Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’
By Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, May 22, 2012 (Tierramérica)
Mexico and Central America look like they are covered in dried blood on maps projecting future soil moisture conditions.
The results from 19 different state-of-the-art climate models project extreme and persistent drought conditions (colored dark red-brown on the maps) for almost all of Mexico, the midwestern United States and most of Central America.
If climate change pushes the global average temperature to 2.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial era levels, as many experts now expect, these regions will be under severe and permanent drought conditions.
Future conditions are projected to be worse than Mexico’s current drought or the U.S. Dust Bowl era of the 1930s that forced hundreds of thousands of people to migrate.
These are some of the conclusions of the study “Projections of Future Drought in the Continental United States and Mexico”, which was published in the December 2011 issue of the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Hydrometeorology and has gone largely unnoticed.
“Drought conditions will prevail no matter what precipitation rates are in the future,” said co-author Michael Wehner, a climate scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a U.S. government research centre in California.
“Even in regions where rainfall increases, the soils will get drier. This is a very robust finding,” Wehner told Tierramérica.
Without major reductions in carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, global temperatures will increase to at least 2.5 degrees of warming between 2050 and 2090, depending on rates of emissions of greenhouse gases, climate sensitivity and feedbacks. Read the rest of this entry »
By Stephen Leahy*
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Mar 6, 2011 (Tierramérica)
After five years of preparation the international community is expected to launch the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services this year. For some of its proponents, even the decisions of the World Trade Organisation should be subject to its analysis.
IPBES would be analogous to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but focused on biological diversity.
The idea behind this effort is that decisions by all levels of government are largely responsible for the decline in species and ecosystems that support life on the Earth.
To put an end to species decline, governments need an independent, authoritative scientific body that can assess the impacts of proposed policies and decisions that biodiversity experts have long recommended.
“People generally have yet to appreciate the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and how much is at stake in biodiversity loss,” Charles Perrings, professor of environmental economics at Arizona State University in the U.S. southwest, told Tierramérica.
“Biodiversity” is the term used to describe the wide variety of living things that comprise the planet’s biological infrastructure and provide us with health, wealth, food, water, fuel and other vital services. Read the rest of this entry »
By Stephen Leahy*
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Feb 10, 2011 (Tierramérica)
The booming tourist industry along Mexico’s Caribbean coast, particularly in the area of Cancún and the “Riviera Maya,” is polluting the world’s largest underwater cave system and harming the world’s second largest coral reef, a new study has found.
Pharmaceuticals, cocaine residues, shampoo, toothpaste, pesticides, chemical run-off from roads and many other pollutants have been found in the immense system of underground rivers and aquifers south of the resort city of Cancún, located on the Caribbean coast of Quintana Roo state.
“There is little question the pollutants we detected have come from human activity along the coastal region,” said Chris Metcalfe, a researcher with the United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health.
The British journal “Environmental Pollution” published a study by the Institute this month, titled ” Contaminants in the coastal karst aquifer system along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.”
Metcalf told Tierramérica that pit latrines, septic tanks, leaking sewer lines and golf courses were the most likely sources of groundwater pollution.
The flow of groundwater takes much of this pollution into the coastal zone and the region’s famous Mesoamerican Barrier reef, the second largest in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.
Land-based pollution is just one of the impacts on the coastal reefs, Metcalf said. Overfishing, coral diseases, and climate change have also contributed to an estimated loss of up to 50 percent of coral since 1990.
“Without serious attention to preventing groundwater contamination, tourist development will kill the goose that laid the golden egg,” Metcalf said.
Read the rest of this entry »
Drug Wars Make Societies More Violent Not Safer Studies Show
By Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Apr 29, 2010 (IPS)
The war on drugs is a complete failure everywhere, according a comprehensive review of 20 years of scientific literature released at the Harm Reduction 2010 conference in Liverpool, England that wraps up Thursday.
“The war on drugs does not work, period,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, president of the International AIDS Society.
“We must take an evidence-based approach to dealing with the drug market, because current strategies are not working and people are paying for ill-considered policies with their lives,” Montaner said in a release.
An examination of all English-language scientific literature dating back more than 20 years reveals that drug law enforcement dramatically escalates drug-market violence. Contrary to conventional wisdom, a startling 82 percent of the studies found the various wars on drugs in countries and internationally simply increase violence. Read the rest of this entry »
By Stephen Leahy*
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Nov 20 (Tierramérica) – Climate change will dramatically increase the number of hot, dry days in Mexico in the coming decades, while coastal regions like the Yucatán, in the southeast, will be swamped by sea levels that are half a metre higher than today, a new study has found.
By 2030, Mexico’s average daily temperature is likely to climb 1.4 degrees Celsius above what has been the average for the past 30 years. By 2090, this increase could rocket upwards by 4.1 degrees, virtually guaranteeing hot days and nights for 80 to 90 percent of the year, says the Oxford University study financed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Cold weather will become very rare in Mexico according to data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an umbrella organisation of scientists from around the world and the preeminent authority on climate change.
“Mexico is one area of the world where all the computer climate models agree,” says Carol McSweeney of the School of Geography and Environment at Oxford. Read the rest of this entry »
Mar 13’08 (IPS)
Making buildings more environmentally friendly is the easiest and most effective way to cut climate-changing carbon emissions, often slashing energy costs by up to 70 percent.
So why isn’t there a massive effort to “green up” existing buildings and set green standards for all new construction?
North America’s buildings are responsible for a staggering 2,200 megatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions — 35 percent of the continent’s annual total. A new report released Thursday says a rapid uptake of currently available and emerging advanced energy-saving technologies could slash emissions by 1,700 megatonnes (MT) of CO2 emissions by 2030.
A cut of that size would nearly equal the CO2 emitted by the entire U.S. transportation sector in 2000.
“Improving our built environment is probably the single greatest opportunity to protect and enhance the natural environment,” said Adrián Vázquez, executive director of the tri-national Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) that produced the report, “Green Building in North America: Opportunities and Challenges”.