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Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Peace Prize - What's (Not) Peaceful About Climate Change

I have heard many comments from folks who don't understand why/how Gore and IPCC got the "Peace Prize" for their work on Climate Change. Well, here it is.

Southeast drought fuels battle over water rights.

Changes in local weather due to climate change include many things - droughts where there used to be lots of water, lots of water where there used to be deserts, melting ice where ice has always been, snow where there didn't used to be any, rising ocean levels, etc. The result of all this will be mass relocations of large groups of people who will then be fighting over now scarce resources like fresh water, arable land, and space to live.

In the story above, three states have already filed lawsuits over water. Atlanta and the State of Georgia are in a terrible position - the only source of water for the City of Atlanta is Lake Allatoona, and it is predicted to be completely dry within three months.

The river that empties from the lake flows through parts of Florida (Florida has sued on behalf of several endangered and threatened species that live in the river) and Alabama (that uses the water to cool a nuclear reactor among other things). Both Florida and Alabama accuse Georgia of allowing unrestrained and unsustainable growth without thinking about problems like this. Alabama and Georgia accuse Florida of caring more about fish and shellfish than people. Alabama accuses Florida and Georgia of not thinking about the ramifications of their nuclear reactor being cooled (an argument for another day about why nuclear power is NOT the answer to our energy problems!). They all accuse the Army Corps of Engineers of taking sides with someone/not them on the issue. The ACE says it is trying to remain neutral while at the same time following the laws on the books about water release timing and amounts.

This is just a very small skirmish in what is going to be a much larger war over diminishing resources.

The Pentagon has had in its vaults a white paper addressing all this. It was studied, compiled and printed back in the early 1980s, and addresses the issues of major wars over resources just such as this on a global scale. Seems like at least they understood what will happen if things continue the way they are.

So....whether the IPCC and Al Gore deserve the "Peace Prize" is still to be determined - by the rest of us. Whether we - as individuals and as citizens of our country and the "real" government - take the steps necessary to make sure that all this conflict does not happen.

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.