Circle of Blue’s 2012 Election Guide to Water
U.S. citizens will go to the polls today no only to elect the next President, but some will also make crucial decisions about their water. Check out Circle of Blue’s 2012 Election Guide to Water by Brett Walton for more information about water-related ballot issues to be decided today.
For a different look at Presidential elections and the environment, Scientific American surveyed “green” groups to find out “Who Were the Greenest Presidents?”. The top three? Theodore “Conservation Champion” Roosevelt, Richard “Clean Water Act” Nixon, and Jimmy “Green White House” Carter.
Scientific American also reports that climate change is a major deciding factors in the gubernatorial races of New Hampshire and Washington state. The races “could determine the fate of proposed ports that would send coal to Asia, changes to state renewable standards and the status of the nation’s first operating cap-and-trade program in the Northeast.”
International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict
What is the “critical fourth dimension” to sustainable development? International peace and security, says United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, according to the UN News Centre. Established in 2001, the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict is intended to highlight the challenge of and need for solutions to disputes fueled by resource exploitation. According the the UNEP, at least 40 percent of conflicts in the last 60 years have been linked to exploitation of natural resources such as timber, diamonds, gold, oil, land, and water.
Climate Change Impacts
According to Science Daily new research from Potsdam University indicates that increasing temperatures from global warming will change the strength of the Pacific Walker circulation, leading to “more frequent and severe changes in monsoon rainfall” in India. The effects of higher temperatures on El Niño patterns in the Indian Ocean is expected to result in a 40 to 70 reduction in rainfall below normal levels.
China Buys Land (and Groundwater) Rights in Japan
Businessweek reports that Chinese companies now own a majority stake of land (and attached groundwater) rights in the forests of Hokkaido island, Japan. The island, which produces 20 percent of Japan’s food, attracted 90 percent of total foreign forest purchases in 2009. Foreign companies are targeting the land sales with purported plans to develop water bottling capacity, and Japanese officials are reconsidering their regulations over such transactions to ensure the buyers’ intent is clear and desirable.
Allison Voglesong is an editorial intern for Circle of Blue based out of Traverse City, Michigan. She holds a BA in International Relations from Michigan State University's James Madison College. Her interests include water pricing, environmental economics and policy, and conflict mediation.
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