akibat pembukaan lahan. Solusi energi alternatif diperlukan bagi daerah-daerah yang lebih terpencil dengan harga yang sesuai dan dukungan sektor publik.

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/EASTASIAPACIFICEX T/INDONESIAINBAHASAEXTN/0,,contentMDK:21556989~pagePK:1497618~piPK:2 17854~theSitePK:447244,00.html

Why Is Biodiversity Important? Who Cares?
Author and Page information
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by Anup Shah This Page Last Updated Sunday, April 26, 2009 This page: http://www.globalissues.org/article/170/why-is-biodiversity-importantwho-cares. To print all information e.g. expanded side notes, shows alternative links, use the print version: o http://www.globalissues.org/print/article/170

At least 40 per cent of the world‘s economy and 80 per cent of the needs of the poor are derived from biological resources. In addition, the richer the diversity of life, the greater the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic development, and adaptive responses to such new challenges as climate change. — The Convention about Life on Earth, Convention on Biodiversity web site. This web page has the following sub-sections: 1. Why is Biodiversity Important? 2. A healthy biodiversity offers many natural services 3. Species depend on each other 1. Soil, bacteria, plants; the Nitrogen Cycle 2. Bees: crucial agricultural workers 3. Interdependent marine ecosystem 4. Interdependency vs Human Intervention 4. Biodiversity providing lessons for scientists in engineering 5. More important than human use or biological interest 6. More information

Why is Biodiversity Important?
Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, all have an important role to play. For example,
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A larger number of plant species means a greater variety of crops Greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms

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Healthy ecosystems can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters.

And so, while we dominate this planet, we still need to preserve the diversity in wildlife. Back to top

A healthy biodiversity offers many natural services

Ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest are rich in diversity. Deforestation threatens many species such as the giant leaf frog, shown here. (Images source: Wikipedia) A healthy biodiversity provides a number of natural services for everyone:
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Ecosystem services, such as o Protection of water resources o Soils formation and protection o Nutrient storage and recycling o Pollution breakdown and absorption o Contribution to climate stability o Maintenance of ecosystems o Recovery from unpredictable events Biological resources, such as o Food o Medicinal resources and pharmaceutical drugs o Wood products o Ornamental plants o Breeding stocks, population reservoirs o Future resources o Diversity in genes, species and ecosystems Social benefits, such as o Research, education and monitoring o Recreation and tourism o Cultural values

That is quite a lot of services we get for free! The cost of replacing these (if possible) would be extremely expensive. It therefore makes economic and development sense to move towards sustainability. A report from Nature magazine also explains that genetic diversity helps to prevent the chances of extinction in the wild (and claims to have shown proof of this). To prevent the well known and well documented problems of genetic defects caused by in-breeding, species need a variety of genes to ensure successful survival. Without this, the chances of extinction increases. And as we start destroying, reducing and isolating habitats, the chances for interaction from species with a large gene pool decreases. Side Note» Back to top

Species depend on each other
While there might be ―survival of the fittest‖ within a given species, each species depends on the services provided by other species to ensure survival. It is a type of cooperation based on mutual survival and is often what a ―balanced ecosystem‖ refers to.

Soil, bacteria, plants; the Nitrogen Cycle
The relationship between soil, plants, bacteria and other life is also referred to as the nitrogen cycle:

(Image source: Wikipedia) As an example, consider all the species of animals and organisms involved in a simple field used in agriculture. As summarized from Vandana Shiva, Stolen Harvest (South End Press, 2000), pp 61–62:
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Crop byproducts feed cattle Cattle waste feeds the soil that nourish the crops Crops, as well as yielding grain also yield straw o Straw provides organic matter and fodder o Crops are therefore food sources for humans and animals Soil organisms also benefit from crops o Bacteria feed on the cellulose fibers of straw that farmers return to the soil o Amoebas feed on bacteria making lignite fibers available for uptake by plants o Algae provide organic matter and serve as natural nitrogen fixers o Rodents that bore under the fields aerate the soil and improve its waterholding capacity o Spiders, centipedes and insects grind organic matter from the surface soil and leave behind enriched droppings. o Earthworms contribute to soil fertility  They provide aerage, drainage and maintain soil structure.  According to Charles Darwin, ―It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of creatures.‖

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The earthworm is like a natural tractor, fertilizer factory and dam, combined! Industrial-farming techniques would deprive these diverse species of food sources and instead assault them with chemicals, destroying the rich biodiversity in the soil and with it the basis for the renewal of the soil fertility.

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Shiva, a prominent Indian scientist and activist goes on to detail the costs associated with destroying this natural diversity and traditional farming techniques which recognize this, and replacing this with industrial processes which go against the nature of diversity sustainability.

Bees: crucial agricultural workers

Bees are crucial for agriculture. (Images source: Wikipedia) Bees provide enormous benefits for humankind as another example. As reported by CNN (May 5, 2000), ―One third of all our food—fruits and vegetables— would not exist without pollinators visiting flowers. But honeybees, the primary species that fertilizes food-producing plants, have suffered dramatic declines in recent years, mostly from afflictions introduced by humans.‖ As German bee expert Professor Joergen Tautz from Wurzburg University adds: Bees are vital to bio diversity. There are 130,000 plants for example for which bees are essential to pollination, from melons to pumpkins, raspberries and all kind of fruit trees — as well as animal fodder — like clover. Bees are more important than poultry in terms of human nutrition. — Joergen Tautz interviewed by Michael Leidig, Honey bees in US facing extinction, The Telegraph, March 14, 2007 Researchers are finding reasons for the massive decline hard to pinpoint, but suspect a combination of various diseases, environmental pollution, environmental degradation

(leading to less diversity for bees to feed from, for example) and farming practices (such as pesticides, large monoculture cropping, etc). The link and dependency between plants, bees, and human agriculture is so crucial, the two scientists writing up years of research into the problem summarized with this warning: Humankind needs to act quickly to ensure that the ancient pact between flowers and pollinators stays intact, to safeguard our food supply and to protect our environment for generations to come. These efforts will ensure that bees continue to provide pollination and that our diets remain rich in the fruits and vegetables we now take for granted. — Diana Cox-Foster and Dennis van Engelsdorp, Solving the Mystery of the Vanishing Bees, Scientific American, April 2009

Interdependent marine ecosystem

Whaling is often controversial. (Image source: © Greenpeace) An example from the seas (originally mentioned here years ago but removed because the link to the story no longer worked), was described by National Geographic Wild in a program called, A Life Among Whales (broadcast June 14, 2008). It noted how a few decades ago, some fishermen campaigned for killing whales because they were threatening the fish supply and thus jobs. A chain of events eventually came full circle and led to a loss of jobs:
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The massive reduction in the local whale population meant killer whales in the region (usually preying on younger whales) moved to other animals such as seals; As seal numbers declined, the killer whales targeted otters; As otter numbers were decimated, the urchins and other targets of otters flourished;

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These decimated the kelp forests where many fish larvae grew in relative protection; The exposed fish larvae were easy pickings for a variety of sea life; Fishermen‘s livelihoods were destroyed.

Interdependency vs Human Intervention
But nature can often be surprisingly resilient, often without the need for human interventions. For example, a documentary aired on the BBC (I unfortunately forget the name and date, but in the 1990s) described two national parks in Africa where elephant populations had grown quite large within those artificial boundaries. The usual way to deal with this was to cull the population to try and keep the ecosystem in balance. Without this, elephants were stripping vegetation bare, affecting other animals, too.

(Image source: Wikipedia) A scientist pleaded with park management not to cull and let nature take its course. Being against prevailing thought, they would not agree. In the end they agreed to let one park have its elephants culled, while the other would be left alone. A few years later, they found the park with the culled population had remained in poor condition. The park where things were left alone has naturally regenerated; the large elephant populations eventually reduced in number as they undermined their own resource base. The natural pace at which this happened allowed vegetation to grow back. Other wildlife grew in numbers and the ecosystem was generally back in balance. Back to top

Biodiversity providing lessons for scientists in engineering

For a number of years now, scientists have been looking more and more at nature to see how various species work, produce, consume resources, trying to mimic the amazing feats that millions of years of evolution has produced. As just one small example, some spiders can produce their silk with a higher tensile strength than many alloys of steel even though it is made of proteins. So biologists are looking at these processes in more depth to see if they can reproduce or enhance such capabilities. Back to top

More important than human use or biological interest
Many people may support environmental causes to help preserve the ―beauty‖ of Nature. However, that is in a strange way, not really a justifiable excuse as it is a subjective, human or anthropomorpahsized view. For many decades, various environmentalists, biologists and other scientists, have viewed the entire earth as a massive living organism or system due to the interdependent nature of all species within it. Some cultures have recognized this kind of inter-relationship for a very long time. Some have termed this Gaia. While there are disagreements and differences on how this works, it suggests that ecological balance and biodiversity are crucial for all of earth, not just humans. Back to top

More information
For more information on this question, visit some of the following links
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Scientific American Magazine provides an answer to a reader‘s question: ―What is the point in preserving endangered species that have no practical use to humans, apart from their aesthetic appeal or their intellectual interest to biologists?‖ The WWF also have a section on this issue. Biodiversity: A Matter of Extinction is a briefing from Panos that highlights the current problems that have led to an increasingly alarming rate extinctions, this century alone. Biodiversity—an Overview from the World Conservation Monitor provides many good reasons and insights. Biodiversity and its Value from the Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australia, provides many good insights. What is Biodiversity? from Rutgers University provides a good list of things to consider.

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―Why Conserve Species‖ from Nature Magazine provides a good answer to this question. (Unfortunately, since their site redesign, this URL is no longer valid, and to date a new URL cannot be found.) ―Life on the Brink‖ from Earth Magazine, (Kalmbach Publishing Company), April 97 edition, delivers a very interesting answer that is worth a read. (Unfortunately they no longer publish this magazine so the article is no longer online.) Biodiversity Benefits People is an online presentation from the United Nations Environment Program What is Biodiversity? from the Biodiversity Project also provides answers to why biodiversity is important

http://www.globalissues.org/article/170/why-is-biodiversity-important-who-cares

Privatisasi Kawasan Konservasi, Wajah Pemerintahan Neo-Liberal
There are no translations available.

Jakarta (15/06). Setelah berhasil memberikan kawasan hutan lindung kepada 13 perusahaan tambang dan merencanakan untuk melakukan penambangan tertutup di kawasan lindung, Departemen Kehutanan kembali merencanakan untuk terus melakukan privatisasi kawasan konservasi, utamanya taman nasional, kepada pihak swasta. Apa yang dilakukan oleh Departemen Kehutanan ini merupakan wajah dari pemerintahan yang menganut paham neo-liberal dan tidak ingin mensejahterakan rakyat, termasuk dalam hal hak generasi sekarang dan generasi yang mendatang. ―Privatisasi kawasan konservasi merupakan wajah pemerintahan yang menganut paham

neo-liberal. Proses pelepasan kawasan hutan skala luas akan terus terjadi, sementara komunitas lokal/adat dipaksa menyingkir dari ruang kehidupannya.‖ ujar Berry Nahdian Forqan, Direktur Eksekutif Nasional WALHI. Saat ini, Pemerintah melalui Departemen Kehutanan kembali akan melakukan privatisasi beberapa kawasan taman nasional, diantaranya TN Bromo Tengger- Semeru kepada Perusahaan Sumitomo-Jepang, TN Gunung Halimun-Salak kepada Bakrieland seluas 1.000 hektar, TN Bukit Barisan Selatan kepada PT. Adi Niaga Kreanusa. Sebelumnya Pemerintah juga telah menyerahkan sebagian kawasan TN Komodo kepada PT Putri Naga Komodo – yang sebagian sahamnya dimiliki oleh NGO dari Amerika Serikat, dimana hal ini juga terjadi pada hampir sebagian besar taman nasional di Indonesia, diantaranya TN Bali Barat, TN Kutai, dan TN Selain itu, pemerintah telah membuat kawasan lindung sebagai alat privatisasi dengan cara melakukan penggusuran rakyat di sekitar kawasan itu dan menggadaikannya kepada sektor bisnis. Cara itu dilakukan pemerintah dengan memberi restu kepada 13 perusahaan tambang skala besar yang akan membuka operasinya tambangnya di kawasan lindung. Pemerintah juga mempersiapkan lahirnya Keputusan Presiden untuk memperboleh dilakukannya pertambangan tertutup di kawasan hutan lindung, yang akan semakin menghancurkan kondisi ekologi dan sosial-budaya komunitas lokal. Di kawasan konservasi, WALHI mencatat begitu banyak konflik di kawasan konservasi, khususnya taman nasional, dikarenakan pemerintah melakukan pengusiran paksa komunitas lokal/adat setelah dilakukan penunjukan kawasan konservasi. Eskalasi konflik di kawasan konservasi timbul akibat penetapan kawasan konservasi secara sepihak dengan menggunakan pendekatan konservasi benteng (fortress conservation), yaitu menempatkan masyarakat sebagai ancaman terhadap upaya konservasi. Itulah sebabnya akses masyarakat ke kawasan itu dibatasi. ―Di banyak Taman Nasional di Indonesia hak-hak rakyat untuk bebas bertumbuh kembang telah dihilangkan. Bahkan lebih dalam lagi, sebagian besar hak rakyat atas kebutuhan utama kehidupan, meliputi pangan, pakaian, tempat tinggal, hingga kesehatan telah dicabut dengan sebuah sistem pengelolaan taman nasional di Indonesia yang mengikuti pola negara utara, dimana taman nasional merupakan bagian yang steril dari manusia. ―, Ade Fadli, Pengkampanye Hutan WALHI. Kawasan taman nasional di Indonesia yang masih belum memiliki konsep yang sangat jelas, serta masih lebih mengutamakan kepentingan pemberi dana (baca: investor) telah menimbulkan kesenjangan kehidupan di tingkat rakyat. Areal-areal konservasi yang dijadikan konsesi bagi lembaga internasional maupun bagi pengusaha telah serta merta menjadikan semakin berkurangnya kekayaan alam Indonesia, baik secara fisik maupun budaya. Pemerintah juga semakin memperkuat sistem neo-liberalisme melalui mekanisme penggadaian aset hutan dan sumberdaya alam lainnya, dengan memberikan hak polusi pada negara Annex 1 dan memberikan penguasaan lahan kepada negara industri dan

korporasi dalam skala besar melalui skema REDD dan REDD(+). Pemerintah Indonesia terus mendorongkan skema REDD hanya untuk mendapatkan uang, bukan untuk melakukan penyelamatan kawasan hutan. Pengelolaan kawasan konservasi di Indonesia masih berorientasi pada menjadikan kawasan konservasi dan perlindungan htuan sebagai mesin uang, dimana kawasan konservasi Indonesia menjadi sebuah kawasan konsesi bagi lembaga internasional maupun program internasional dan melupakan posisi rakyat yang telah hidup lebih lama dibandingkan keberadaan hukum mengenai taman nasional itu sendiri. [selesai]

