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Jun 25, 2013

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/06/26/city/karachi/environmental-cost-of-industrialisation/

KARACHI - Industrialisation is a process of social and economic changes whereby a human society is transformed from a pre-industrial to an industrial state. It is a part of a wider modernisation process, where social change and economic development is closely related with technological innovation, particularly with the development of large-scale energy and metallurgy production.

The major technological, socioeconomic, and cultural change in the late 18th and early 19th century resulting from the replacement of an economy based on manual labour with one dominated by industry and machine manufacture while our economy grows stronger and our environment becomes weaker as a result. There is only one cause of environmental destruction - industrialisation. Overpopulation and over consumerism are only consequences/by-products of the industrialisation. Moreover, the environment has been destroyed by industrialization and consumerism but not the population/ overpopulation. The industrialisation has loaded tremendous pressure on environment. The industrialisation runs hand in glove with environment. 

But knowingly or unknowingly, the industrialisation ran faster without caring for environment to win the race. The environmental costs of industrialisation are mind boggling. Huge quantities of pollutants solids, liquids and gaseous material which are being let out in the air, water, land are investing the relationships between man and the nature with new complexities. Some of the statistics pertaining to environmental scenario are quite revealing. At present nearly 70 percent of the available water is polluted. Over 73 million days are lost annually due to water related diseases. About half a hectare of land is consumed every second.

 

Life support systems inbuilt in the eco-system are being strained almost to the point of new return. The drive for economic development has resulted in ecological harm. Extraction of minerals can be destructive as streams and rivers were diverted so that miners can pan the riverbeds for minerals. Fish and other resources are destroyed and erosion increase gently. Energy production can create other kinds of damage as well. Oil spills destroy marine life. Power plants burning coal and gas produce pollution along with electricity.

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Posted: Jun 25, 2013 7:34pm
Jun 14, 2013

http://www.eurasiareview.com/13062013-julia-gillards-china-policy-an-analysis/

Introduction

Eyebrows were raised in the minds of some analysts and policy makers in the Asia pacific region when Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard suddenly decided to pay an official five-day visit to China in April 2013, a time which did not quite seem opportune as tensions had heightened in the Korean peninsula over Pyongyang’s bellicose rhetoric and war cry and maritime tensions over Scarborough Shoal with the Philippines and over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands with Japan had created a volatile situation. All these developments were taking place at a time when Gillard was sculpting her government’s strategy for shared prosperity in a peaceful Asian century.

Economic factor

What propelled Gillard to take this sudden decision to travel to Beijing? From the composition of her team that travelled with her, it transpired that economic consideration was the main driver. The level of economic complementarity that has developed between the two countries, it is in neither country’s interest to allow political consideration to intervene in economic matters. The nature of the economic relationship between the two is such that while Australia needs a reliable market to sell its raw materials, which China provides, and China needs a reliable source for uninterrupted supplies for critical raw materials that its burgeoning economy needs, which Australia makes available. Looked from another side, Australia provides a reliable market for Chinese manufactured products. No wonder, Gillard took with her a team of ministers – foreign affairs, defence, trade and financial services – so that bilateral ties can be deepened in all dimensions. Gillard probably thinks that if the economic ties are kept under solid foundation, this will facilitate differences on security issues to disappear.
The question that arises: Is such a policy in sync with Australia’s other partners in the Asia Pacific region whose perspectives of China are in variance with that of Australia? True, China is Australia’s largest trading partner. Its export of iron ore alone fetches almost $43 billion a year, which easily dwarf most of the world’s bilateral aggregate trade relationships. Also, by signing a historic pact with China for direct annual meetings with Premier Li Keqiang, Gillard scored a foreign policy coup of sort. Both the leaders also pledged for formal cooperation on climate change, international aid and currency trading. The deal represented one of the most significant breakthroughs in the Australia-China relationship since Gough Whitlam recognized the communist state more than 40 years ago.

The annual talks will feature the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Foreign Minister in face-to-face gatherings with their Chinese counterparts. According to Gillard, the new partnership was “a big step forward” and would build on the existing level of cooperation. She observed: “It’s a step forward for us as a nation. It’s important to peace, stability, the ability to talk about those things, the ability to talk about our economic relationship in a structured dialogue every year,” Ms Gillard said. Some see the agreement as potentially the greatest single leap in relations for the two countries since diplomatic recognition back in 1972. Apart from Australia now, China only has this type of yearly dialogue with Russia, Germany, Britain and the EU.

