Archive for March 2013
Guest post by Danielle Nierenberg, co-founder of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank
The United States is one of the world’s biggest users of water: many Americans use as much water as about 900 Kenyans. Water resources in the U.S. are shrinking. In the last five years, water shortages have occurred in almost every part of the country, including the worst drought in at least 25 years that hit 80 percent of the country’s farmland in 2012. Even worse, the damaged land won’t fully recover this year and at least 36 states are expecting local, regional, or statewide water shortages, even without the impact of drought.
The Natural Resources Defense Council expects water scarcity to affect the American South, West, and Midwest the most. Fourteen states in these regions already have “extreme” or “high” risk of water scarcity. Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, and Texas face the most danger because they are expected to see some of the largest population increases by 2030. Read the rest of this entry »
The short answer is: probably not. There are many reasons to question the wisdom of exporting U.S. coal to Asia through five planned terminals in the Pacific Northwest, including huge health, safety and environmental risks.
But what if the entire underlying economic rationale for this whole exercise—China’s supposed insatiable and never-ending demand for U.S. coal exports—is non-existent? What if that perceived and anticipated market, even if it once existed, is disappearing?
That’s the conclusion of a recent Greenpeace report, “The Myth of China’s Endless Coal Demand: A missing market for US Exports.”
“The US coal industry – reeling from sagging domestic demand, plummeting profits, and tanking stock prices – is desperate for a new market for its wares, and it thinks it has found one in China,” Greenpeace says. “But in reality, the Chinese market for US coal exports may dry up before major new US coal shipments ever reach its ports.” Read the rest of this entry »