Informasi lebih lanjut dapat menghubungi: Ade Fadli – Pengkampanye Hutan WALHI - +628152055331 – adefadli@walhi.or.id

Informasi tambahan: 1. Hingga tahun 2007, Pemerintah telah menunjuk Kawasan konservasi dan pelestarian alam seluas 23.304.017,57 hektar dan dan hutan lindung seluas 31.604.032,02 hektar. Diantaranya terdapat 236 unit Cagar Alam Darat dengan total luas 4.588.665,44 hektar, dan 8 unit Cagar Alam perairan dengan luas sekitar 273.515,00 hektar; sedangkan Suaka Margasatwa darat sebanyak 75 unit dengan luas 5.099.849,06 hektar serta 6 unit Suaka Margasatwa perairan dengan luas sekitar 338.940,00 hektar. 50 unit Taman Nasional Darat dengan luas 12.298.216,34 hektar, dan 7 unit Taman Nasional Laut dengan luas 4.049.541,30 hektar. Pemerintah juga menunjuk 105 unit Taman Wisata Alam Darat dengan total luas sekitar 257.316,53 hektar, dan 19 Taman Wisata Laut dengan total luas sekitar 767.120,70 hektar. 21 unit Taman Hutan Raya dengan luas total sekitar 343.454,91 hektar. 2. Pada Oktober 2004, Pemerintah Indonesia telah menetapkan sembilan taman nasional baru yaitu Batang Gadis (108.000 ha), Gunung Merapi (6.410 ha), Gunung Merbabu (5.725 ha), Tesso Nilo (38.576 ha), Aketajawe-Lolobata (167.300 ha), Bantimurung-Bulusaraung (43.750 ha), Kepulauan Togean (365.605 ha), Sebangau (568.700 ha) dan Gunung Ciremai (15.500 ha). Selain itu Pemerintah Indonesia menambah luas Taman Nasional Kerinci Seblat 14.160 ha. Jadi total 1.330.826 hektar telah ditambahkan untuk kawasan konservasi di Indonesia. Dan pada Mei 2009, Pemerintah menunjuk 3,5 juta hektar perairan di Laut Sawu di Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) menjadi Taman Nasional Perairan (TNP). 3. WALHI mencatat telah terjadi beberapa pengusiran rakyat dari kawasan konservasi di Indonesia, diantaranya di TN Lore Lindu, TN Kutai, TN Meru Betiri, TN Komodo, TN Rawa Aopa Watumoi, TN Taka Bonerate, TN Kerinci Seblat dan beberapa kawasan lainnya. Bahkan di TN Komodo, masyarakat nelayan hingga saat ini dilarang melakukan aktivitas penangkapan ikan di kawasan taman nasional. Terhadap penetapan kawasan Taman Nasional Perairan Sawu juga terjadi penolakan oleh masyarakat setempat, karena akan mengganggu tradisi budaya masyarakat Lamalera. 4. Mekanisme bisnis konservasi baru akan terlihat pada fase setelah 5 tahun sebuah lembaga konservasi (internasional) melakukan aktivitas di sebuah kawasan konservasi. Isu ekowisata (ecotourism) diangkat sebagai bungkus dari aktivitas bisnis yang ingin

dilakukan. Di Taman Nasional Komodo, beberapa tahun lalu dibentuk sebuah perusahaan bernama PT Putri Naga Komodo yang sahamnya sebagian dimiliki oleh lembaga konservasi internasional (The Nature Conservancy) yang kemudian juga memperoleh utang dari lembaga keuangan internasional (International Finance Institutions) untuk menguatkan permodalannya. Sementara kelompok-kelompok nelayan lokal ―dipaksa‖ untuk mencari wilayah tangkapan lainnya yang semakin jauh dari tempat berkehidupannya. 1. Skema REDD adalah pembelian emisi dari negara non-Annex 1 oleh negara Annex 1 dengan skema pencegahan deforestasi melalui perlindungan kawasan hutan dengan melepaskan tanggung jawab negara Annex 1 untuk bertanggung jawab atas emisi industri negaranya. Skema REDD(+) adalah pembelian emisi dari negara non-Annex 1 oleh negara Annex 1 dengan membenarkan praktek deforestasi yang dilakukan oleh perusahaan perkebunan besar (Hutan Tanaman Industri dan Perkebunan besar (kelapa sawit)). http://www.walhi.or.id/websites/index.php/en/campaign/forest/57-konversi-hutan-danlahan-/219-privatisasi-kawasan-konservasi-wajah-pemerintahan-neo-liberal

Wajah Hutan Indonesia
There are no translations available. Sektor kehutanan Indonesia tahun 2008 dibuka dengan keluarnya Peraturan Pemerintah No 2 tahun 2008 pada Bulan Februari 2008. peraturan yang mengatur tentang Penerimaan Negara Bukan Pajak yang Berasal dari Penggunaan Kawasan Hutan untuk kepentingan Pembangunan diluar Kegiatan Kehutanan. PP tersebut membuka peluang pembukaan hutan lindung dan hutan produksi untuk kegiatan pertambangan, infrastruktur telekomunikasi dan jalan tol dengan tarif sewa seharga Rp 120 untuk hutan produksi dan Rp 300 per meter persegi per tahun. Secara ringkas, PP tersebut merupakan produk turunan dari Perpu No 1/2004 yang memberikan izin bagi usaha pertambangan untuk melakukan aktivitasnya di atas hutan lindung. Perpu yang kemudian diperkuat dengan Keppres No. 41 Tahun 2004 tentang Perizinan atau Perjanjian di Bidang Pertambangan Yang Berada di Kawasan Hutan, dan bersama DPR kemudian menetapkannya menjadi UU No 19 tahun 2004. Dalam banyak kajian disebutkan bahwa UU No. 19/2004 tentang penetapan Perpu No.1 tahun 2004 tentang perubahan atas UU No. 41 tahun 1999 tentang Kehutanan menjadi undang-undang tidak memenuhi syarat sebagai suatu produk perundang-undangan, merupakan bentuk tindakan sewenang-wenang dalam menggunakan kekuasaan (detournement de pouvoir) dan bertentangan dengan tata cara pembuatan perundangundangan yang baik serta melanggar ketentuan konstitusi, pembukaan alinea 1,2 dan 3, pasal 1 ayat (1) dan (2)dan (3) ,pasal 20a, dan pasal 22 ayat (1) UUD 1945.

Pembukaan tambang di hutan jelas akan menimbukan kerusakan permanen. Aktivitas penambangan memiliki daya musnah yang luar biasa. Tidak saja terjadi pada kawasan yang dibuka namun juga pada kawasan hilir yang ditempati oleh komunitas-komunitas masyarakat. Tidak kurang jalannya perekonomian di 25 kabupaten/kota akan terganggu dan menimbulkan dampak yang cukup serius terhadap jutaan penduduk pada kawasan tersebut. Nilai kerugian yang tercipta jauh lebih besar dibanding keuntungan jangka pendek yang didapat. Secara pasti, PP ini akan memuluskan pemusnahan 925 ribu hektar hutan lindung di Indonesia yang akan dilakukan oleh 13 perusahaan. PP ini juga tidak menyebut sama sekali bahwa aturan ini ditujukan kepada 13 perusahaan yang ada sehingga berpotensi untuk memuluskan jalan bagi 158 perusahaan tambang lainnya untuk mengobrak abrik 11,4 juta hektar hutan lindung. Semuanya bisa dilakukan dengan hanya membayar Rp. 300/m2. PP ini keluar dikala Presiden berkomitment mengurangi laju Pemanasan Global dengan menyelamatkan hutan alam indonesia tersisa. PP ini juga keluar dikala Presiden punya kewenangan yang kuat untuk membatalkan pertambangan di hutan lindung, namun tidak dilakukannya!. Hingga disini, terjadi ketidak konsistenan Pemerintah Indonesia. Dalam pertemuan para pihak di Bali (UNFCC) pemerintah telah mendeklarasikan niatnya menjadi pionir dalam penurunan emisi global dengan melakukan penyelamatan kawasan hutan. Sementara dengan PP ini, pemerintah justru melanjutkan blunder pemerintah sebelumnya dengan memfasilitasi penghancuran hutan lindung, dengan biaya yang bahkan lebih murah dari sepotong pisang goreng. Dalam berbagai pertemuan dan pernyataan resmi, pemerintah selalu beralasan ketiadaan biaya untuk melakukan penjagaan hutan sehingga pendanaan yang akan diperoleh dari penghancuran 925 ribu hektar hutan lindung melalui skema PP 2/2008 akan digunakan untuk menyelamatkan hutan tersisa. WALHI melakukan kampanye kreatif dengan menghimbau kepada seluruh lapisan masyarakat untuk mendonasikan uangnya untuk menyelamatkan hutan lindung. Tujuannya agar masyaraat bisa terlibat secara langsung daam advokasi menolak pertambangan di hutan lindung. Kampanye akan diawali diseluruh universitas-universitas di Jakarta dan kemudian berkembang pada kawasan-kawasan publik lainnya termasuk juga di luar kota Jakarta, utamanya di kawasan-kawasan dimana pertambangan akan dilakukan. Untuk itu, WALHI meminta agar pemerintah membuka mekanisme donasi publik untuk penyelamatan kawasan lindung sekaligus mendorong pemerintah untuk melakukan Regulatory Impact Assesment terhadap kebijakan yang memperbolehkan aktivitas penambangan di hutan lindung sebagaimana yang diamanatkan dalam Tap MPR No 1 tahun 2004. Sementara itu, aktivitas illegal logging masih terus berlangsung disejumlah tempat di

Indonesia. Penangkapan ribuan log kayu di Kalimantan Barat dan di Riau baru-baru ini makin memperjelas status kehutanan Indonesia yang lebih besar pasak dari pada tiang. Awal tahun 2007 WALHI menyebutkan bahwa ada tiga masalah mendasar disektor kehutanan yang menjadi pemicu munculnya sejumlah konflik dan kejahatan disektor kehutanan: 1) tidak ada pengakuan terhadap hak masyarakat dalam pengelolaan sumberdaya hutannya, 2) besarnya kapasitas produksi industri kehutanan dan 3) korupsi yang merajalela disegala level. Keberhasilan Operasi Hutan Lestari tidak akan pernah efektif apabila tiga masalah mendasar tersebut tidak dilakukan. Penangkapan ribuan log kayu di Kalbar dan Riau baru-baru ini justru menjadi bukti bahwa illegal logging masih terus berlangsung. Demikian halnya dengan penembakan di Jawa Timur baru-baru ini yang semakin memperjelas wajah penelolaan hutan Indonesia yang tidak pro rakyat dan menggunakan kekerasan dalam penyelesaian masalahnya. Kasus alih fungsi hutan lindung di sejumlah tempat juga mewarnai pembukaan tahun 2008 ini diantaranya di Bintan dan Sumatera Selatan baru-baru ini. Aroma korupsi cukup kuat melatarbelakangi meledaknya kasus yang melibatkan sejumlah anggota DPR RI ini. Alih fungsi lahan seharusnya tidak hanya dilihat dari aspek korupsi semata. Penetapan kawasan menjadi kawasan lindung dan atau Taman Nasional tidak dilakukan tanpa sebab. Kawasan tersebut memiliki fungsi sebagai water regulator, penyimpanan plasma nutfah dan di sumatera selatan kawasan dimaksud berfungsi sebagai kawasan pemijahan yang sangat berguna bagi nelayan. WALHI mencatat lebih dari 170 ribu hektar hutan lindung telah dialihfungsikan dalam tiga tahun terakhir. lebih dari 80 persen diantaranya dilakukan secara ilegal dalam artian tidak ada proses alih fungsi lahan sama sekali. Semuanya berjalan tanpa ada upaya hukum sama sekali dari pemerintah.

Menghisap Timah Memanen Bencana
There are no translations available. Jakarta, 6 Maret 2009—Sejak kehadiran 3 (tiga) kapal keruk timah milik PT.TIMAH pada Februari 2004 silam, kehidupan masyarakat kepulaun dan lingkungan disekitar Desa Permis, Desa Rajik dan Desa Sebagin, Kecamatan Simpang Rimba Kabupaten Bangka Selatan, mengalami kemunduran yang memprihantinkan. Terakhir, 30 Januari 2009, kapal hisap GT.320 No.2499/Pst milik PT. Harjulan Makmur Santosa (PT.HMS) yang ditengarai milik pengusaha Thailand juga melakukan aktivitas pengambilan bijih timah disekitar perairan yang sama. Yudho Marhoed, SH Koordinator Simpul WALHI Sumatera Selatan untuk wilayah Kepulauan Bangka Belitung menjelaskan bahwa secara ekonomis, pendapatan nelayan disekitar wilayah perairan pengerukan timah mengalami penurunan hingga mencapai

80%, dari sekitar Rp 400 ribu/sekali melaut menjadi hanya berkisar antara Rp 80 ribu hingga Rp 100 ribu/sekali melaut. Jika dikalkulasi secara umum, maka angka kerugian kolektif masyarakat nelayan dalam satu tahun bisa mencapai Rp 14,4 Milyar hingga Rp 15 Milyar. Padahal kapal keruk PT. Timah sudah beroperasi sekitar 5 tahun hingga saat ini . ―Hal ini mengisyaratkan bahwa kegiatan pengerukan timah disekitar perairan Bangka Selatan telah berimplikasi terhadap kerusakan lingkungan perairan pesisir dan laut, sekaligus memberikan dampak sosial maupun ekonomi serius terhadap kehidupan masyarakat setempat‖ ucap Riza Damanik Sekjen Koalisi Rakyat untuk Keadilan Perikanan (KIARA) usai menerima laporan dari Koordinator Simpul WALHI Bangka Belitung (Babel), di Jakarta kemarin (5/3). Yudho juga menjelaskan bahwa kegiatan eksploitasi bijih timah yang dilakukan oleh kapal hisap PT.HMS sejak Januari 2009 lalu, tidak kalah berbahayanya bagi kehidupan masyarakat dan lingkungan perairan pesisir. Hal ini lebih disebabkan karena, kapal hisap tersebut terus bergerak (mobile), dan mampu menyedot pasir sekitar 1.000 M3 per jam. Akibatnya, saat ini diperkirakan sekitar 15 hektar ekosistem terumbu karang mengalami kehancuran. ―Tidak cukupkah daratan kepulauan Bangka Belitung saja yang hancur akibat kegiatan pertambangan? Hingga harus mengorbankan perairan pesisir?‖ tanya Pahrozi warga Bangka-Belitung. Padahal meskipun pemerintah memperoleh pendapatan dari sektor pengerukan timah di perairan pesisir dan laut, namun dampak yang diterima masyarakat dan lingkungan tidaklah sebanding. Faktanya tidak ada eks tambang timah yang direklamasi kembali. ―Alasan ini lah yang membuat masyarakat sekitar sejak awal menolak kegiatan penambangan bijih timah diperairan Bangka Selatan‖ tambah Pahrozi. Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) sangat yakin bahwa dampak lingkungan yang paling berbahaya dan potensial terjadi akibat kegiatan penambangan timah di laut ini adalah tenggelamnya Pulau Pemain. Pulau kecil yang berukuran 3500 M3 tersebut, hanya berjarak sekitar 30 meter dari lokasi pengerukan, sehingga dapat diperkirakan dalam 10 tahun kedepan pulau tersebut dapat hilang atau tenggelam. Hal ini diungkapkan Mukri Friatna Manajer Eksekutif Nasional WALHI Regional Sumatera bahwa sudah terjadi pengikisan garis pantai (abrasi) diwilayah daratan pulau tersebut dalam lima tahun terakhir. Hal ini tentu akan diperparah lagi dengan dampak perubahan iklim yang mengisyaratkan naiknya muka air laut. Karenanya WALHI mendesak pemerintah untuk segera menghentikan kegiatan penambangan bijih timah diperairan Bangka Selatan, maupun diperairan lain di Indonesia.

