Monday, December 12, 2011

Time for a bit of good news

Remember me talking about needing a zero population growth policy for cars and powers stations? Well it is happening in the USA of all places. This is very important for two reasons. Not only is the USA a major emitter, but it has a profound influence on what other countries do.

1.  The US fleet is getting smaller, with fewer cars being bought than those being scrapped.


2.      Carbon emissions are also declining in the USA, not only because there are fewer cars driving fewer miles, but because of changes in energy sources and consumption. Consumers are cutting their energy usage, While gas use is up  6%,  carbon emissions from other sources  are down by 14% – fewer coal fired power stations  plus more solar and more wind, making an overall  reduction  of  8%.  Now if we can just get other countries to follow suit.

3.       Global Demand for Nuclear Power Stations is also in decline, no doubt aided by memories of the Japanese meltdown. India please note!

4.  Opposition to 'Landgrabbing'Grows
Purchasing of agricultural lands in other countries for grain production, biofuels and or water supplies has increased in many parts of the world including Australia. In Africa, it increased tenfold in 2009 and involved over 45 million acres in countries which are already unable to feed themselves. 

Grabbing Gambela from EJOLT on Vimeo.


As  pension funds in wealthy countries are frequently implicated in this process, a coalition of churches, business groups and anti -hunger organisations in the U.S.A is urging pension fund investors to divest themselves of such holdings.  For other things which need to be done see the end of the recent address  to the Swedish Parliament.

Although the issue is already a matter of life and death in Africa, Australians should be concerned about this too.  While only about one farm in 100 is currently in foreign ownership here, the land area of such farms can be huge. If I have understood this correctly, in the Northern Territory for example, it amounts to 11% of the land and in other places such as the already very arid parts of Western Australia, some 32% of the water allocation goes to farms in foreign ownership. No other country allows non nationals to purchase land on such a scale. Why are we? Urge the Foreign Investment Board to monitor such land sales more closely and check on what our pension funds are doing.

Yes, there is a glimmer of light. See Earth Policy, WorldWatch and Grain for more news and what needs to be done.

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