Christian Aid’s “Growing Pains: The Possibilities and Problems of Biofuels
” finds that “huge subsidies and targets in developed countries for boosting the production of fuels from plants such as maize and palm oil are exacerbating environmental and social problems in poor nations
Framing the climate change debate in terms of national security could help advance climate legislation in Congress, argues a New York Times editorial, one week after its front-page article on the topic. In letters to the editor, James Morin of Operation FREE calls climate change the “ultimate destabilizer,” and retired Vice Admiral Lee Gunn warned that the “repercussions of these changes are not as far off as one would think.”
Researchers at Purdue University’s Climate Change Research Center found that climate change could deepen poverty, especially in urban areas of developing countries, by increasing food prices. “While those who work in agriculture would have some benefit from higher grains prices, the urban poor would only get the negative effects.” Of the 16 countries studied, “Bangladesh, Mexico and Zambia showed the greatest percentage of the population entering poverty in the wake of extreme drought.”
India’s 2009 State of the Environment Report finds that almost half of the country’s land is environmentally degraded, air pollution is increasing, and biodiversity is decreasing. In addition, the report points out that almost 700 million rural people—more than half the country’s population—are directly dependent on climate-sensitive resources for their subsistence and livelihoods. And furthermore, “the adaptive capacity of dry land farmers, forest dwellers, fisher folk and nomadic shepherds is very low.”
Surveys completed by a Cambodian national indigenous peoples network find that “five million hectares of land belonging to indigenous minority peoples [have] been appropriated for mining and agricultural land concessions in the past five years,” reports the Phnom Penh Post.
The Economic Report on Africa 2009 warns that despite declining food prices, “many African countries continue to suffer from food shortage and food insecurity due to drought, conflicts and rigid supply conditions among other factors.”