Kontak: Yodho Marhoed, Koordinator Simpul WALHI Bangka Belitung-0813 67279739 Mukri Friatna, Manajer Eksekuti Nasional WALHI-0813 6972 1800 Riza Damanik, Sekjen KIARA-0818 773 515

Nature and Animal Conservation
Author and Page information
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by Anup Shah This Page Last Updated Friday, April 10, 2009 This page: http://www.globalissues.org/article/177/nature-and-animalconservation. To print all information e.g. expanded side notes, shows alternative links, use the print version: o http://www.globalissues.org/print/article/177

As explained in the biodiversity section of this web site, conservation of ecosystems and the species within them would help to maintain the natural balances disrupted by recent human activity. A report from the global conservation organization, WWF, has suggested that humans have destroyed more than 30 percent of the natural world since 1970. However desirable conservation may seem, in reality it is a struggle. This web page has the following sub-sections: 1. It‘s an Uphill Struggle to Conserve 2. Declining Number of Tigers 3. Declining Number of Lions 4. Near Extinction of Vultures in India 5. Declining number of polar bears 6. Declining number of penguins? 7. Declining amphibian populations 8. Declining number of monkeys, apes and other primates 9. AIDS Research also Affected 10. New species still being found; makes conservation more important 11. Sustainable Development and Conservation 1. Poverty and Conservation; Need to address root causes 12. Species at risk elsewhere 13. Corporate Accountability 14. Low Frequency Active Sonar Affect Whales, Dolphins and Other Sea Life 15. More Information

It’s an Uphill Struggle to Conserve

Unfortunately, despite the effort put into conservation by organizations and activists, their work can easily be undermined by those who have other interests. This occurs, for example, from habitat destruction, illegal poaching, to influencing or manipulating laws designed to protect species. The current form of globalization has also been criticized for ignoring sustainable development and environmental concerns. For many years, critics, NGOs, activists and affected peoples have been accusing large corporations for being major sources of environmental problems. Consequently, helping species and ecosystems to survive becomes more difficult. Back to top

Declining Number of Tigers

Image source: Wikipedia Take for example the continued declining numbers of tigers, the largest of the big cats. The population of tigers in the last century has declined by 95 percent and some fear that they will be extinct by 2010. TigerHomes.org provides tabulated data showing tiger numbers have dwindled to between 5,000 and 7,500. The Bali, Caspian, and Javan tigers are already classified as extinct (in the 1940s, 1970s, and 1980s, respectively):

© TigerHomes.org Tiger bone is in high demand for Chinese medicine and medicine containing tiger parts have been in demand in other parts of the world. It‘s not just tigers either. Rare leopards, deer and other animals are also being illegally traded and many other animals are dwindling in numbers, some of which are mentioned below. Back to top

Declining Number of Lions

Image source: Wikipedia And another iconic animal, the lion, is also dwindling in numbers. The BBC reports (October 2003) that fewer than 20,000 lions now survive in Africa, compared to 200,000 in the early 1980s.

Sport or trophy hunting was cited as a major cause, whereby males, older or younger, were often targeted. Another reason was the population pressures that have meant encroachment onto lands closer to lions. Tourism has not really benefited the people of such communities, and so they do not see the benefit in preserving them. With such prominent and iconic animals dwindling, what of other less emblematic creatures, the BBC also asks? Back to top

Near Extinction of Vultures in India

Image source: Wikipedia BMA News, published by the British Medical Association (BMA), reported on the nearextinction of several vulture species in India (July 9, 2005). The BMA noted that in the 1980s, these birds were the most abundant large birds of prey in the world. However, in the last 12 years, the population had crashed by 97%. In a country where these birds actually provide a useful service by scavenging rotting carcasses, this is seen as a big problem. How did this happen?
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The anti-inflammatory, diclofenac, (similar to ibuprofen), was used by cattle farmers as a popular cure-all to treat a variety of diseases. Vultures feeding on carcasses of cows treated with the drug died of kidney failure as it was a poison for the vultures. The use of this medication was ―careless and casual.‖

Why the careless and casual nature of this medicine use? The article opined that there was only one answer: ―ferocious marketing by Big Pharma to help ensure its products were used by the widest possible consumer spectrum.‖

(―Big Pharma‖ refers to the huge multinational pharmaceutical companies that have a lot of influence around the world on various global health issues. This site‘s section on pharmaceutical corporations and medical research discusses more about this industry.) Back to top

Declining number of polar bears

© WWF, Where Polar Bears Live The World Wildlife Fund for Nature lists toxic pollution, oil exploration, and hunting, as well as climate change, as the threats polar bears face. Polar bears are found throughout the circumpolar Arctic on pack ice, along or near coasts, and on islands: The situation has become dire enough for the Bush Administration in the US to propose to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The polar bear depends on sea ice. (Source: Wikipedia)

This itself is an interesting turn of events as the Bush Administration has typically been reluctant to acknowledge concerns about climate change, and a lot of lobbying by environmental groups has led to this proposal. Earlier in 2006, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) had already put the polar bear on their Red List of Threatened Species. Back to top

Declining number of penguins?
A concern about crashing numbers of a particular species of penguin in recent years, the rockhoppers, shows that there may be numerous complicated factors causing this, and it is not always easy to know for sure. In the Falkland Islands alone, the species numbers have dropped from 600,000 to 420,000 in just 6 years, and down from 1.5 million in 1932. But from all their habitats millions have recently vanished. Scientists are struggling to wonder whether it is starvation due to overfishing, climate change, a combination, or some other factors affecting this species. Back to top

Declining amphibian populations

The Golden Toad of Monteverde, Costa Rica was among the first casualties of amphibian declines. Formerly abundant, it was last seen in 1989. (Source: Wikipedia) Amphibians are particularly sensitive to changes in the environment. Amphibians have been described as a marker species or the equivalent of ―canaries of the coal mines‖ meaning they provide an important signal to the health of biodiversity; when they are stressed and struggling, biodiversity may be under pressure. When they are doing well, biodiversity is probably healthy.

Unfortunately, as has been feared for many years now, amphibian species are declining at an alarming rate. As described further on this site‘s biodiversity section, causes for such an alarming rate of decline is not entirely natural. Back to top

Declining number of monkeys, apes and other primates
A report by the world‘s foremost primate authorities, the International Primatological Society, presented the state of primates around the world. They found that of the world‘s 634 kinds of primates almost 50 percent are in danger of going extinct.

© Pam Wood A breakdown showed the following numbers and percentages of primates fell into the International Union for Conservation of Nature‘s Red List classification for species as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered:
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Africa: 63 species and subspecies (37% of all African primates) Asia: 120 species and subspecies (71% of all African primates) Madagascar: 41 species and subspecies (43% of all Malagasy primates) Neotropics: 79 species and subspecies (40% of all Neotropical primates)

© Conservation International, 2008 Causes included habitat destruction, the hunting of primates for food and an illegal wildlife trade. Back to top

AIDS Research also Affected
In 1999 scientists revealed what they believed was the origins of AIDS. The source comes from a type of chimpanzee that is immune to the virus. Unfortunately, the forests in which they live are being opened up by logging companies, resulting in a destruction of the chimpanzee‘s habitat. Also hunting of these and other animals is on the increase in the forest. All these factors are preventing further studies of the possible cures for AIDS. (For more about the immense problems around the world from AIDS, including political issues, check out this web site’s section on AIDS.) Back to top

New species still being found; makes conservation more important
As reported by University of California, Berkeley, using DNA comparisons, scientists have discovered what they have termed an ―evolutionary concept called parallelism, a situation where two organisms independently come up with the same adaptation to a particular environment.‖

This has an additional ramification when it comes to protecting biodiversity and endangered species. This is because in the past what we may have considered to be one species could actually be many. But, as pointed out by scientists, by putting them all in one group, it under-represents biodiversity, and these different evolutionarily species would not get the protection otherwise needed. An example of this can be seen with the African elephant, where forest dwelling species are found to be different species to the ones found in the savannahs, as reported by the Telegraph newspaper. As the article also points out, ―Instead of assuming that 500,000 elephants exist in Africa, it now seems that there are many fewer of each kind, and ‗they are both much more endangered than we presumed‘, said Dr Georgiadis [of the Mpala Research Centre in Kenya.]‖ In June 2002, it was announced that two never-before described species of monkey have been found in Brazil‘s Amazon rainforest. In October 2004, the BBC reported that a new giant ape has been found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, similar to a giant chimpanzee but behaving much like gorillas. In December 2004, a new species of monkey was discovered in India. These remarkable finds shows that there is still much to discover and learn about biodiversity in general. In February 2006, scientists revealed that they had discovered hundreds of new species in a remote mountain rainforest region of western New Guinea. These species included birds, frogs, butterflies, palm trees, and many other plants yet to be classified. Other animals such as tree kangaroos, wallabies, and anteaters—all extremely rare elsewhere— were also found. In addition, scientists noticed that many of the animals were not afraid of humans, and some were even easily picked up, suggesting they had generally not encountered humans before. In March 2006, Scientific American reported that in Laos, a rodent, believed to have been extict for 11 million years, was found alive and so ―provides a compelling argument for preservation efforts in Southeast Asia.‖ In December 2008, WWF released a report noting that over 1000 new species have been discovered in the Greater Mekong Region of Southeast Asia in just the last decade from 1997 to 2007. The region covers Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan, the six countries through which the Mekong River flows. The species include 519 plants, 279 fish, 88 frogs, 88 spiders, 46 lizards, 22 snakes, 15 mammals, 4 birds, 4 turtles, 2 salamanders and a toad. In addition, it was also estimated that thousands of new invertebrate species were also discovered during this period, further highlighting the region‘s immense biodiversity. Images of some of the species were also published:

Conservation, protecting and preserving is therefore more about the species in question; it requires the protection of their habitat too, which in turn helps many other species in those same areas. Back to top

Sustainable Development and Conservation
The factors described above that affect AIDS research also highlights a deeper aspect of other related issues affecting conservation. In Europe, for example, threats such as increased agricultural/land requirements, hunting, persecution and land-claims etc are contributing to a shrinking biodiversity in Europe. Efforts to move towards sustainable development and conservation efforts are therefore beginning to be based on the understanding that issues such as poverty need to be addressed, to provide people with alternatives.

Poverty and Conservation; Need to address root causes

Image source: Wikipedia On April 16, 2003, Britain‘s BBC aired an award-winning documentary titled Ape Hunters, about how apes in Central Africa are being hunted for their bushmeat, almost to extinction. The documentary also explored the inter-relationship and challenges between
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Commercial logging Increased bushmeat consumption, and How poachers fared when offered sustainable development as an alternative to hunting

The documentary highlighted that while in the wealthier parts of the world we see conservation as desirable and easily recognize the importance and urgency of protecting the rapidly declining numbers of the great apes, what is less recognized are the complex

multitude of causes, of which the wealthy world also plays a negative part. In effect, it has been easier to blame ―others‖ and almost ignoring our own impacts. That is, as well as hunting for bushmeat leading to concerns about dwindling numbers of animals, the causes of the increase in bushmeat consumption need understanding. For example, in small villages on the frontiers of the forest, individual bushmeat consumption has been part of local customs for a long time, as there are no domesticated animals, and the forest has been the source of survival for villagers, for most of their requirements. However, increased poverty in nations such as Cameroon has forced more villagers to the bigger cities to look for work. This has brought the custom of bushmeat consumption to a larger population, thus increasing demand for it.

Image source: Wikipedia In addition, increased commercial logging (about 50% of the timber goes to Europe, the documentary pointed out) has resulted in dense forest being opened up allowing hunters and poachers to go further into the forest than ever before. Bushmeat hunting is more profitable than other options, even though some hunters pointed out that if there were other options, they would not hunt. Occasionally, illegal logging and commercial logging company employees such as truckers have also been involved in illegal trading of bushmeat. Sustainable development alternatives have been attempted. For example, projects have promoted the protection of the apes, rather than hunting. This has been through encouraging and provide real incentives for hunters themselves to protect the apes. A focus has been to attract tourists, who would be willing to pay to see these animals in the wild, thus sustaining the people and paying for conservation and other measures.

Hopetoun falls, Australia; an example of trying to preserve nature while allowing tourism. (Source: Wikipedia) Although this approach has proven successful in other places, it is unfortunately not always guaranteed to work. The documentary followed some former-hunters who were attracted to the idea, but also highlighted the difficulties in this. For example:
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Causes of poverty were still not being addressed, so it was hard for people to go for alternatives. To pay former hunters, the projects of course needed proof that these people were indeed attempting to find the apes and allow those apes to slowly get familiar and accustomed to humans, so that tourists could eventually be guided in. However, the challenge of often finding and photographing these apes in the dense jungle would sometimes seem futile. Although there were successful sitings and eventual interaction, the promise of tourists has not materialized, and so funding was dwindling. The villagers had also been encouraged to grow small plots of cash crops, such as cassava and plantain. As these were growing near the forests, occasionally a group of apes would destroy those crops in their search for food, causing anger amongst the villagers whose immediate survival depended on those crops, as many people would go hungry otherwise.

