Natural Disaster

Gasbaggery On Iran
June 13, 2008

In case you thought conservatives weren't serious about energy action, here's a wingnut crack at resolving the crushing cost of gas today. From theNY Sun:   Legislation is circulating in Congress, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, that would punish oil traders and transporters that sell refined gasoline to Iran.   Iran, like a handful of fellow OPEC nations, has a deeply deficient intranational oil refining infrastructure. Only 40 percent of their crude is processed in the country, the rest being imported or reimported from abroad as gasoline.

Adam Smith In Tennessee
June 11, 2008

Thirty-six hours ago, on our annual trek to our summer residence on Tybee Island, Georgia, my wife and I stopped at a Comfort Inn in Dandridge, Tennessee, a few miles west of the Great Smoky Mountains. For dinner, we ate very well and very cheaply (for both of us, under $30.00 including a 30-percent tip) at a Perkins restaurant. Around us were tables full of contented, obese patrons, many of whom left with cartons of leftovers. A few days before, I'd seen on the CBS Evening News a vignette from another small Tennessee town, Dover, on the other side of the state, near Nashville.

A Problem With An Obvious Solution
June 03, 2008

Elisabeth Rosenthal in The New York Times has a dispatch from a drought-stricken region of Spain: Murcia, traditionally a poor farming region, has undergone a resort-building boom in recent years, even as many of its farmers have switched to more thirsty crops, encouraged by water transfer plans, which have become increasingly untenable. The combination has put new pressures on the land and its dwindling supply of water. This year, farmers are fighting developers over water rights. They are fighting one another over who gets to water their crops.

The Party of Death
May 19, 2008

The generals are deaf. As everyone now knows, the regime was warned by weather forecasters in India two days before the cyclone arrived--five days before by forecasters in Thailand--and it refused to listen. The generals hate their own people. The regime does not merely disdain them, it hates them, and the hate is cold, total and murderous. How else to explain the unimaginable sight of convoys being held by customs at the Thai border? Of planes filled with provisions and forbidden to land?

A Step Toward Water Markets In China
May 18, 2008

I've blogged before about the need to create an integrated, functioning market for water rights in the American West. Yingling Liu has an op-ed that illustrates why it might be an even more pressing need in China: The need for better delineation of water rights in China has become increasingly urgent.

When Nature Gets Angry
May 13, 2008

As if that out-of-nowhere volcanic eruption in Chile wasn't scary enough, now we have volcanic lightning storms to contend with:      Jaw-dropping...

The Next New Orleans?
May 13, 2008

       The Los Angeles Times reported this past weekend that the California Department of Water Resources is sounding the alarm about the possibility of a catastrophic flood in the Sacramento area: A recent state report predicts that the right combination of unlucky weather conditions could put some parts of the city under more than 20 feet of water, causing a $25-billion disaster that would cripple state government and ripple through the California economy.

Stronger Hurricanes At The Margin
May 09, 2008

Al Gore told NPR this week that the typhoon in Burma "might be associated with continued global warming." The Cato Institute's Indur Goklany wonders how this can be possible, since sea-surface temperatures in the Bay of Bengal before the storm hit were about the same as they were at the same time last year, and were actually cooler than in 2005. So how can one say that warming contributed to the storm? This is a common mistake that's made in thinking about global warming and hurricanes.

Surprise Eruption Of The Day
May 06, 2008

This probably isn't the first thing anyone wants to see looming over their house:            That's from this Reuters slideshow of last Friday's eruption of Mount Chaiten in Chile, a volcano that was long believed to be inactive. --Bradford Plumer

Australia's $3 Billion Water Transfer
April 30, 2008

You may have already read about the contribution of drought in Australia to the global food crunch, but now the Australian government is taking it a step further: Canberra announced yesterday it plans to spend $2.9 billion to buy water rights from farmers in order to ensure that there are ample supplies for residential use. Australian farmers seem to be moderately receptive to the policy, mostly because it's a huge financial windfall for them.