All posts by roaudet

CONGO’S UNPOPULAR RE-ELECTION

Congo Election

Congo’s Kabila chases an unconstitutional, unpopular re-election

Congo ruling party shows all signs of seeking Kabila third term

KINSHASA (Reuters) – From the sprawling capital Kinshasa to villages deep in the equatorial forests, Congo’s ruling PPRD is in full-on election campaign mode – and President Joseph Kabila’s face is everywhere.

The deadline for declaring candidates for Democratic Republic of Congo’s scheduled Dec. 23 poll is just one month away, and Kabila, 46, is officially not allowed to run again: August 8, 2018

NO SIGN OF A SUCCESSOR

But his bearded portrait smiles down from billboards and T-shirts being printed by his People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), while there is no sign of a successor.

Kabila intends to bypass the constitution and run for a third term. Any such move would likely ignite chaos across the vast, mineral-rich country, which has never seen a peaceful change of power in the 58 years since independence from Belgium.

Kabila is unpopular in the capital Kinshasa and many parts of the country. A rare poll released in March showed that eight in 10 Congolese have an unfavorable opinion of him. Scores have died in protests since he refused to step down when his mandate expired 18 months ago.

Congo Election

Militias have proliferated, killing and displacing villagers, kidnapping foreigners and shutting down eco-tourist spots. The violence has even hit mining operations in Africa’s top copper producer and the world’s leading miner of cobalt. Continue reading CONGO’S UNPOPULAR RE-ELECTION

WATER RESOURCES IN HAITI SOLVED 2

Water Resources Haiti

Water resources in Haiti are a major concern.

The lack of adequate safe (potable) water supplies for basic human needs is a significant problem throughout Haiti, although surface and ground water resources are abundant. This situation leads to increased competition for limited resources. Several of the main reasons for this situation are:

  • uneven rainfall distribution;
  • degradation of the watersheds caused by deforestation;
  • rapid growth in urban areas with demand beyond capacity;
  • poor distribution networks;
  • poor water resources management;
  • no single agency responsible for management of water ;
  • lack of adequate data needed to make informed decisions;
  • poor irrigation supply network leading to underdevelopment; 
  • lack of wastewater  treatment and solid waste disposal.

Most of the streams are relatively small and less than 100 kilometers long. With each passing year, the rivers and streams flow more like torrents and less like stable permanent rivers. The largest natural lake in the country is Étang Saumâtre has no outlet, and contains brackish water. Many of the smaller natural lakes that exist throughout the country also contain brackish water. 

ABJECT POVERTY

About 54 percent of the population lives in abject poverty. Based on 1997 estimates, the unemployment rate in a work force of approximately 3.6 million is about 38 percent.

Only 61.7% of the population have jobs but these are the working poor as many make only $3.10 per day. Women are least likely to go to school or have a job. Violence against women is common with 22.8% of women reporting abuse – what of the abuse that goes unreported? Of course the issue of “restavek” children or child slavery persists despite national and international laws. It is a socially accepted norm to sell children ages 5-15 and to make then work for no pay, to deny them the opportunity to attend school and results in children being abused both physically and sexually.

In Cite Soleil – the largest slum in Haiti is 3 square miles and has about 200-300,000 people. Most are unemployed and the vast majority are children. In Haiti 65% of the people are under 25 years old. The children live in extreme hunger and are exposed to gang violence, high risk for HIV/AIDS, no opportunity for an education, no sewer system and rat infestations. On average – nine people live in one shack.

Most people who live in the slums state their biggest fear is violence – especially for women and girls (Haugen and Boutros, 2014). In the slums, this problem is rampant; acts of violence are intentionally hidden, legal protection is non-existent and violence keeps the poor from ever escaping poverty.

Port-au-Prince

Water supply for Port-au-Prince, the most populated area in Haiti, is poor. In 1995 only about 35 percent of the nearly 2.5 million inhabitants had access to the water system. Most receive water only twice a week. The lack of service is attributed to

  • system losses associated with the age of the distribution system and theft of service, estimated at 60 percent;
  •  interruptions in the power supply to the wells and pumps; and
  •  contamination of water sources.

Continue reading WATER RESOURCES IN HAITI SOLVED 2

Farming Out Global Warming Solutions 2

Combating Climate Change: 

Changes to agricultural practice and forestry management could cut greenhouse gas emissions, buying time to develop alternative technologies.  This can be done by farming Out Global Warming Solutions.

DEFORESTATION

Farming Out Global Warming Solutions

Humanity has cut too many trees and by caused an immense desertification. The solution is quite simple: reverse the desertification and start planting trees. This solution will result in reducing the quantity of carbon dioxide in the air. It will also create valuable property that produces financial profits.

Each year, nearly 33 million acres of forestland around the world is cut down, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  Without action now, most of the world’s tropical forests will be lost by this century’s end. During the last half century, the seemingly endless Amazon has lost at least 17% of its forest cover.

Farming Out Global Warming Solutions

If such losses were cut in half, it could save 500 million metric tons of carbon annually and contribute 12 percent of the total reductions in GHG emissions required to avoid unpleasant global warming, researchers recently reported in Science.

Farming Out Global Warming Solutions

FORESTATION

Planting trees remains one of the most cost-effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Therefore, trees act as carbon sinks, alleviating the greenhouse effect. There are millions of acres of tropical pastures available.

The biome encompasses 6.7 million km2 (twice the size of India) and is shared by eight countries (Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname), as well as the overseas territory of French Guiana. 

 Tree-planting could sequester (remove from the atmosphere) around 1.1–1.6 GT of CO2 per year. That compares to total global greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 50 GT of CO2 in 2004.