In detailing the impact of the logging companies in opening up the forests for increased destruction of habitat and more poaching, some African development organizations also pointed out that western consumer life styles therefore had an impact on the dwindling numbers of apes, because those demands fuel a lot of deforestation. Back to top

Species at risk elsewhere
While the documentary mentioned above focused on Cameroon, other places in Africa and around the world also show similar relationships between poverty, consumption, and environmental destruction.

Image source: Wikipedia The fourth most populous country, Indonesia, houses 10 percent of the earth‘s remaining tropical forests. Not only are forests depleting year by year, but species that depend on the forests are also disappearing, and these species are needed to ensure a stable ecosystem. The ―person of the Forest‖, or Orangutan, is one such species at risk due to corruption, excessive logging and poaching. Palm oil plantations have recently been increased because of world demand and their use as biofuels. Mining and fragmentation by roads are other problems they face. Other species at risk in Indonesia include the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran and Javan Rhino and the Asian Elephant. See the following for some more information on related issues:
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From this web site: o Causes of Poverty o Behind Consumption and Consumerism o Sustainable Development o Loss of Biodiversity, in particular the section on deforestation Centre for Science and Environment in India, provides many articles on sustainable development projects recognizing the importance of involving local people in conservation issues. A cartoon of theirs also captures the inter-related aspects vividly:

© Centre for Science and Environment, Campaign on Forests
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The African Conservation Foundation is a portal web site with many links and information on all sorts of issues related to conservation in Africa. (The links in these above pages, and at the end of this page provide a lot more information too.)

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Corporate Accountability
Another source of problems that can affect an environment and the species that live in it stems from poor or careless management of industrial waste by government and large corporations. In Russia, for example, nuclear radioactive waste is threatening the Arctic region. The figures and impact of this mentioned in the previous link suggests that the amount of radiation is similar to that which was present at the Chernobyl incident in 1986. The Gold industry has also left a set of environmental, social and political problems in its wake. For example, a dam on a gold mine owned by Aurul SA broke, spilling waste water, highly contaminated with cyanides and heavy metals. From the river in Romania it made its way into Hungary. Amongst various other things, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF,
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A rare species of otter, that was only 400 strong before the spill can no longer be seen. More than ―100 tonnes of dead fish have been collected from the river‘s surface— but many more are believed to be lying on the river bottom. In addition to those species directly affected by the toxic spill, there is a secondary danger to all species which feed on anything living in the river‖. Farmers have reported dead or blinded livestock.

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The ecological damage has been huge and the cost estimates are still to be completed. Some scientists fear that it will take many years to restore the waters.

For more about this, you can start off at the WWF Crisis: Rivers of Cyanide section. So far, very little has been said about the accountability of Aurul SA, the owner of the gold mine. The corporate-led form of globalization that we see today also affects how natural resources are used and what priorities they are used for. This site‘s section on corporations and the environment looks into some of these issues further. As the following quotes highlight, these are examples of working for the ―wrong kind of efficiency.‖ It is true that cutting down forests or converting natural forests into monocultures of pine and eucalyptus for industrial raw material generates revenues and growth. But this growth is based on robbing the forest of its biodiversity and its capacity to conserve soil and water. This growth is based on robbing forest communities of their sources of food, fodder, fuel, fiber, medicine, and security form floods and drought. — Vandana Shiva, Stolen Harvest, (South End Press, 2000), p.1 The closure of industries faced with cheaper goods produced by foreign competitors is correctly labeled as the efficiency of a market economy. But as the automobile engineers said when they built those five hundred horsepower gas-guzzlers for a world that truly wanted efficient cars, ―We are working for the wrong kind of efficiency.‖ — J.W. Smith, The World’s Wasted Wealth 2, (Institute for Economic Democracy, 1994), p. 175. Back to top

Low Frequency Active Sonar Affect Whales, Dolphins and Other Sea Life
The United States Navy and NATO have been using and testing Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) to detect enemy submarines. Many dolphins and whales who use their own sonar to navigate the oceans have been severely affected. The sound is so loud (over 235dB) that it can and kill and maim whales, dolphins and sea life. LFAS is known to be harmful to humans as well.

Some whale and dolphin strandings are believed to be due to military sonar (Image source: Wikipedia beached humpback and beached orca) Global protesting and four lawsuits have convinced the US Navy to end its Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) tests early in the waters off Hawaii. In many places, the general public has reacted strongly to the damage inflicted on marine life and the protest is growing fast as more people become aware of the tests. The campaign still goes on to ensure awareness is raised. Unfortunately, tests still continue and whales and other marine animals are thought to have been being killed as a result. And, according to environmental organization, Natural Resources Defense Council, ―the U.S. Navy is now seeking the power to exempt itself from environmental laws‖ that are designed to address this concern. (See also this link for additional information.) For more on LFAS:
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The Stop LFAS campaign web site has generated over half a million email protests and provides links to more information A report from the National Resources Defense Council, titled Sounding the Depths; Supertankers, Sonar, and the Rise of Undersea Noise

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These articles from the BBC: o Julianna Kettlewell, Whales ―suffer from the bends‖, BBC, December 23, 2004 o Call for study on impact of sonar, BBC, October 23, 2004 o Sonar 'may cause whale deaths', BBC, October 8, 2003 o Janet Williams, US Navy sued over new sonars, BBC, August 8, 2002 o Why sonar may harm whales and dolphins, BBC, August 4, 2002 Military sonar blamed for mass dolphin strandings, by Lewis Smith, for The Times (London), April 8, 2009

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More Information
For more information on animal and nature conservation, in general: (as I have hardly done this subject much justice so far!)
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The World Wide Fund for Nature presents information about all aspects of nature. The March 1997 issue of New Internationalist magazine is devoted to endangered species. The webdirectory is a search engine for environment issues. They have thousands of links. Oneworld.net‘s coverage of conservation provides many articles. The African Conservation Foundation is a portal web site with many links and information on all sorts of issues related to conservation in Africa.

http://www.globalissues.org/article/177/nature-and-animal-conservation

Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction
Author and Page information
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by Anup Shah This Page Last Updated Thursday, January 01, 2009 This page: http://www.globalissues.org/article/233/climate-change-and-globalwarming-introduction. To print all information e.g. expanded side notes, shows alternative links, use the print version: o http://www.globalissues.org/print/article/233

This web page has the following sub-sections: 1. 2. 3. 4. What is Global Warming and Climate Change? What is the Greenhouse Effect? The Greenhouse effect is natural. What do we have to do with it? What are the impacts of Global Warming? 1. Rapid changes in global temperature 2. Extreme Weather Patterns 1. Super-storms 3. Ecosystem Impacts 4. Rising Sea Levels 5. Increase in Pests and Disease 6. Failing Agricultural Output; Increase in World Hunger Greenhouse gases and emissions resulting from human activity 1. Differences in Greenhouse Gas Emission Around the World 2. The United States is the World‘s Largest Emitter of Greenhouse Gases 3. The previously 15-member European Union is also large Emitter 4. Stalling Kyoto Protocol Gets Push by Russia 5. Rich nation emissions have been rising 6. Developing Countries Affected Most Skepticism on Global Warming or That it can be human-induced 1. Bush Administration Accused of Silencing its own Climate Scientists Many Sources Of Greenhouse Gases Being Discovered Warming happening more quickly than predicted

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6. 7. 8.

What is Global Warming and Climate Change?
Global warming and climate change refer to an increase in average global temperatures. Natural events and human activities are believed to be contributing to an increase in average global temperatures. This is caused primarily by increases in ―greenhouse‖ gases such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Back to top

What is the Greenhouse Effect?
The term greenhouse is used in conjunction with the phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect.
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Energy from the sun drives the earth‘s weather and climate, and heats the earth‘s surface; In turn, the earth radiates energy back into space; Some atmospheric gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases) trap some of the outgoing energy, retaining heat somewhat like the glass panels of a greenhouse;

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These gases are therefore known as greenhouse gases; The greenhouse effect is the rise in temperature on Earth as certain gases in the atmosphere trap energy.

Image source: Greenhouse Effect, Wikipedia(Link includes detailed explanation of the above image). Note, image above expresses energy exchanges in watts per square meter (W/m2) Six main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) (which is 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide) and nitrous oxide (N2O), plus three fluorinated industrial gases: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Water vapor is also considered a greenhouse gas. Back to top

The Greenhouse effect is natural. What do we have to do with it?
Many of these greenhouse gases are actually life-enabling, for without them, heat would escape back into space and the Earth‘s average temperature would be a lot colder. However, if the greenhouse effect becomes stronger, then more heat gets trapped than needed, and the Earth might become less habitable for humans, plants and animals.

Carbon dioxide, though not the most potent of greenhouse gases, is the most significant one. Human activity has caused an imbalance in the natural cycle of the greenhouse effect and related processes. NASA‘s Earth Observatory is worth quoting the effect human activity is having on the natural carbon cycle, for example: In addition to the natural fluxes of carbon through the Earth system, anthropogenic (human) activities, particularly fossil fuel burning and deforestation, are also releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When we mine coal and extract oil from the Earth‘s crust, and then burn these fossil fuels for transportation, heating, cooking, electricity, and manufacturing, we are effectively moving carbon more rapidly into the atmosphere than is being removed naturally through the sedimentation of carbon, ultimately causing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to increase. Also, by clearing forests to support agriculture, we are transferring carbon from living biomass into the atmosphere (dry wood is about 50 percent carbon). The result is that humans are adding everincreasing amounts of extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Because of this, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are higher today than they have been over the last half-million years or longer. — The Carbon Cycle; The Human Role, Earth Observatory, NASA

Image source: NASA.(Note, values shown represent Carbon Gigatons being absorbed and released) Back to top

What are the impacts of Global Warming?
For decades, greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide have been increasing in the atmosphere. But why does that matter? Won‘t warmer weather be nicer for everyone?

Rapid changes in global temperature
A documentary aired on the National Geographic Channel in Britain on August 9, 2003 titled What’s up with the weather. It noted that the levels of carbon dioxide for example, were currently at their highest levels in the past 450,000 years. Increased greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect is feared to contribute to an overall warming of the Earth‘s climate, leading to a global warming (even though some regions may experience cooling, or wetter weather, while the temperature of the planet on average would rise). Consider also the following:
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The five warmest years on record, in order (warmest first) are: 1. 2005 2. 1998 3. 2002 4. 2003 5. 2004 According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the 1990s was the warmest decade; The 1900s was the warmest century during the last 1,000 years.

However, it is the rapid pace at which the temperature will rise that will result in many negative impacts to humans and the environment and this why there is such a world-wide concern.

Extreme Weather Patterns
Most scientists believe that the warming of the climate will lead to more extreme weather patterns such as:
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More hurricanes and drought; Longer spells of dry heat or intense rain (depending on where you are in the world); Scientists have pointed out that Northern Europe could be severely affected with colder weather if climate change continues, as the arctic begins to melt and send fresher waters further south. It would effectively cut off the Gulf Stream that brings warmth from the Gulf of Mexico, keeping countries such as Britain warmer than expected;

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In South Asia, the Himalayan glaciers could retreat causing water scarcity in the long run.

While many environmental groups have been warning about extreme weather conditions for a few years, the World Meteorological Organization announced in July 2003 that ―Recent scientific assessments indicate that, as the global temperatures continue to warm due to climate change, the number and intensity of extreme events might increase.‖ The WMO also notes that ―New record extreme events occur every year somewhere in the globe, but in recent years the number of such extremes have been increasing.‖ (The WMO limits the definition of extreme events to high temperatures, low temperatures and high rainfall amounts and droughts.) The U.K‘s Independent newspaper described the WMO‘s announcement as ―unprecedented‖ and ―astonishing‖ because it came from a respected United Nations organization not an environmental group!

Super-storms
Mentioned further above was the concern that more hurricanes could result. The link used was from the environmental organization WWF, written back in 1999. In August/September 2004 a wave of severe hurricanes left many Caribbean islands and parts of South Eastern United States devastated. In the Caribbean many lives were lost and there was immense damage to entire cities. In the U.S. many lives were lost as well, some of the most expensive damage resulted from the successive hurricanes. In its wake, scientists have reiterated that such super-storms may be a sign of things to come. ―Global warming may spawn more super-storms‖, Inter Press Service (IPS) notes. Interviewing a biological oceanography professor at Harvard University, IPS notes that the world‘s oceans are approaching 27 degrees C or warmer during the summer. This increases the odds of major storms.
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When water reaches such temperatures, more of it evaporates, priming hurricane or cyclone formation. Once born, a hurricane needs only warm water to build and maintain its strength and intensity.

Furthermore, ―as emissions of greenhouse gases continue to trap more and more of the sun‘s energy, that energy has to be dissipated, resulting in stronger storms, more intense precipitation and higher winds.‖ There is abundant evidence of an unprecedented number of severe weather events in the past decade, [professor of biological oceanography at Harvard University, James] McCarthy says. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch killed nearly 20,000 people in Central America, and more than 4,000 people died during disastrous flooding in China. Bangladesh suffered some of its worst floods ever the following year, as did Venezuela. Europe was hit with record floods in 2002, and then a record heat wave in 2003.

More recently, Brazil was struck by the first-ever recorded hurricane in the South Atlantic last March. ―Weather records are being set all the time now. We‘re in an era of unprecedented extreme weather events,‖ McCarthy said. Historical weather patterns are becoming less useful for predicting the future conditions because global warming is changing ocean and atmospheric conditions. ―In 30 to 50 years‘ time, the Earth‘s weather generating system will be entirely different,‖ he predicted. — Stephen Leahy, Global Warming May Spawn More Super-Storms, Inter Press Service, September 20, 2004

Ecosystem Impacts
With global warming on the increase and species‘ habitats on the decrease, the chances for various ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing. Many studies have pointed out that the rates of extinction of animal and plant species, and the temperature changes around the world since the industrial revolution, have been significantly different to normal expectations. An analysis of population trends, climate change, increasing pollution and emerging diseases found that 40 percent of deaths in the world could be attributed to environmental factors. Jaan Suurkula, M.D. and chairman of Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST), paints a dire picture, but notes that he is only citing observations and conclusions from established experts and institutions. Those observations and conclusions note that global warming will lead to the following situations, amongst others:
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Rapid global heating according to a US National Academy of Science warning; Dramatic increase in greenhouse gas emissions; Ozone loss aggravated by global warming; Ozone loss likely to aggravate global warming; Warming of the oceans leads to increased green house gasses; Permafrost thawing will aggravate global warming; Oceanic changes observed that may aggravate the situation; A vicious circle whereby each problem will exacerbate other problems which will feedback into each other; Massive extinction of species will aggravate the environmental crisis; Sudden collapse of biological and ecological systems may occur, but will have a very slow recovery;

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While effective measures can decrease global warming and other problems the World community has repeatedly failed to establish cooperation.

