natural disasters

Mining An international World Bank tribunal in Washington D.C. is hearing final arguments this week in a court case between El Salvador and Australian mining company OceanaGold, which is suing the country for not permitting a gold mine that El Salvador says will pollute waterways, Inter Press Service reported. OceanaGold is asking for more than […]

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Infrastructure The British government has approved plans to develop a 25-kilometer “super sewer” in London on the River Thames, which will help stop as much as 30 million tons of raw sewage from overflowing into the river each year, Bloomberg News reported. The sewer is estimated to cost $US 6.5 billion, and construction could begin […]

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Energy & Natural Resources As many as 15,000 people, many of them Q’eqchi Mayans, will be displaced by the construction of a $US 337 million hydropower project in Guatemala, the Guardian reported. The Xalalá dam would be the second largest in the country, and the government has has vowed to build the project despite local […]

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Climate There is a more than 70 percent chance that an El Niño weather pattern will develop later this summer, and forecasters are now suggesting it may be one of the strongest in decades, Reuters reported. A climate scientist at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) said that water temperatures in the Pacific […]

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Natural Disasters The annual economic cost of natural disasters in China nearly doubled in 2013, costing the country $US 69 billion, Reuters reported. The most expensive disasters were floods and mudslides, followed by earthquakes and droughts. An extended period of heavy rainstorms and floods in the United Kingdom has taken a toll on the country’s […]

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Climate Change Introducing large quantities of sulfate particles into Earth’s atmosphere in an effort to simulate large volcanic eruptions and keep global temperatures from rising could have the unintended consequence of greatly reducing rainfall in parts of the world, the Guardian reported, citing a new study published in Environmental Research Letters. The study showed that […]

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Climate Change An increase in global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius would likely result in chronic water scarcity—less than 1,000 cubic meters per person per year—for 21 percent of the global population, according to new climate models developed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Climate Progress reported. An increase of just 1 degree […]

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Drought A study of pollen grains has led scientists to believe that a drought caused the collapse of the thriving Bronze Age civilization in the Mediterranean, The New York Times reported. Sediment samples taken from the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea were used to look for changes in climate for each 40-year period. […]

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Pakistan’s economic growth was 2.9 percent over the past three years compared to a potential growth rate of 6.5 percent each year, a discrepancy that one expert says is largely attributable to three years of destructive flooding, AlertNet reported. Pakistan lost $US 16 billion due to the floods, which killed more than 3,000 people. Chemicals […]

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Improving Water Use A new grant program will encourage the innovation and implementation of clean water technology for farming in developing countries by supporting companies financially and helping them negotiate “hurdles” in these regions, Phys.org reported. The program will award $US 25 million in grants from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and […]

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Droughts, floods and other natural disasters are creating huge economic losses around the world, totaling about $US 2.5 trillion this century, according to estimates by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Bloomberg BNA reported. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged businesses to take steps to reduce disaster risk exposure when investing in new buildings […]

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Water Infrastructure Ghana’s water infrastructure is in such a state of disrepair that it threatens the country’s economic growth, which is predicted to reach 8 percent in 2013, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. Some companies have turned to private water tankers to secure supplies for their factories because of intermittent service. U.S. Natural Disasters A new report […]

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Environmental Threats Natural disasters cost the world approximately $US 138 billion last year, the third consecutive year that economic losses from disasters have exceeded $US 100 billion, AlertNet reported. Floods and droughts accounted for almost 80 percent of disaster victims in 2012. Failure to address environmental threats like climate change, deforestation, air pollution, and water […]

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United States Representatives of the United States and Mexico Tuesday signed Minute 319, an agreement that forms new rules for sharing Colorado River water, the Associated Press reported. The agreement will allow Mexico to store water in Lake Mead, includes infrastructure investments to benefit both countries, and aims to revitalize the beleaguered Colorado River Delta. […]

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Sandy, the hurricane turned mega-storm that battered the United States’ East Coast earlier this week, could cost insurers $US 5 billion to $US 10 billion, while economic losses are estimated anywhere between $US 10 billion and $US 20 billion, Reuters reported. The increasing cost of natural disasters could pressure Congress to take action on climate […]

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U.S. Drought Continues The drought has literally hit home in the rural Midwestern United States, where some citizens are turning on their faucets to find their wells have dried up, The Associated Press reported. The Missouri government will subsidize the drilling of new wells for more than 3,700 farmers and ranchers hit by extreme drought, […]

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Vast mineral wealth and growing demand from China are driving a huge mining boom in Mongolia, where the International Monetary Fund predicts the economy will grow an average of 14 percent a year between 2012 and 2016, The Economist reported. The rapid growth could impact the region’s aquifers. The mismanagement of groundwater resources could threaten […]

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Thailand is creating an $11 billion fund for flood water management and infrastructure, Reuters reported. Another $1.5 billion will be set aside for insurance. China invested nearly $53 billion in water conservation in 2011, Xinhua reported, citing China’s Ministry of Water Resources. The central government’s investments were a 70 percent increase over spending in 2010. […]

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An expansive new irrigation proposal could turn northern Australia into a food bowl, The Australian reported. Water withdrawals for agriculture and mining are putting increasing pressure on the South’s Murray-Darling basin, prompting government officials to look elsewhere. United States Chicago’s Deep Tunnel may not be completed until 2029, despite a recent legal settlement that set […]

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The United States Environmental Protection Agency linked hydraulic fracturing to groundwater pollution for the first time Thursday after finding chemicals used in fracking in a Wyoming aquifer, Bloomberg News reported. Some companies that use fracking to extract underground natural gas deposits dispute that the drilling method was the source of the contamination. Farmers in California […]

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