Archive for September, 2006

A Monarch’s Dire Warning About the Middle East

Friday, September 8th, 2006

One of the premises of the Perfect Storm Hypothesis is that there are many factors arising in the not too distant future which will seperately or jointly degrade life on this planet as we know it.

These factors are not solely limited to ecological and climatic issues. Humanity’s political, economic and ideological errors and conflicts will also play a major part.

This piece about the current and ongoing problems in the Middle-East is a clear example of the deadly and intractable problems that are arising within mankind’s competing societies.


Exclusive: the world is “doomed,” Jordan’s King Abdullah II tells TIME, if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not solved by 2007

Striding past ceremonial Circassian guards into a sitting room at Basman Palace, King Abdullah II is looking fresh and energetic, as if he has just come from another spin around town on his treasured Harley-Davidson. But his natural ebullience masked an uncharacteristic inner gloom that deepened this summer when the Middle East was plunged into yet another conflict with the Israeli-Hizballah war in Lebanon.

As the 44-year-old monarch settled into a stuffed sofa for a 1-hour TIME interview for a story to appear in the coming week’s magazine, he drew a dark picture of a region consumed by conflicts old and new, threatened by emerging Sunni-Shiite tensions and at risk of being completely destabilized if the U.S. attacks Iran. “I believe the Lebanese war dramatically opened all our eyes to the fact that if we don’t solve the Palestinian issue, the future looks pretty bleak for the Middle East,” he said. “I’m one of the most optimistic people you’ll come across. For the first time, I started becoming pessimistic towards the region.”


Scientist: Planet going back to dinosaur era

Friday, September 8th, 2006

NORWICH, England (Reuters) — Global warming over the coming century could mean a return of temperatures last seen in the age of the dinosaur and lead to the extinction of up to half of all species, a scientist said on Thursday.

Not only will carbon dioxide levels be at the highest levels for 24 million years, but global average temperatures will be higher than for up to 10 million years, said Chris Thomas of the University of York.

Between 10 and 99 percent of species will be faced with atmospheric conditions that last existed before they evolved, and as a result from 10-50 percent of them could disappear.

“We may very well already be on the breaking edge of a wave of mass extinctions,” Thomas told the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.


Top scientist’s fears for climate

Friday, September 8th, 2006

One of America’s top scientists has said that the world has already entered a state of dangerous climate change.

In his first broadcast interview as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, John Holdren told the BBC that the climate was changing much faster than predicted.

“We are not talking anymore about what climate models say might happen in the future.

“We are experiencing dangerous human disruption of the global climate and we’re going to experience more,” Professor Holdren said.

He emphasised the seriousness of the melting Greenland ice cap, saying that without drastic action the world would experience more heatwaves, wild fires and floods.

He added that if the current pace of change continued, a catastrophic sea level rise of 4m (13ft) this century was within the realm of possibility; much higher than previous forecasts.

To put this in perspective, Professor Holdren pointed out that the melting of the Greenland ice cap, alone, could increase world-wide sea levels by 7m (23ft), swamping many cities.


World’s most wanted: climate change

Friday, September 8th, 2006

Human-induced climate change must be treated as an immediate threat to national security and prosperity, says John Ashton, the UK’s climate change envoy. He argues that we must secure a stable climate whatever the cost, as failure to do so will cost far more.

The first priority of any government is to provide the conditions necessary for security and prosperity in return for the taxes that citizens pay.

Climate change is potentially the most serious threat there has ever been to this most fundamental of social contracts.

On 28 August 2005, New Orleans was a prosperous, stable and relatively harmonious city. By the next evening, most of its population had been driven from their homes and lacked access to electricity, food, fresh water and medical services.

Within a week, gunmen roamed the streets as law and order broke down; simmering racial and political tensions exploded as the buck for dealing with the catastrophe – as well as preventing it – was hurled about. For months, neighbouring cities and states were inundated with refugees as the political and racial stresses spilled across the country. New Orleans is unlikely ever fully to recover.

Hurricane Katrina hit a city in the world’s richest nation. If anywhere should have been resilient enough to deal with the force of nature, it was the United States.

The economic and security impacts of extreme climatic events in more vulnerable regions, such as Africa and South Asia, or more strategically important regions, like the Middle East, will be more dramatic.

We can see this already in Africa. A major contributing factor to the conflict in Darfur has been a shift in rainfall that has put nomadic herders and settled pastoralists into conflict with each other.


060907 – Thursday – back in the USA

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

We’re back from New Zealand and utterly buried in getting back up to speed with the business and in digging our way out from under two weeks of accumulated accounting and such.  We’ll be back up and running here again soon.


060905 – Tuesday – In the Christchurch YMCA

Monday, September 4th, 2006

It’s a bit before 8 AM here. Sharon’s still upstairs sleeping and I’ve just had breakfast. I haven’t given this log of our travels nearly as much attention as I’dexpected to but we’ve just been too busy going places and seeing things. When I’m home in a day or two, I’ll write more and post some of the many photos we’ve taken.

We travel today. Christchurch to Auckland about 2 PM this afternoon and then Auckand to LAX at about 6 PM local.

I have to say that Christchurch is a beautiful city. Hagley Park sits in the middle next to the Central Business District like a jewel. The hills of the Banks Peninsula rise just beside the city to the west and off at a distant to the east are the Southern Alps which divide the South island. Services are good, the streets are clean and the people friendly. On the other hand, prices are high and dealing with some entities like banks can be a ponderous business.

Internet has been a bit of a disappointment. Unlike in the US where free Interet in hotel rooms and public spaces is rapidly becoming a given, here hotels will offer you an Intenet connection at .68 cents a minute. Then there’s Telecom with its Hotspots located around town. It’still pricy and the system was down most of the day, yesterday. I’m typing this on a computer kiosk in the YMCA lobby. It is $2 for 30 Minutes for access to the web and unless your E-mail is web-based, it is no help with that.

Cheers, until I next post from home.