The ―vicious circle‖ Suurkula refers to is worth expanding. In his own words, but slightly reformatted: The ongoing accumulation of greenhouse gasses causes increasing global warming.
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This causes a more extensive destruction of ozone in the polar regions because of accentuated stratospheric cooling. o An increase of ozone destruction increases the UV-radiation that, combined with higher ocean temperature, causes a reduction of the gigantic carbon dioxide trapping mechanism of the oceanic phytoplankton biomass; o This accentuates the warming process. When the warming has reached a certain level, it will release huge amounts of greenhouse gasses trapped in the permafrost. o This will enhance the global warming, and the polar destruction of ozone, and so on. The observed decrease of the thermohaline circulation [the various streams that transport warm and cold waters around the world and therefore has an important stabilizing effect on world climate] further aggravates the situation.

This is a global self-reinforcing vicious circle accelerating the global warming. — Jaan Suurkula, World-wide cooperation required to prevent global crisis; Part one— the problem, Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology, February 6, 2004

Rising Sea Levels
Water expands when heated, and sea levels are expected to rise due to climate change. Rising sea levels will also result as the polar caps begin to melt. Rising sea levels is already affecting many small islands. The WorldWatch Institute reports that ―[t]he Earth‘s ice cover is melting in more places and at higher rates than at any time since record keeping began‖. (March 6, 2000). Rising sea levels will impact many coastlines, and a large mass of humanity lives near the coasts or by major rivers.

Increase in Pests and Disease
An increase in pests and disease is also feared.

A report in the journal Science in June 2002 described the alarming increase in the outbreaks and epidemics of diseases throughout the land and ocean based wildlife due to climate changes. One of the authors points out that, ―Climate change is disrupting natural ecosystems in a way that is making life better for infectious diseases.‖

Failing Agricultural Output; Increase in World Hunger
The Guardian summarizes a United Nations warning that, ―One in six countries in the world face food shortages this year because of severe droughts that could become semipermanent under climate change.‖ Drought and desertification are starting to spread and intensify in some parts of the world already. If some of this does get worse, it is likely that the poorest regions and people are likely to suffer the most, as they would have the least resources at hand to deal with the effects. Back to top

Greenhouse gases and emissions resulting from human activity
Every few years, leading climate scientists at the UN‘s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have released major, definitive reports detailing the progress in understanding climate change. From the outset they have recommended that there be emission reductions. This body is comprised of hundreds of climate scientists around the world. At the beginning of January 2007, the IPCC‘s fourth major report summarized that they were even more certain than before of human-induced climate change because of better scientific understanding: Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed preindustrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years. The global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land-use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture. … The understanding of anthropogenic warming and cooling influences on climate has improved since the Third Assessment Report (TAR), leading to very high confidence that the globally averaged net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming.

Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. — Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis; Summary for Policymakers IPCC, February 5th, 2007 [emphasis is original] Their definition of ―very high confidence‖ and ―very likely‖ is a 90% chance of being correct. (Their 2001 report claimed a 66% certainty.) This report was produced by some 600 authors from 40 countries. Over 620 expert reviewers and a large number of government reviewers also participated, according to the IPCC‘s media advisory. As Inter Press Service notes, although the IPCC has become the ―gold standard‖ for global scientific collaboration, their reports are inherently conservative: The IPCC operates under the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and does not fund any research itself. It collects, evaluates and synthesises scientific data. Any U.N. country can be a member of the IPCC and can challenge the findings in its reports. And consensus is required for every word in the ―Summary for Policy Makers‖ section included in each report. It‘s an inherently conservative process, with oil-rich countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia always trying to tone down the conclusions and emphasise uncertainties and unknowns, said Weaver. — Stephen Leahy, Endless Summer Not As Nice As It Sounds, Inter Press Service, January 25, 2007 ,

Differences in Greenhouse Gas Emission Around the World
As the World Resources Institute highlights there is a huge contrast between developed/industrialized nations and poorer developing countries in greenhouse emissions, as well as the reasons for those emissions. For example:
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In terms of historical emissions, industrialized countries account for roughly 80% of the carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere to date. Since 1950, the U.S. has emitted a cumulative total of roughly 50.7 billion tons of carbon, while China (4.6 times more populous) and India (3.5 times more populous) have emitted only 15.7 and 4.2 billion tons respectively (although their numbers will rise). Annually, more than 60 percent of global industrial carbon dioxide emissions originate in industrialized countries, where only about 20 percent of the world‘s population resides.

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Much of the growth in emissions in developing countries results from the provision of basic human needs for growing populations, while emissions in industrialized countries contribute to growth in a standard of living that is already far above that of the average person worldwide. This is exemplified by the large contrasts in per capita carbons emissions between industrialized and developing countries. Per capita emissions of carbon in the U.S. are over 20 times higher than India, 12 times higher than Brazil and seven times higher than China.

At the 1997 Kyoto Conference, industrialized countries were committed to an overall reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases to 5.2% below 1990 levels for the period 2008—2012. (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its 1990 report that a 60% reduction in emissions was needed…)

The United States is the World’s Largest Emitter of Greenhouse Gases
The United States is the world‘s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. It:
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Accounts for roughly four percent of the world‘s population; Accounts for approximately 23% of global emissions and 42% of industrialized country emissions;

The previously 15-member European Union is also large Emitter
The previously 15 member-nations European Union (E.U.), if considered as a whole (for it is more comparable to the U.S.):
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Accounts for roughly 3 percent of the world‘s population; Accounts for around 10% of global emissions and 24% of industrialized countries' man-made emissions of the six main gases; Recent years have seen a reduction in emissions from those initial 15-member states. However, o It is not near the level required; o For the second consecutive year, in 2003, emissions from EU countries have actually increased slightly (though still remaining slightly lower than 1990 levels).

Stalling Kyoto Protocol Gets Push by Russia
The Kyoto Protocol was the climate change treaty negotiated in 1997, setting targets for emissions of greenhouse gases. In order to be binding under international law, the treaty would need ratification from the countries responsible for around 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions of 1990. The U.S. being the world‘s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, pulled out in 2001, leaving treaty ratification dependent on Russia, responsible for 17% of world emissions.

Russia has to cut emission levels from the Soviet days, and their emissions in the past decade has been far less, so it should not pose as much of a problem to reduce such emissions. Noting the above, the BBC commented on this adding that Kyoto was only ever a first step — now discussions on the next, more stringent, target on greenhouse gas emissions can begin.

Rich nation emissions have been rising
The UNFCCC reported (November 17, 2008) that although industrialized nations have reduced emissions between 1990 and 2006, in recent years, between 2000 and 2006, greenhouse gas emissions have generally increased by 2.3% .

Side Note»
This is despite an overall decrease of 4.7% since 1990. However, the more recent period suggests the rich country emission reductions are not sustainable. Furthermore, it looks worse considering a large part of this decrease is because of the collapse of the Soviet Union. As transition economies started to recover around 2000, emissions have started to rise. Some nations with large reductions are also seeing limits, for example:
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UK (15.1% reduction) benefited by switching from coal to natural gas but that switch is largely in place now. Germany (18.2% reduction) has certainly invested in greenhouse gas emission reductions, but has been helped in large part because of reunification (East Germany, like much of eastern Europe and former Soviet states had economic problems, hence less emissions at the time). Other reductions have come in part from relocating manufacturing to other places such as China, which now claims at least one third of its emissions are because of production for others.

(See also this Climate Change Performance Index from German Watch and Climate Action Network Europe, which attempts to rank over 57 nations that account for 90% of the world‘s total greenhouse gas emissions, including industrialized nations and emerging economies.)

Developing Countries Affected Most
It has been known for some time know that developing countries will be affected the most. Reasons vary from lacking resources to cope, compared to developed nations, immense poverty, regions that many developing countries are in happen to be the ones where severe weather will hit the most, small island nations area already seeing sea level rising, and so on.

German Watch published a Global Climate Risk Index in December 2009 that attempted to list the nations that would be affected the most from climate change based on extreme weather such as hurricanes and floods. Between 1998 and 2007 they found these were the most affected nations: 1. Honduras 2. Bangladesh 3. Nicaragua 4. Dominican Republic 5. Haiti 6. Vietnam 7. India 8. Mozambique 9. Venezuela 10. Philippines Back to top

Skepticism on Global Warming or That it can be human-induced

© Anne Ward Penguin For a very long time, something of contention and debate in the U.S. had been whether or not a lot of climate change has in fact been induced by human activities, while many scientists around the world, Europe especially, have been more convinced that this is the case. In May 2002, the Bush Administration in the U.S. did admit a link between human activities and climate change. However, at the same time the administration has continued its controversial stance of maintaining that it will not participate in the international treaty to limit global warming, the Kyoto Protocol, due to economic

priorities and concerns. (More about the Kyoto Protocol, U.S. and others‘ actions/inactions is discussed in subsequent pages on this section.) Throughout the 1990s, especially in the United States, but in other countries as well, those who would try and raise the importance of this issue, and suggest that we are perhaps over-consuming, or unsustainably using our resources etc, were faced with a lot of criticism and ridicule. The previous link is to an article by George Monbiot, writing in 1999. In 2004, he notes a similar issue, whereby media attempts at balance has led to ―false balancing‖ whereby disproportionate time is given to more fringe scientists or those with less credibility or with additional agendas, without noting so, and thus gives the impression that there is more debate in the scientific community about whether or not climate change is an issue to be concerned about or not: Picture a situation in which most of the media, despite the overwhelming weight of medical opinion, refused to accept that there was a connection between smoking and lung cancer. Imagine that every time new evidence emerged, they asked someone with no medical qualifications to write a piece dismissing the evidence and claiming that there was no consensus on the issue. Imagine that the BBC, in the interests of ―debate‖, wheeled out one of the tiny number of scientists who says that smoking and cancer aren‘t linked, or that giving up isn‘t worth the trouble, every time the issue of cancer was raised. Imagine that, as a result, next to nothing was done about the problem, to the delight of the tobacco industry and the detriment of millions of smokers. We would surely describe the newspapers and the BBC as grossly irresponsible. Now stop imagining it, and take a look at what‘s happening. The issue is not smoking, but climate change. The scientific consensus is just as robust, the misreporting just as widespread, the consequences even graver. … ―The scientific community has reached a consensus,‖ the [U.K.] government‘s chief scientific adviser, Professor David King, told the House of Lords last month. ―I do not believe that amongst the scientists there is a discussion as to whether global warming is due to anthropogenic effects. ―It is man-made and it is essentially [caused by] fossil fuel burning, increased methane production… and so on.‖ Sir David chose his words carefully. There is a discussion about whether global warming is due to anthropogenic (man-made) effects. But it is not—or is only seldom—taking place among scientists. It is taking place in the media, and it seems to consist of a competition to establish the outer reaches of imbecility. …

But these [skeptics and illogical points against climate change] are rather less dangerous than the BBC, and its insistence on ―balancing‖ its coverage of climate change. It appears to be incapable of running an item on the subject without inviting a sceptic to comment on it. Usually this is either someone from a corporate-funded thinktank (who is, of course, never introduced as such) or the professional anti-environmentalist Philip Stott. Professor Stott is a retired biogeographer. Like almost all the prominent sceptics he has never published a peer-reviewed paper on climate change. But he has made himself available to dismiss climatologists' peer-reviewed work as the ―lies‖ of ecofundamentalists. This wouldn‘t be so objectionable if the BBC made it clear that these people are not climatologists, and the overwhelming majority of qualified scientific opinion is against them. Instead, it leaves us with the impression that professional opinion is split down the middle. It‘s a bit like continually bringing people on to the programme to suggest that there is no link between HIV and Aids. What makes all this so dangerous is that it plays into the hands of corporate lobbyists. A recently leaked memo written by Frank Luntz, the US Republican and corporate strategist, warned that ―The environment is probably the single issue on which Republicans in general—and President Bush in particular—are most vulnerable… Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need… to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue.‖ — George Monbiot, Beware the fossil fools, The Guardian, April 27, 2004

Bush Administration Accused of Silencing its own Climate Scientists
As revealed towards the end of January 2006, NASA‘s top climate scientist says NASA and the Bush Administration have tried to silence him. While NASA said this was standard procedure to ensure an orderly flow of information, the scientist, Dr. James Hansen disagreed, saying that such procedures had already prevented the public from fully grasping recent findings about climate change that point to risks ahead. Dr. Hansen, according to the New York Times reporting this, noted that these were ―fresh efforts‖ to silence him because he had said that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles, and that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave the earth ―a different planet.‖ (By contrast, the Bush administration‘s policy is to use voluntary measures to slow, but not reverse, the growth of emissions.) Furthermore, ―After that speech and the release of data by Dr. Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the

headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would be ‗dire consequences‘ if such statements continued, those officers and Dr. Hansen said in interviews.‖ Earlier, in 2004, Dr. Hansen fell out of favor with the Bush Administration for publicly stating before the presidential elections that government scientists were being muzzled and that he planned to vote for John Kerry. The New York Times also notes that this echoes other recent disputes, whereby ―many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone.‖ Furthermore, ―Where scientists‘ points of view on climate policy align with those of the administration, however, there are few signs of restrictions on extracurricular lectures or writing.‖ And in terms of media manipulation, the Times also revealed that at least one interview (amongst many others) was canceled because it was with NPR, which the public affairs official responsible felt was ―the most liberal‖ media outlet in the country. This implies a political bias/propaganda in terms of how information is released to the public, which should be of serious concern. At the beginning of June, 2006, the BBC Panorama documentary followed up on this and found that many scientists felt they were being censored and that various reports had been systematically suppressed, even altered. In one case, a major climate assessment report was due out a month before the 2004 presidential elections, but was delayed because it had such a bleak assessment, and the Bush administration did not want it to be part of the election issues. It was released shortly after the elections were over. Panorama also interviewed a pollster who had advised the Bush Administration when they came into power in 2000 to question global warming, that humans caused it if it existed at all, to hire skeptical scientists, and play down its impacts. (The advisor has now distanced himself away from the Bush Administration‘s stance today because he felt the science was more certain than it was in 2000.) Just weeks before hurricane Katrina devastated parts of Southern United States, Panorama reported that ―Another scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) … had research which established global warming could increase the intensity of hurricanes. He was due to give an interview about his work but claims he was gagged.‖ After Katrina, the ―NOAA website said unusual hurricane activity is not related to global warming.‖ When a leading scientist was asked why NOAA came out with such a statement, he suggested it was ideologically driven. (The BBC Panorama documentary is called Climate chaos: Bush‘s climate of fear and as well as a summary, you can watch the actual documentary online.)