Farming Out Global Warming Solutions

NO-TILL FARMING

Among proposed changes: more widespread adoption of so-called no-till farming, a practice that involves leaving unharvested crop stalks and other plant matter behind in the field undisturbed by plows and other soil-agitating instruments.

Farming Out Global Warming Solutions

Basically, the carbon stored inside the remains sinks into the soil instead of being stirred up and into the atmosphere when the soil is prepared for planting using conventional means. Such no-till farming provides a double benefit for farmers: improved soils and reduced fuel use, because it negates the need to harvest the stalks with tractors and other equipment.

What are we to do?

Continue reading Farming Out Global Warming Solutions 2

THE CARBON GENIE 2

Global Change and Politics

It’s hard to get the general public to grasp the vast size of our carbon problem, that we will not only have to stop emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere BUT ALSO find a way to pull vast amounts of CO2 already in the atmosphere and put the carbon genie back in the bottle.

Pick a reason for forgetting about our grandchildren who will all be living in a new world of Global Change: Ignorance; Greed; Denial; Tribalism (following the group thinking); Short-term Thinking.

Carbon GenieAt least half of our wise leaders don’t even see our carbon emissions as a serious problem. Very few leaders will support any change because no-one in power wants what would disrupt the cosy status quo.

Here are the facts: the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that a massive amount of CO2 removal will be required this century — at least 500 billion metric tons pulled back out of the air — if we are to avoid the worst of global warming. 

There is no current magical technology to absorb all the harmful CO2 in our atmosphere. But there’s worse news. There are almost no business cases for carbon removal right now. In other words, it still costs nothing to spew CO2 into the sky, so people have no financial incentive to stop dumping, let alone pay to clean up the air.  At the very least that we can do now is to require a price to be put on CO2, making it more expensive to emit.

 

Nature is our untapped solution. Tropical forests are incredibly effective at storing carbon – providing up to 30% of the solution towards climate change. Despite this, nature-based solutions only receive 2% of all funding devoted to climate solutions.

Carbon Genie

What we need is a Marshall-style construction programs, and an acknowledgment that we have to escape failed paradigms. 

We don’t have the luxury of a lot of time: the best science says we have less than 10 years to reduce carbon emissions by at least 90% if we expect civilization to deal with the possibility of extreme global warming. 

Carbon Genie

The irony is that it will take far more funds to recover from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, if we decide to wait to act. The cost and consequences of inaction are too high to risk.

Hopefully, it will not take a climate catastrophe to motivate such action, such as the drowning of some coastal city like New Orleans.

What are we to do?

Continue reading THE CARBON GENIE 2

Unstable Weather 2

Phenomena of Unstable Weather

HEAT WAVES

The deadly weather phenomena, heat wave, is a long period of hot unstable weather. Heat waves have increased in frequency and duration in recent years and will continue to do so.

Unstable Weather

Carbon Tax is not Enough!

Carbon should not flow unpriced into the atmosphere, any more than you should be allowed to toss your garbage in the street. A rising carbon tax would discourage carbon emissions in every single economic transaction, every day of the year. 

Once one major country or region adopts carbon dividends with border carbon adjustments, other countries are compelled to follow suit [to prevent paying border adjustments to countries with carbon taxes]. One by one the dominoes fall.

Since every action of a modern life involves using fossil fuel, the only way to get enough change is to send a price signal through the matrix, so that everyone from investors to car buyers to milk-drinkers will find their behavior changing automatically. Carbon pricing is also one of the tools clean tech entrepreneurs cite as key to supporting innovation.

Carbon pricing plans now cover about 12 percent of the world’s emissions — have been far from earth-shaking.  At best, a carbon tax is one arrow in a quiver full of other arrows we’re going to need to let loose in a volley.

Unstable Weather

Bill McKibben’s “Step It Up!” campaign to stop global warming.

Step It Up, a nationwide campaign to combat global warming, drew thousands of Americans concerned about climate change. Holding 1,400 events around the nation, participants in National Day of Climate Action got creative. In lower Manhattan, protesters formed a line at the place where rising sea levels are predicted to reach. But that was ten years ago. Where is this model now?

Unstable Weather

If there is a model within American memory of what must be done, it is the civil rights revolution of the 1960s.

 Will FORESTATION occur rapidly enough to avert the worst effects of a warming world? 

Unstable Weather

The 2020 gap is, according to a recent United Nations Environment Program report, the difference between global emission levels consistent with the 2°C and emission expected if country commitments are implemented. “Global emissions should not be higher than 44 Gt CO2. However the range of expected global emissions (median estimates) from the pledge cases is 52 – 54 Gt CO2 in 2020. The gap in 2020 is therefore 8 – 10 Gt CO2.”  This gap can be CLOSED by FORESTATION.

Unstable Climate

Tropical forests are incredibly effective at storing carbon – providing up to 30% of the solution towards climate change. It has been estimated that 8 – 10 Gt CO2 could be stored in tropical plantations.

Despite this, nature-based solutions only receive 2% of all funding devoted to climate solutions.

Politicians are completely overwhelmed by the sheer complexity, size and number of crises in the world at present. Politicians should not be lurching from crisis to crisis like a drunk. They lack the leadership that Winston Churchill brought to the Second World War.

Unstable Weather

The Copenhagen Accord commits developed countries to the goal of sending $100 billion per year to developing countries in assistance for climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation through 2020. If ten per cent of this went to African farmers this would be around a micro finance support of $800 per farming household per year, which could provide a powerful incentive to change.

There was also a collective commitment by developed countries for $30 billion in “new and additional” resources in 2010-2012 to help developing countries reduce emissions, preserve forests, and adapt to climate change; and a goal of mobilizing $100 billion a year in public and private finance by 2020 to address developing county needs.

Aside from saving the planet, Are Tropical Nurseries a Good Investment?

YES!

Continue reading Unstable Weather 2