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Situation Report

The Limits to the Shale Oil Boom

The cleanest form of petrochemical energy is clearly past its peak and is causing significant damage to ecosystems all over the planet.  That is why risky and incredibly expensive resource extraction, such as Deep Water Horizon, is becoming the new reality of oil production.  The impacts of climate change are now escalating rapidly.  But the bigger problem lies in the extents to which the largest and most profitable businesses in the world in the petrochemical industry are willing to go to continue their profitability against all rationality in terms of the  mass extinction and the impact on health and human security. 

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Food Scarcity: The Timebomb Setting Nation Against Nation

submitted by Paul G.Kaplan

        

A drying corn field in southern Minnesota. Bad weather has resulted in a poor harvest this year. Photograph: David I. Gross/ Corbis

As the UN and Oxfam warn of the dangers ahead, expert analyst Lester Brown says time to solve the problem is running out

guardian.co.uk - by John Vidal - October 13, 2012

Brandon Hunnicutt has had a year to remember. The young Nebraskan from Hamilton County farms 2,600 acres of the High Plains with his father and brother. What looked certain in an almost perfect May to be a "phenomenal" harvest of maize and soy beans has turned into a near disaster.

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Book - Full Planet, Empty Plates
http://www.earthpolicy.org/mobile/books/fpep

Oxfam Report - 'Our Land, Our Lives': Time Out on the Global Land Rush
http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/our-land-our-lives-time-out-on-the-global-land-rush-246731

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Cutting Food Losses in Half Would Feed an Additional Billion People

submitted by Samuel Bendett

Homeland Security News Wire - October 11, 2012

More efficient use of the food production chain and a decrease in the amount of food losses will dramatically help maintaining the planet’s natural resources and improve people’s lives; researchers have proved a valid estimation, for the first time, for how many people could be fed with reducing food losses

Researchers in Aalto University have proved a valid estimation, for the first time, for how many people could be fed with reducing food losses.

An Aalto University release reports that the world’s population is an estimated seven billion people. An additional one billion can be fed from our current resources, if the food losses could be halved. This can be achieved if the lowest loss percentage achieved in any region could be reached globally.

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Ocean-Based Food Security Threatened in a High CO2 World

oceana.org - September 24, 2012

Emissions from human activities are changing the ocean’s chemistry and temperature in ways that threaten the livelihoods of those who depend on fish and seafood for all or part of their diets. The changes may reduce the amount of wild caught seafood that can be supplied by the oceans and also redistribute species, changing the locations at which seafood can be caught and creating instability for ocean-based food security, or seafood security. This report ranks nations based on the seafood security hardships they may experience by the middle of this century due to changing ocean conditions from climate change and ocean acidification. This is done by combining each nation’s exposure to climate change and ocean acidification, its dependence on and consumption of fish and seafood and its level of adaptive capacity based on several socioeconomic factors. Country rankings are developed for risks from climate change and ocean acidification independently, as well as from both problems combined.

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Probability Maps Help Detect Food Contamination

Sandia's stochastic network metholodogy accelerates spread of food-borne illness // Source: sandia.gov

submitted by Luis Kun

Homeland Security News Wire - October 1, 2012

Researchers demonstrate how developing a probability map of the food supply network using stochastic network representation might shorten the time it takes to track down contaminated food sources; stochastic mapping shows what is known about how product flows through the distribution supply chain and provides a means to express all the uncertainties in potential supplier-customer relationships that persist due to incomplete information

Uncovering the sources of fresh food contamination could become faster and easier thanks to analysis done at Sandia National Laboratories’ National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC).

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100 Million Will Die by 2030 if World Fails to Tackle Climate Change: Report

Reuters - by Nina Chestney
September 27, 2012

(CLICK ON "READ MORE" AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR LINKS TO THE REPORT )

LONDON: More than 100 million people will die and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday.

As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods, said the report conducted by humanitarian organisation DARA.

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Report - Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of A Hot Planet
http://daraint.org/climate-vulnerability-monitor/climate-vulnerability-monitor-2012/report/

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Whooping Cough Vaccine Loses Effectiveness Faster Than Thought, Study Finds

huffingtonpost.com - by Mike Stobbe - September 12, 2012

NEW YORK — As the U.S. wrestles with its biggest whooping cough outbreak in decades, researchers appear to have zeroed in on the main cause: The safer vaccine that was introduced in the 1990s loses effectiveness much faster than previously thought.

A study published in Wednesday's New England Journal of Medicine found that the protective effect weakens dramatically soon after a youngster gets the last of the five recommended shots around age 6.

The protection rate falls from about 95 percent to 71 percent within five years, said researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Research Center in Oakland, Calif.

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Study - NEJM - Waning Protection after Fifth Dose of Acellular Pertussis Vaccine in Children
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1200850?query=featured_home

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Emergency Capacity Building Project - Tools and Resources

submitted by Tim Siftar

ecbproject.org

The Project

Disasters and humanitarian emergencies are increasing in magnitude and complexity*. This presents a major challenge to NGOs that respond to these emergencies.

In order to address this challenge, emergency directors from 7 agencies - CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam GB, Save the Children and World Vision International- came together in 2003 to discuss the most persistent obstacles in humanitarian aid delivery. The Inter-Agency Working Group (IWG) on Emergency Capacity that emerged from this meeting launched a systematic analysis, resulting in the publication of a Report on Emergency Capacity in 2004.

Phase II - launched in 2008

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Solar superstorm could kill millions, cost trillions

chicagotribune.com - Deborah Zabarenko - August 3rd, 2012

A monster blast of geomagnetic particles from the sun could destroy 300 or more of the 2,100 high-voltage transformers that are the backbone of the U.S. electric grid, according to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Even a few hundred destroyed transformers could disable the entire interconnected system.

There is impetus for a group of federal agencies to look for ways to prepare for such a storm this year as the sun moves into an active period called solar maximum, expected to peak in 2013.

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(ALSO SEE ARTICLE IN THE LINK BELOW)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/03/us-solar-superstorm-idUSBRE8721K820120803

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NOAA Report - State of the Climate in 2011

noaa.gov - July 10, 2012

Back-to-back La Niñas cooled globe and influenced extreme weather in 2011

New NOAA-led report examines climate conditions experienced around the world

Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30 year average, according to the 2011 State of the Climate report released online today by NOAA. The peer-reviewed report, issued in coordination with the American Meteorological Society (AMS), was compiled by 378 scientists from 48 countries around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on land, sea, ice and sky.

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