Despite attempts to discredit global warming concerns, the Bush Administration has now conceded that there is climate change and that humans are contributing to it, but Panorama reports that a lot of vital time has been lost, and that some scientists fear US policy may be too slow to carry out. Almost a year after the story about attempts to silence NASA‘s top climate scientist, many media outlets have reported on a new survey where hundreds of government scientists say they have perceived or personally experienced pressure from the Bush administration to eliminate phrases such as ―climate change‖ and ―global warming‖ from their reports and public statements. A US government hearing in the US is also pursuing this further as the seriousness of climate change is becoming more accepted. There has been a similar concern in Australia. At the beginning of 2006, the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) revealed that some business lobby groups have influenced the Australian government to prevent Australia from reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This lobby group included interests from the coal, electricity, aluminum (aluminium), petroleum, minerals and cement industries. The documentary exposing this revealed possible corruption within government due to extremely close ties with such industries and lobby groups, and alleged silencing of government climate scientists. Back to top

Many Sources Of Greenhouse Gases Being Discovered
Pollution from various industries, the burning of fossil fuels, methane from farm animals, forest destruction, rotting/dead vegetation etc have led to an increased number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. And, as international trade in its current form continues to expand with little regard for the environment, the transportation alone, of goods is thought to considerably contribute to global warming via emissions from planes, ships and other transportation vehicles. (For more about trade and globalization in its current form and how it affects the environment, as well as other consequences, visit this web site‘s section on Trade, Economy, & Related Issues.) Even sulphur emitted from ships are thought to contribute a fair bit to climate change. (If you have registered at the journal, Nature, then you can see the report here.) In fact, sulphur based gas, originating from industry, discovered in 2000 is thought to be the most potent greenhouse gas measured to date. It is called trifluoromethyl sulphur pentafluoride (SF5CF3). NewScientist.com reports (December 22, 2003) on a study that suggests soot particles may be worse than carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming. The soot particles also originate from industry, and during the industrial revolution, was quite common. While on the positive side there is less soot these days and perhaps easier to control if needed, alone, as one of the scientists of the study commented, ―It does not change the need to slow down the growth rate of carbon dioxide and eventually stabilize the atmospheric amount.‖

NewScientist.com and others have also reported (August 2005) that the world‘s largest frozen peat bog is melting, and could unleash billions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. An area the size of France and Germany combined has been melting in the last 4 years. In addition, ―Western Siberia has warmed faster than almost anywhere else on the planet, with an increase in average temperatures of some 3°C in the last 40 years.‖ A scientist explained a fear that if the bogs dry out as they warm, the methane will oxidise and escape into the air as carbon dioxide. But if the bogs remain wet, as is the case in western Siberia today, then the methane will be released straight into the atmosphere. Methane is 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. Back to top

Warming happening more quickly than predicted
While those denying climate change are reducing in number and there appears to be more effort to try and tackle the problem, climate scientists are now fearing that climate change is happening far faster and is having much larger impacts than they ever imagined. The Arctic plays an incredibly important role in the balance of the earth‘s climate. Rapid changes to it can have knock-on effects to the rest of the planet. Some have described the Arctic as the canary in the coal mine, referring to how canary birds used to be taken deep down coal mines. If they died, it implied oxygen levels were low and signaled mine workers to get out. But now, scientists are fearing changes are happening to the Arctic much faster than anticipated. The previous link mentions that despite computer climate models predicting loss of Arctic sea ice by 2050 to 2080, some scientists fear it could be as soon as 2015. The BBC notes similar concerns by scientists, with one quoted as saying the sea ice is ―so thin that you would have to have an exceptional sequence of cold winters and cold summers in order for it to rebuild.‖ Another BBC article reports scientists now have unambiguous evidence that the warming in the Arctic is accelerating. The Arctic reflects much sunlight back into space helping keep earth temperate. More melting will result in less reflection and even more heat being absorbed by the earth. A chain reaction could result, such as the Greenland ice sheet melting (which will actually increase sea levels, whereas the melting of Arctic ice will not because it is sea ice), possibly increasing the melting of permafrost in Siberia, which will release huge amounts of methane (as noted above), and rapidly change climate patterns, circulation patterns and jet streams, far quicker than what most of the environment could adapt to easily. Back to top

With Earth‘s resources gradually being depleted, sustainability and alternative technologies become even more important. While some major companies are even trying to produce more efficient products or use energy more efficiently, other large corporations are actually pushing back environmental programs in order to increase profits or to survive in a tough business world. The efforts of others to help protect the environment, and ultimately ourselves, are seriously undermined, as a result. The subsequent pages on this site look at the political issues around tackling climate change.

Where next?
Related articles 1. Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction 2. Global Dimming 3. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 4. Reactions to Climate Change Negotiations and Action 5. Global Warming, Spin and Media 6. Climate Justice and Equity 7. Climate Change Flexibility Mechanisms 8. Carbon Sinks, Forests and Climate Change 9. Global Warming and Population 10. Energy Security See more related articles http://www.globalissues.org/article/233/climate-change-and-global-warming-introduction

SMALL ISLANDS SAY GLOBAL WARMING HURTING THEM NOW
Date: 05-Nov-98 Country: EU Author: Jason Webb A delegation from the idyllic but fragile Pacific islands travelled to Buenos Aires to try to convince world leaders at United Nations climate talks to take more action to stop global warming which they fear will cause rising seas to cover their low-lying nations. Rising sea levels have already endangered sacred sites and drowned some small islands off the tiny nations of Kiribati and Tuvalu, including the islet of Tebua Tarawa, once a landmark for Tuvalu fishermen.

"It's very interesting how they disappear. To watch a small island when it's disappearing and seeing it now is a model of how the whole island is disappearing," Tewareke Borau of Kiribati told a news conference. Kiribati has already had to move roads inland on its main island as the Pacific Ocean has eaten into the shore. Delegations from rich countries would feel a greater sense of urgency about stopping global warming if they ran the same risk of being drowned or running out of fresh water next century as do Pacific islanders, the island leaders argued. They fear for the future of their traditional homes and unique cultures. "Some of the rich countries don't give a...don't take any notice," said Max Rai from Papua New Guinea, where myriad islets could vanish under the waves if scientists' predictions of higher temperatures expanding ocean waters and melting icecaps are correct. Rising sea levels have already seeped into some islands' soils, making them too salty to grow vegetables. In Tuvalu, farmers are beginning to grow their taro crops in tin containers filled with compost instead of traditional pits. Other islanders complained that increasingly violent weather patterns were hitting them hard. Some scientists suspect that severe weather such as drought and hurricanes could be becoming more frequent due to global warming. "We use the term global warming, but if you are living on Nauru you can actually see and feel the change that has happened," said Ludwig Keke. "Our underground wells are always empty, our fishponds where we cultivate fish are so dry even the fish are dying, almost cooked in their own wells," he said. The Buenos Aires summit is meant to find ways to begin implementing the pledge made by richer countries in Kyoto, Japan, last year to cut emissions of greenhouse gases believed to cause global warming by about five percent by 2010. Scientists say that the reductions the rich industrialised world is proposing are inadequate to prevent global warming. They predict that sea levels could rise by up to three feet (one metre) over the next century. Much of Tuvalu is only three feet above sea level, and 80 percent of it is less than seven feet (two metres) above the waves. "For us it's a matter of death and life, whereas in terms of the citizens of the industrialised countries, (global warming) will affect their lifestyles basically, but not to the extent they will be disappearing," said Bikenibeu Paeniu, Tuvalu's prime minister.

http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm?newsid=2428&newsdate=05-Nov-1998

Global Warming - Small Island Nations to Disappear Within Years
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Article by Henk Luf Journalist

President Atone Tong recently said during a visit to New Zealand that Kiribati, as a nation, may no longer exist in 60 years and that Kiribati's population of 90,000 may have move elsewhere much earlier than within the 60-year timeframe in order to survive. In order to see how serious the problem is really becoming we might have a closer look at Kiribati. The country is located in the Pacific Ocean with close neighbours being Samoa, French Polynesia and a little further away, Fiji. Kiribati consists of three island groups with the biggest being the Gilberts. Some of the islands are uninhabited while others have small to medium-sized populations. Kiribati's main export earners are copra and tourism. The country has six airports of which the highest in altitude are Bonriki, a main airport, and Canton Island; both of these airports running at an altitude of 9 feet. I have seen all six airports and water levels appeared to be awfully close to the runways when I visited. The main problem for Kiribati is that, in some areas, the water supply is increasingly becoming unreliable and that erosion on some of the

inhabited islands is such that the affected islands may soon have to be vacated as being no longer viable for human habitat. Immediate solutions would be either desalination or fresh water shipments from other countries but longer-term solutions will have to be evacuation of the various populations of those islands. In the case of Kiribati, the long-term solution will be for the population to move elsewhere within the next 20 or 30 years to such places as New Zealand, Australia and/or even Europe. Indeed, while Atone Tong may have highlighted Kiribati's problem in stark reality, his country is certainly not alone in facing major problems within the not too distant future. In the Pacific, a number of countries are wholly or partly at risk and one only has to look at countries such as Tonga, French Polynesia, Tuvalu, and the Cook Islands to see where things are going. Even parts of the Hawaiian Islands are at risk. While the Pacific countries will be facing survival problems, on the other side of the world the situation is just as bad. In the Caribbean, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands and places such as Jamaica are at risk, wholly or partly. Some of the solutions may be the concentration of island populations to higher ground, desalination of local water supplies, the building of dykes around vulnerable areas or, as a last resort, emigration. Some of the solutions are technically viable depending on population size and location while for other islands or island groups, the only ultimate solution seems to be for the population to move off them. The sad part is that, apart from being some of the world's most beautiful countries, the local inhabitants of these island states have been on their islands for many, many generations and having to move away from their homelands will be very sad indeed. May we hope that technology and goodwill will prove us wrong.

http://www.thecheers.org/Life/article_2767_Global-Warming---Small-Island-Nations-toDisappear-Within-Years.html

MALDIVES SHORELINES: GROWING A BEACH Thomas J. Goreau, Wolf Hilbertz, & A. Azeez A. Hakeem

May 1, 2004
We all treasure our blissful interludes on the shoreline, accompanied by the breeze, and sound of waves lapping at the shore, especially during the magic moments of sunset and sunrise. However, it is all too easy to think of the shoreline as an immutable haven of peace. In fact, it is a highly dynamic place, constantly dancing to the vagaries of the winds, waves, tides, and now, to global climate change. Consequently, almost all of the world's beaches are vanishing, not just being inundated but actually retreating, washing away into the sea. The major exceptions are those near rivers engorged with sand and mud from the erosion of deforested watersheds, or where sand carried by longshore currents pile up behind jetties and other man-made obstructions, starving the beaches down-current of sand. Tropical white sand beaches are an especially tranquil place. What makes tropical beaches so calm and well protected are the coral reefs that grow in front of them, producing the white sand, each grain of which is the skeletal remnant of a living reef organism, while protecting it from waves and currents. When the corals die, the beach suffers a double blow. First, the supply of new sand decreases as the animals and plants producing them vanish. Secondly, as the dead coral reef framework crumbles under the relentless attack of waves and boring organisms (as diverse as bacteria, algae, fungi, clams, worms, and fishes), the erosive wave forces on the shoreline dramatically increase. When the corals die, so does the beach, eventually. All around the world the corals are dying. There are many causes, but the major one is global warming, caused by the fossil fuel addiction of people often on the other side of the world. Global warming has an equally evil twin, global sea level rise, caused by the melting of glaciers and ice caps, and the volumetric expansion of warmer oceans. The result of this double onslaught is that almost all the white coral sand beaches of the world are vanishing with ever increasing speed before our eyes. The most serious effects are in the world's lowest lying islands, where the winds may have piled beach sand no more than a few meters high. Whole nations, the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, and Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tokelau, and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, along with thousands of other low islands around the world, could vanish entirely in the coming generation—as could most of Bangladesh. Shore maintenance and protection is probably the largest single cost of global warming, but no international of government agency takes responsibility for preventing it. Instead, they wait for seawalls, roads, buildings, and airport runways to collapse into the sea after storms, and then may grant one-time

emergency aid to desperate governments. The World Bank, the Global Environmental Facility, and the United Nations Development Programme all have told us that coastal protection was not their problem. Recently we tried to use the web to find out how much the world currently spends on coastal protection, knowing that the current rate of sea level rise, about 2-3 millimeters per year, will increase dramatically in future decades as ice melting accelerates, perhaps with catastrophic surges. All of our searches on "shore protection" yielded nothing but compendia of banks in the Cayman Islands and other places, listed under "offshore asset protection"! The world is asleep at the wheel when it comes to protecting our beaches for our children's children. It would be hard to find a more vulnerable place than the Maldives, the lowest lying country in the world, meriting its own entry in the Guinness Book of Records. Every one of the Maldives' 1200 islands, 200 of them inhabited, are suffering from erosion. On all but one (explained below), one can see coconut and Pandanus trees lying dead in the sea after the sand holding their roots washed away. The Maldives have been a center of civilization for over 5,000 years. Maldivian shells were traded to the ancient Indus Valley cities like Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, whose characteristic manufactured beads are found in the Maldives. Unique among coral reef islanders, Maldivians do not eat reef fish. They specialize in hand line fishing of tuna in deep blue offshore waters, and they have maintained these resources sustainably for millennia, until foreign fleets with drift nets and long lines with multiple hooks began decimating their tuna stocks. Able to produce nothing but tuna and coconuts, the Maldivians escaped direct colonial rule, becoming a remote British protectorate "managed" from India under home rule. The Maldivians were poor subsistence fishermen until recent decades, when an airstrip on islands joined by dredging brought in floods of European tourists to enjoy the perfect white sand beaches and the best coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. Now their unexpected prosperity is suddenly imperiled by global climate change. Maldivian homes were traditionally built from corals, cemented by quicklime made by burning corals in kilns fired by coconut wood. When there was an abundance of corals and few people, the impacts on the reef were minor. Now, almost all the reefs around Male, the capital island, which has 80,000 people on two square kilometers, have been mined bare of corals for construction. In 1987 and 1991 the island flooded, because there were no reefs to protect it from storm waves. The groundwater was contaminated with salt. Following this disaster, the Japanese Government gave the Maldives aid to build sea defenses around Male to prevent flooding. Now there is hardly any