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Posted: Jun 14, 2013 11:44pm
May 12, 2013

http://grist.org/cities/how-cities-can-finally-get-smart-about-water-use/

That’s the conclusion from a new study in the journal Water Policy, whose authors compared the water supply histories of four cities — San Diego, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Adelaide, Australia. Among the lessons learned? Urban water conservation, recycling, and desalination aren’t silver bullets. In fact, the best solution may lie upstream with farmers — saving just 5-10 percent of agricultural irrigation in upstream watersheds could satisfy a city’s entire water needs.


But the time to act is now, argues Brian Richter, a senior freshwater scientist at The Nature Conservancy and the study’s lead author — he says a global urban water crisis is already here. Below, Richter tells us more about what cities need to do to say on the right side of dry.

Q. Many cities take a similar pattern of water development, according to your research – going from exhausting local surface and groundwater supplies to importing water to implementing water conservation to finally recycling water or desalination. Why is this pattern unsustainable?

A. When we overuse a freshwater source, we set ourselves up for disaster. Each of the cities we reviewed in our study has contributed to the drying of a major river or important groundwater spring. That has obvious ecological impacts and social consequences — it affects livelihoods and human health by compromising fish production, concentrating pollution, or curtailing recreational activities.

Our research is revealing that water scarcity also causes severe economic losses by limiting or disrupting agricultural, industrial, and energy production. Texas lost nearly $8 billion in agriculture last year due to water shortages; electricity generation from hydropower dams on the Colorado River in 2010 dropped by 20 percent due to water shortages. Some estimates suggest that China may be losing $39 billion each year due to crop damage and lessened industrial production, and hundreds of thousands of people around the globe are being forced to move due to water shortages.

Because these impacts are so pervasive and damaging, we need to begin investing in water supply approaches that don’t just minimize these adverse impacts but instead begin to reverse them.

Q. Are we looking at a crisis in securing urban water supplies in the near future, either for U.S. cities or globally?

A. That crisis is already upon us. Our study revealed that half of all cities — both in the United States and globally — are located in watersheds where more than 50 percent of the renewable supply of water to our rivers and aquifers is being consumed, at least seasonally. Now, that’s not a problem as long as we’re receiving plentiful precipitation. But if you’re using that much water on an average, ongoing basis and you go into a severe drought, there isn’t enough water to meet all needs.

Q. Phoenix, another one of your case studies, has lowered its per capita water use by 25 percent since 1990 through various water conservation measures — and yet Phoenix is water scarce. Why?

A. Water scarcity results when we heavily deplete a freshwater source. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re experiencing regular water shortages in your home or business. But it does mean that you’re at considerable risk if the water supplies continue to be increasingly depleted by other users, or you get into a drought situation.

Phoenix’s water conservation efforts are admirable, but they need to do much more. They are heavily dependent on the Colorado River, which is so thoroughly overused that it dries up before reaching its delta in the Gulf of California. During a severe, prolonged drought, the reliability of that water source will be in jeopardy.

Q. So storm- and wastewater recycling aren’t enough?

A. Contrary to popular belief, water conservation and recycling may not result in a net improvement in the affected water source. If the water that’s conserved is simply used to supply additional urban growth, then the water source is no better off.

The vast majority (80-90 percent) of water used in cities is returned to the freshwater source after use. So only 10-20 percent of the water is “lost” or “depleted” — most of that goes to outdoor landscaping or golf courses. Water recycling shuts off the return of water to the freshwater source — instead of discharging the used water back to a river, the water is used for domestic, commercial, industrial, or agricultural purposes.

So water recycling will “save” water — and reduce water scarcity in the freshwater source — only if it reduces the fraction of water that was previously being lost from the freshwater system.

Q. What about desalination if you’re a city on the coast? It’s expensive — but Adelaide’s desal plant is supposed to provide more than 25 percent of that city’s water supply by 2013.

A. Desalination could be a wonderful solution to our water challenges — more than one in every two people on Earth lives near a coast. But removing salts from ocean water requires a tremendous amount of energy, and the expense of that energy makes desalination the most costly way by far to supply fresh water to cities.

And there’s a wicked climate change feedback loop for desalination: using it to create fresh water produces carbon emissions that change our climate, which in turn affects the precipitation that supplies fresh water. Without a radical breakthrough in energy production, desalination will continue to supply only a tiny fraction of the world’s freshwater needs. (Note that Adelaide is using 100 percent renewable energy to power its desalination plant.)

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Posted: May 12, 2013 8:06pm

 

 
 
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