natural shoreline left, and a jagged wall of giant concrete tetrapods, cast and shipped from Japan, surrounds the island. There is hardly a sadder shoreline than these kilometers of lifeless concrete, a sterile linear barrage. Now, there are no more shoreline coconuts or pandanus trees to fall into the sea. The concrete wall cost around US$ 13 Million per kilometer, or &13,000 for each meter! This foreign aid was absorbed by the capital island, and did not reach the other 199 inhabited islands or tourist resort islands. So these have simply mined the nearest reefs and piled the dead corals into walls around the islands. These walls are eventually destroyed by storms, and then need to be rebuilt. The wealthiest resorts have used steel wire cages, or gabions to enclose the dead coral. These rust and fall apart, with the same result, but a few years later In 1998, the hottest year in history so far, between 95% and 99% of the corals in the Maldives died from heat stroke. There has been some slight recovery since, but it will take decades to regain what was lost, and the Global Coral Reef Alliance's long-term satellite records of sea surface temperature increase in the Maldives suggest that such events will soon become annual. So now there are few corals and many people, and the old strategies can no longer work, even if the sea level was not rising. Starting in 1996, we began growing coral reefs in the Maldives, using the new Biorock technology. This uses very low and safe direct electrical currents, often provided by solar panels or other sustainable energy sources, to grow sold limestone structures in the sea and greatly speed up coral growth and survival. On the Biorock reefs, the survival of corals in 1998 was from 16 to 50 TIMES higher than on the surrounding reefs. The corals we were growing were simply healthier, and had more energy to resist environmental stress. As a result our reefs are the only ones left in the Maldives that are up to 100% covered by living corals, and they have maintained large populations of fishes that have virtually vanished from nearby reefs because they will only live in live corals, and reject the dead variety. The high densities of live rapidly growing corals and dense swarms of brightly coloured fish have made them an immense attraction to tourists. However, there is a much more serious purpose to these projects than for ecotourism. By keeping corals alive under lethal conditions and restoring coral reefs where they cannot recover naturally, we aim to restore the reef and its fisheries, to keep ecosystems from going extinct from global warming, and to protect the shoreline from vanishing under the waves. One of our major goals is to develop a sustainable technology that can keep the Maldives and other such islands from disappearing. For this reason we started growing a reef in front of a severely eroded beach on the tourist resort island of Ihuru, in North Male Atoll, only 15 minutes from the capital, Male by speedboat. The project is 45 meters long (140 feet), about 4-8 meters wide, and

1.5 meters high. It was constructed of welded construction steel rods at a cost of a few percent of a concrete or rock wall. This structure was called the Necklace, because it was intended to be the first stage in restoring the ring reef around the entire island and protecting its lovely beaches without concrete, dead coral walls, or plastic mesh bags pumped full of sand, which invariably disintegrate, rip, and leave plastic debris littering the sand.. The results have been astonishing. When it was built the structure lay amid the best snorkeling reef in any tourist island in the Maldives, but in 1998, almost all the surrounding reef corals died when water temperatures reached up to 34 degrees C. In contrast, most corals on the Necklace survived. The Necklace reef has become a haven for fish, like Giant Moray eels, sweetlips, triggerfish, and others now rarely seen on the dead reef. Fish line up patiently to be groomed by cleaner fish and shrimps, making it an ideal place to see many kinds of fishes behaving without aggression to each other. The effect on the beach has been even more incredible. As the limestone rock reef and the corals on it grow more massive, the waves that once surged right through it to batter the beach now slow down as they pass through, as the friction of the growing surface constantly increases. As a result sand once held in suspension is falling out, burying the structure from the bottom up. In the last two years, the once-eroding beach has grown by 15 meters, and the sand is now forming a sandbar pointing right to the structure. Unfortunately, the hotel whose beach is being protected regards the reef more as a tourist attraction than as shore protection, and so has not extended it around the island as intended. Instead, they spend a fortune pumping sand to maintain their beaches from vanishing. Instead of applying this technology, developed in the Maldives to save the entire country from drowning, to every island, the example is dismissed as a mere gimmick to trap tourists with bright corals and fish. We can only hope that it is applied on the scale needed before it is too late. Then future generations of Maldvians and tourists will continue to enjoy their idyllic moments of peace on the shoreline while this unique country grows its way out of the very real threats of global warming and sea level rise. PHOTOGRAPHS

The eroding beach, piled high with sandbags, at the start of the project

Sandbags piled against the eroding sand.

Palm collapsing into the sea

Pandanus collapsing into the sea

Wall of new house in Male, made from coral and cement

Concrete walls of Male, costing $13,000 per meter

A day at the beach?

Walls of dead coral rock mined from a living reef piled all around a tourist resort near Male to keep the beach from washing away.

The Necklace, at the start: a bare steel framework.

A few years later

The Necklace now, full of corals and fish

Sand accumulating at the base of the growing Necklace

The beach now. Measuring the growth of the sand. At the start sandbags were piled against the deck to keep it from collapsing.

The beach now, with 15 meters of growth, the Necklace reef is the dark area in the water. For the projects described in this article, Tom Goreau, President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, a non-profit organization for protection and management of coral reefs, and Wolf Hilbertz, President of Sun & Sea, a non profit organization for developing sustainable construction technology using materials grown from sea water, received the Theodore M. Sperry Award, the top award for "Innovators and pioneers in restoration", from the Society for Ecological Restoration, and Azeez Hakeem received the Maldives Environment Prize. These projects, and similar ones in over a dozen countries around the world that have won the SKAL Award for best Underwater Tourism Project in the World, and the KONAS Award for best Community-Based Coastal Zone Management Project in Indonesia, have all been done without any support from governments or international funding agencies. NOTE: For more information on this project, see Maldives Nurses Its Coral Reefs Back to Life, Reuters, Alan Wheatley , May 2, 2004 http://www.globalcoral.org/MALDIVES%20SHORELINES.%20GROWING%20A%20 BEACH.htm

 

Environment Climate change

Paradise almost lost: Maldives seek to buy a new homeland
    

Buzz up! Digg it (8) Randeep Ramesh in Male The Guardian, Monday 10 November 2008 Article history

The highest land point on the Maldives is only 2.4 metres above sea level. Photograph: Corbis/Craig Tuttle The Maldives will begin to divert a portion of the country's billion-dollar annual tourist revenue into buying a new homeland - as an insurance policy against climate change that threatens to turn the 300,000 islanders into environmental refugees, the country's first democratically elected president has told the Guardian. Mohamed Nasheed, who takes power officially tomorrow in the island's capital, Male, said the chain of 1,200 island and coral atolls dotted 500 miles from the tip of India is likely to disappear under the waves if the current pace of climate change continues to raise sea levels. The UN forecasts that the seas are likely to rise by up to 59cm by 2100, due to global warming. Most parts of the Maldives are just 1.5m above water. The president said even a "small rise" in sea levels would inundate large parts of the archipelago.

"We can do nothing to stop climate change on our own and so we have to buy land elsewhere. It's an insurance policy for the worst possible outcome. After all, the Israelis [began by buying] land in Palestine," said Nasheed, also known as Anni. The president, a human rights activist who swept to power in elections last month after ousting Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the man who once imprisoned him, said he had already broached the idea with a number of countries and found them to be "receptive".

Randeep Ramesh discusses the radical ideas of the first democratically elected president of the Maldives Link to this audio He said Sri Lanka and India were targets because they had similar cultures, cuisines and climates. Australia was also being considered because of the amount of unoccupied land available. "We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades," he said. Environmentalists say the issue raises the question of what rights citizens have if their homeland no longer exists. "It's an unprecedented wake-up call," said Tom Picken, head of international climate change at Friends of the Earth. "The Maldives is left to fend for itself. It is a victim of climate change caused by rich countries." Nasheed said he intended to create a "sovereign wealth fund" from the dollars generated by "importing tourists", in the way that Arab states have done by "exporting oil". "Kuwait might invest in companies; we will invest in land." The 41-year-old is a rising star in Asia, where he has been compared to Nelson Mandela. Before taking office the new president asked Maldivians to move forward without rancour or retribution - an astonishing call, given that Nasheed had gone to jail 23 times, been tortured and spent 18 months in solitary confinement. "We have the latitude to remove anyone from government and prosecute them. But I have forgiven my jailers, the torturers. They were following orders ... I ask people to follow my example and leave Gayoom to grow old here," he said. The Maldives is one of the few Muslim nations to make a relatively peaceful transition from autocracy to democracy. The Gayoom "sultanate" was an iron-fisted regime that ran the police, army and courts, and which banned rival parties. Public flogging, banishment to island gulags and torture were routinely used to suppress dissent and the fledging pro-democracy movement. Gayoom was "elected" president six

times in 30 years - but never faced an opponent. However, public pressure grew and last year he conceded that democracy was inevitable. Upmarket tourism had become a prop for the dictatorial regime. Gayoom's Maldives became the richest country in South Asia, with average incomes reaching $4,600 a year. But the wealth created was skimmed off by cronies - leaving a yawning gap between rich and poor. Speedboats and yachts of local multimillionaires bob in the lagoon of the capital's harbour, while official figures show almost half of Maldivians earn less than a dollar a day. Male is the world's most densely populated town: 100,000 people cram into two square kilometres. "We have unemployment at 20%. Heroin has become a serious social issue, with crime rising," Nasheed said, adding that the extra social spending he pledged would cost an immediate $243m. He said that without an emergency bailout from the international community, the future of the Maldives as a democracy would be in doubt. To raise cash, his government will sell off state assets, reduce the cabinet and turn the presidential palace into the country's first university. "It's desperate. We are a 100% Islamic country and democracy came from within. Do you want to lose that because we were denied the money to deal with the poverty created by the dictatorship?" he said. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/nov/10/maldives-climate-change Maldives, Maldives Islands, Republic of Maldives, Maldives information, Maldive,

Maldives destination, Islands of Maldives Maldives is believed to be a destination full of heavenly beauty. You will realise this the moment you step your foot on this wonderful islands. The actual beauty of the islands is never portrayed on a picture. You need to visit here to see how much admirable the islands are. Its about 1200 islands scattered across huge distance. Maldives is a self governed republic and very homogenous society, with one race, one language and one religion. This makes Maldives very peaceful community in terms of domestic violence and cultural problems. People tend to be very friendly and welcoming to the tourist arrival. That‘s why perhaps in few decades Maldives has grown to become

one of the number one destinations for tourists. For more information check the links below

The Maldives Fast Facts Maldives History Maldives Culture Maldives Economy Maldives Geography Music and Craft Maldives Climate Environment Maldives Festivals Male' the Capital Shopping Interesting places in Male Tourism in Maldives Maldives People Acitivies you can do Overview Scuba Diving Diving Schools Diving Equipment Dive Safety Dive Sites Diving Spots Underwater Photo Submarine Diving Snorkeling Surfing Surfing Sites How to get here Visa Formalities Arrival in maldives Internal Transport International Airlines Airport Information Duty Free Travel Guide Overview Family Vacations Resort Islands Honeymoon Resorts Best Spa Resorts Cruising & liveabaoard

Diving Holidays Atolls & Maps of Maldives Baa Atoll Raa Atoll North Male Atoll South Male Atoll North Ari Atoll South Ari Atoll Vaavu Atoll Faafu Atoll Dhaalu Atoll Meemu Atoll Lhaviyani Atoll Addu Atoll

Important Snap shots Assalaam Alaikum The time-honored Maldivian greeting, be it to a visitor or friend; it denotes the islamic culture of the people and comes with a fervent wish for peace. For centuries our shores have been a haven of peace and tranquility for travelers. Hospitality has been an inherent part of Maldivian culture and a part of island life. It has always been a land where visitors are welcomed with open arms, where people are ready to share. Today we share our immense wealth of natural beauty and cultural diversity with the rest of the world. Welcome to Maldives! For more info on destination check out the links on side bar. Maldives the Sunny Side of Life Specks of emerald green enveloped by dazzling turquise waters like scattered beads in the ocean; white powdery beaches, tall palm lean on towards the sea, crystalline white sands giving way to crystal clear waters, shades of turuise blend flawlessly with deeper hues of blue; pristine coral reefs and some of the most incredible underwater life on our planet. Rusing from deep blue of the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean are more than a thousand islands and thousands more reefs that form the Maldives. Maldives At a Glance Time: +5 hrs GMT, Capital: Male', No.of Islands: 1190, Inhabited Islands: 200, Resorts: 98, Population (2006): 298842, Major Industries: Tourism and Fisheries, Currency: Rufiyaa, Electicity: 240 AC, Working Hours: Goverment: 7.30 am to 2.30 pm from Sunday to Thursday, Private Sector: 8.00 am to 5.00 pm (Varies) from Saturday to Thursday, Banks: 8.00 am to 1.30 pm from Sunday to Thursday. Geography of Maldives The atolls of the Maldives are formed from coral structures. The atolls are part of a greater structure known as the Laccadives-Chagos Ridge, which streches over 2000 Kilometers. the islands are low lying with the highest point at aproximately eight feet above sea level. Ring-shaped reef structures form the atolls and these reefs provide the natural defense against wind and wave action on these delicate islands. Maldives History The early history of the Maldives is enshrined in myth and legend. Archeological records indicate that the first visitors to the Maldives stepped ashore over 5000 years ago. According to folklore the Maldives was first colonized by an Indo-Aryan race between the fourth and fifth centuries B.C. 1st Century AD: Roman manual of navigation Periplus Mari Erithraei mentions islands assumed to be Maldives 2nd Century AD: Ptolemy refers to Maldives in his geography 362 AD: Roman historian records visit of delegation to Rome bearing gifts to Emperor

Julian 662 AD: Historical Chinese document records the King of Maldives sent gifts to Chinse Emperor Kao-Tsung of Tang Dynasty. 1153: Maldives convert to Islam 1558: Portugese invade Maldives 1573: Mohamed Thakurufaanu liberates Maldives from the Portuguese 1752: The Malabars invade and rule for 3 months 1887: Protectorate agreement with Greet Britain 1932: First constitution enacted 1953: The first republic 1954: Failure of the first republic 1965: Independence from British 1968: End of the monarchy, begining of the second Republic 1972: Development of the first island resort 1972: Arrival of first tourist to island resorts http://www.maldivesholidayoffers.com/maldives.php

Energy Security
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by Anup Shah This Page Last Updated Monday, May 04, 2009 This page: http://www.globalissues.org/article/595/energy-security. To print all information e.g. expanded side notes, shows alternative links, use the print version: o http://www.globalissues.org/print/article/595

Recent years and months have seen increasing attention being paid to the issue of energy security. There are a number of concerns and fears such as (though not limited to):
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Oil and other fossil fuel depletion (peak oil, etc) Reliance on foreign sources of energy Geopolitics (such as supporting dictatorships, rising terrorism, ―stability‖ of nations that supply energy) Energy needs of poorer countries, and demands from advancing developing countries such as China and India Economic efficiency versus population growth debate Environmental issues, in particular climate change Renewables and other alternative energy sources

Energy insecurity combined with other global issues risks fueling conflict, repeating past mistakes in history. This web page has the following sub-sections: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Oil and other fossil fuel depletion Reliance on foreign sources of energy and geopolitics Energy needs and demands of growing countries such as China and India Economic efficiency versus population growth Need to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels New resources for alternative energy; same old geopolitics? More Information

Oil and other fossil fuel depletion
Many fear that the world is quickly using up the vast but finite amount of fossil fuels. Some fear we may have already peaked in fossil fuel extraction and production. So much of the world relies on oil, for example, that if there has been a peak, or if a peak is imminent, or even if a peak is some way off, it is surely environmentally, geopolitically and economically sensible to be efficient in use and invest in alternatives. Some may argue (ideologically) that markets will solve this problem. However, markets are good for making profit and allocating resources efficiently for that purpose, but that does not always mean that is good for the environment or for society or for other societies in other parts of the world. Furthermore, in reality markets are not perfect, so even if the theory holds, reality sees a mixture of politics, power play and corruption—even in the most advanced countries. Back to top

Reliance on foreign sources of energy and geopolitics
There has certainly been a recognition in recent months and years that energy security is a concern. Even US president George Bush admitted during his 2006 State of the Union speech that, ―Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology.‖ Ignoring for the moment the irony that a major (though not only) reason that those parts of the world are unstable is because of US foreign policy there, there have been signs— for many years—that some major companies and industries, have been considering alternatives. The other concern is that whether this drive or need for competitiveness will contribute to more intense rivalry between powerful nations as witnessed at the end of the 1800s and

the early 1900s, or whether this time we will learn from history‘s lessons. So far, there is little to indicate that we have evolved into peaceful enough societies to not repeat those past disasters as growing inequality, extremism, power, drive for growth and profit, and our collective short memories all interplay. After all, the 20th century has been described as ―the century of war‖, not peace. At the beginning of the 21st century, the leaders of two countries that hold themselves as high examples of peaceful members of the international community decided to invade Iraq, without global approval or legal justification. Some foreign policy decisions in past years are coming back to haunt advanced nations. For example, in order to destabilize the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the United States successfully encouraged, trained and sustained Islamic extremism and terrorism so that a relentless religiously driven resistance could counter the Soviet Union‘s invasion of Afghanistan. However, the kind of extremists that the US helped create included Osama Bin Laden. With these extremists returning back after defeating the Soviet Union, various events since have seen Islamic extremists resort to terrorist acts, alarmed at the military presence of the US in their holiest lands, the influences of western culture which they fear is against Islam, and so on. As more and more developing countries industrialize, they will naturally want more energy to quench the growth thirst. This will see more involvement in international affairs, and indeed China and India are increasingly active in many regions around the world. Geopolitical issues, new and old, will therefore arise. For example, the Cold War years witnessed both the West and Soviet Union readily support puppet governments, even overthrowing fledgling democracies, in favor of dictatorships, if needed. This was often justified to the home population as being for the ―national interest.‖ (Note, the US and other western countries also supported Saddam Hussein when he was committing some of his worst crimes against humanity.) Legitimate stability and supply issues are also of concern. For example, places like Nigeria, Iraq, Iran, etc. all produce oil but present problems of varying degree for oil consuming nations, as concerns range from stable supply, to stable government. Others, such as Venezuela, ―threaten‖ to use oil and its related profits to develop their own country and region even more. Some countries such as the US have enormous military expenditure in part to protect global oil areas for their interests. A number of other large countries are getting more involved or active in the international arena due to energy related concerns, including China and Russia prompting a fear of a geopolitical cold war centered around energy security. Already many talk about the US using the War on Terror in Asia, and its courting of India (a country with its own ambitions) as an attempt to contain China, for example. Russia has also flexed its muscle lately with neighboring countries as it has access to some of the largest sources of natural gas. China and US interest in parts of Africa are

also viewed with some suspicion as some of these countries become sources of oil and other raw materials. The rapid rise of developing countries such as Brazil, China, and India, will also see their increased interested in ensuring secure access to energy, and so a new geopolitical cold war is possible. Countries already powerful (such as the US) and some of these emerging countries will therefore have their own interests at stake. The ironic part to this is that the Pentagon has become an enormous consumer of fuel itself, thus contributing to climate change worries, and increasing global energy security concerns as other large countries are emerging on the scene. Michael Klare, a professor of peace and world security studies, writes about the rising geopolitical battle centered around energy security, and notes that ―the Pentagon is itself one of the world's great oil guzzlers, consuming 134 million barrels of oil in 2005, as much as the entire nation of Sweden.‖ The future could also see continued conflicts for resources. Thus fossil fuel dependency and wasteful use of resources will worsen climate change which already threatens to endanger many of the world‘s ecosystems, raise sea levels, and affect food production possibly leading to resource-scarcity driven instability and conflict. Back to top

Energy needs and demands of growing countries such as China and India
The western nations form a small percentage of the world population but consume far more resources. Problems such as climate change and energy depletion are thus largely caused by these nations. However, as China and India also grow rapidly there is a fear that these countries‘ demands for energy and resources will very quickly see the world‘s natural resources stripped away even more quickly given their large population sizes. Some fear that already we are close to, or are already exceeding, the planet‘s ability to replenish itself at a quick enough rate. Some policies and suggestions therefore point fingers at China and India, that they must address issues such as population growth and be subject to emission reduction targets like the industrialized countries, etc. (And also watch for more defensive reaction from industrialized countries, for example, raising often legitimate issues—though often by vested interests—such as as human rights, corruption, threats of jobs, and so on.) On the other hand, most developing countries (including China and India) counter that they have a right to development, and they have not been the ones wastefully pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for as many decades. (This principle was also

agreed to by the rich countries, including the US, for example, when discussing the Kyoto protocol to tackle global warming, accepting common but differentiated responsibilities. Developing countries also promised to pursue a path of development that was less wasteful and inefficient as the already-industrialized nations‘, one that would be more sustainable.)

© Centre for Science and Environment and Equity Watch Back to top

Economic efficiency versus population growth
Another issue is whether it is population growth or economic choices (patterns of consumption, production, etc.) that drive resource depletion and energy needs. The former implies countries like China and India are major causes of problems, and the latter implies that economic policies, perhaps even fundamental economic ideologies may be major problems. Indeed, many have calculated that depending on how resources are consumed, the number of people the planet can sustain varies significantly. A population-related argument serves rich country interest by focusing blame or concern of global problems at the developing countries. Arguing that by noting the right to development may appear to defend bad policies that are not sustainable for the environment. Clearly this is not a black and white issue, yet, rarely is the enormous waste of resources in our economic system, even in many industrialized markets, ever discussed. It is common to hear of concerns about the thirst for energy, the growing number of cars, etc. in China, India and other rapidly developing countries. The concerns are indeed genuine, but rarely are changes to energy usage/efficiently, fuel consumption, or driving habits in the industrialized countries discussed, for it ―threatens our way of life‖ even though that currently (and historically) has caused far more harm to the planet both

relative to population size and in absolute terms. Instead, it is easier to blame nations such as China and India that have followed practices ironically encouraged by the industrialized nations. Back to top

Need to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels
It would make strategic and environmental sense to pour more resources into the research and development of alternatives to fossil fuels. Fossil fuel-dependent industries cry foul of such suggestions, but governments poured billions into fossil fuel development (before privatizing those industries). Perhaps in a similar way, given those industries are now mature, they do not need such support, but other industries in renewable and alternatives could be created. Dr. Hermann Scheer is a Member of the German Parliament since 1980 and was given the title ―Hero for the Green Century‖ in 2002 by Time Magazine. He argues in a short video clip (2 minutes 30 seconds, transcript) that the reason why many still think renewable energy cannot replace fossil and nuclear power is because those working in these industries have made efforts to propagate the notion. Hermann Scheer, Big Energy‘s Last Stand, May 21, 2006, © Big Picture TV The higher prices at petrol pumps in recent months may be a blessing in disguise if it makes consumers also think more about energy conservation and alternatives, for the market may respond to that. Nuclear power is one alternative to fossil fuels that many nations are considering, given their efficient and environmental friendliness during operation. Many (not all) environmentalists fear the consequences and costs of accidents and radioactive waste and say it is not worth it, and that other renewable alternatives should be invested in, instead. Despite environmental concerns, ―demand for nuclear power plants is on the increase, and the International Energy Agency estimates that more than $200bn will be spent by 2030 on harnessing the atom for energy output‖, notes the BBC. As an example, by 2050, India expects to have 25% of its energy provided by nuclear power, compared to the current 3%, according to another BBC article. India and China are some of the countries that have recently made deals with providers of nuclear power plants, while others, such as Iran are criticized and obstructed from having such capability based on the fear that they may want to create nuclear weapons. Many have called for a massive infusion of funds by leading governments and companies to invest in alternatives such as solar, wind, and wave power. Governments encouraging and even funding investment in these areas would be no different to the past where development of fossil fuel-based energy required a kick-start.

Those favoring a strict neoliberal economic ideology will argue that the state should not interfere in markets, yet history shows that the market has hardly ever functioned without the state, and indeed the state has often been the major reason a market has even appeared. For democratic countries, governments subsidizing renewable and alternatives could reflect the desires of many of that nation‘s constituents. If fossil fuel companies fear competition, they should (and many are) become more active in this area, but not stifle important and urgent debate and research. Back to top

New resources for alternative energy; same old geopolitics?
Automakers are looking into the next generation electric or hybrid cars. The main resource for the battery would be lithium, already used in smaller electronic devices and far more efficient and longer-lasting than regular batteries. Almost half the world‘s lithium is found in Bolivia, and as The Seattle Times notes, Bolivia is reluctant to give up lithium resources too easily. Bolivia and the US have had thorny relations as the democratically elected socialist and indigenous leader, Evo Morales, has nationalized oil and gas companies, much to the disappointment of the US, and with general support from his population as he attempts to slowly develop the extremely poor nation. This means that the European Union and Japan have been trying to court Bolivia in the hopes they can invest in lithium extraction. But as this PBS video highlights, geopolitics are again the concern; Bolivia fears that others will exploit it for rich resources, just as most resource-rich nations have been plundered/exploited in the past. It may be that this time the exploitation may not be as violent as during imperial and colonial times, but resource-rich/economically-poor nations like Bolivia are understandably hesitant to give up a valuable resource without local benefits. So it seems that Bolivia is trying hard to understand the resource more and possibly develop local capacity so that it is not just a raw resource provider, but can go further and process the resources, with much if not all proceeds helping local populations: In Bolivia, debate over natural resources rages on, PBS, April 17, 2009 Back to top

More Information

Many people have recently asked me to write about this topic, and unfortunately lack of spare time has prevented me from writing about this sooner. At the same time, the above is woefully short as there is much more that can be written. However, related issues— including many issues touched upon above—have been discussed on this site for some time, so until I get some time to write about this important topic in more depth, please see the following pages and sections:

Population and Feeding the World
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by Anup Shah This Page Last Updated Monday, July 09, 2001 This page: http://www.globalissues.org/article/200/population-and-feeding-theworld. To print all information e.g. expanded side notes, shows alternative links, use the print version: o http://www.globalissues.org/print/article/200

"World hunger is extensive in spite of sufficient global food resources. Therefore increased food production is no solution. The problem is that many people are too poor to buy readily available food. Therefore measures solving the poverty problem is what is required to solve the world hunger problem" — It is a myth that world hunger is due to scarcity of food The food scarcity part of the argument in the population debate is an interesting one— people are hungry because they cannot afford food, not because the population is growing so fast that food is becoming scarce. As discussed further in the Genetically Engineered Food section of this web site, international trade and economic policies that have lead to immense poverty and hunger, not food scarcity due to over population. In other words, this is a political problem, not necessarily a shortage problem. Oftentimes, people make the argument that population increases increases the lack of food or ability to provide enough food to sustain such growth. However, for many decades food production has more than kept up with population growth. As Greenpeace has noted, most hungry people live in countries that have food surpluses rather than deficits.

When weighing the impacts on demands by populations versus the way large chemical companies and industrial agricultural businesses promote certain types of agricultural practices, and the serious threat of top soil loss (which will affect yields in the future, where large populations could feel an additional burden), it is less certain that populations and ―over‖ population is the main cause.

Where next? Land Rights
Last updated Saturday, August 25, 2001. One important aspect about the causes of hunger is often ignored; that is, land ownership and who controls the land. Throughout history, this has been an important part of power struggles and one of the major causes of poverty (and therefore, hunger). Read ―Land Rights‖ to learn more.

Myth: Too Many Mouths to Feed
Posted Saturday, December 02, 2000. With kind permission from Peter Rosset of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (or FoodFirst.org as it is also known), chapter 3 of World Hunger: 12 Myths, 2nd Edition, by Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins and Peter Rosset, with Luis Esparza (fully revised and updated, Grove/Atlantic and Food First Books, Oct. 1998) has been posted here. It describes in details the issue of population and hunger. Read ―Myth: Too Many Mouths to Feed‖ to learn more.

Links for More Information on Feeding the World
Last updated Monday, December 04, 2000. This issue is related to many others presented on this web site, such as poverty and hunger, the disastrous effects of food aid in non-emergency scenarios and the promise of benefits to solving hunger via genetically engineered food. Read ―Links for More Information on Feeding the World‖ to learn more. This article has the following parts:
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Population and Feeding the World 1. Land Rights

2. Myth: Too Many Mouths to Feed 1. Is population growth out of control? 2. The demographic transition 3. Does "Overpopulation" cause hunger? 4. Poverty and population growth: lessons from our own past 5. Good and bad fertility decline 6. But we don‘t have time 7. Upping the ante 8. China‘s Solution? 9. The challenge ahead 10. Notes and sources for ―Myth: Too Many Mouths to Feed‖ 3. Links for More Information on Feeding the World


				
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