Climate Change Drives Half a Billion People to Suffer Hunger, Water Shortages as Droughts and Heatwaves Wreck Crops Across the Globe

At least 12 Indian states are believed to be facing famine and experts have warned that the water crisis could worsen if urgent action is not taken. — Greenpeace statement taken yesterday by The International Business Times.

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A human-forced warming of the globe is a trigger for increasingly severe droughts, water shortages, food shortages, and heatwaves intense enough to cause mass casualties. As global temperatures during 2015 and 2016 have risen to more than 1 degree Celsius above preindustrial readings, we’ve seen more and more reports coming in of these kinds of climate-change driven disruptions.

A new study out this week from the European Commission has found that 240 million people across the world are now suffering from food stress. With Greenpeace now warning that 330 million people in India alone are faced with water shortages and threat of famine, and with millions more coming under both food and water stress in Vietnam as a record Southeast Asian heatwave ramps up to never-before-seen extreme temperatures — it appears now that more than half a billion people around the world are dealing with a climate change driven food and water crisis.

It’s a growing global crisis that has now come to affect more than 45 nations. One that has put at least 80 million of those now suffering from hunger at a food stress level just one step below famine. One whose primary trigger appears to be widespread and expanding drought and extreme weather due to global temperatures hitting new all-time record highs.

Food stress map

(Despite what is probably the best global system ever devised to prevent and reduce hunger, the European Commission now finds that 240 million people are at risk of food stress. A number that is likely incomplete as a newly emerging heatwave in Southeast Asia is drying up food and water supplies for millions. Image source: The European Commission.)

It’s a situation that international agencies appear to be scrambling to keep track of. For with each passing week there appears to be new information about another country falling under food and water stress or of one already affected seeing conditions among strained populaces worsen.

Hunger Expanding Across The Globe

In the Equatorial and near-Equatorial regions of the world, nations are particularly vulnerable to the stress of rising temperatures. There, soil moisture is already tenuous in many regions. As temperatures rise, rates of evaporation increase and marginal areas can rapidly fall into drought. In addition, many regions reliant on glacier and snow melt to provide water during summer are seeing mountain snows vanish and high elevation glaciers dwindle away as consistently above freezing temperatures invade further and further into the higher elevations.

Across Africa, Southern and Eastern Asia, The Middle East, and Central America this story has been writ large as new climate change driven heat and dryness appears to have hit a tipping point this year. Severe heatwaves, droughts, and dwindling rivers are setting off intense hunger crises in North Korea, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Central Africa, and Nigeria — countries that now each host more than 10 million people under acute food stress. These are grim figures. But the numbers, in many cases, fail to tell the whole story of how dire the situation has actually become.

In North Korea, for example, officials there are warning of another Arduous March — a period of famine during the late 1990s and coinciding with droughts and rising global temperatures that killed more than 3.5 million in that country. Aid to North Korea during the 2000s alleviated some of the endemic hunger. But by the then record warm year of 2010 the droughts had re-emerged, and reports of hunger, stunted growth among children, and famine had again cropped up. In 2015, amidst global temperatures that had risen still higher, North Korea experienced its worst drought in at least 100 years. By as early as March, drought and heat had once-more settled in over a broad swath of Asia. And late last month, the state-run news agency Rodong Sinmun issued the following statement alluding to a rising risk of famine conditions in the country:

We may have to go on an arduous march, during which we will have to chew the roots of plants once again.

India Drought Baked and Bleached Riverbeds

(A hothouse created by ongoing fossil fuel burning and related carbon emissions has set off droughts and heatwaves around the world leaving riverbeds and farmlands baked and bleached. Image source: India Water Portal.)

More than a score of other nations now see between 1-10 million people in their countries facing hunger. Places like Cambodia, Madagascar, Iraq, Pakistan, Venezuela, Libya, Haiti, New Guinea, Chad, Mali, Somalia, and Zamibia. Earlier this week, the situation became very acute for Somalia as a group of 23 NGOs warned that the country was at high risk of falling into famine. There, water shortages, food shortages and livestock deaths have grown more and more widespread. Ever-deepening drought has pushed crops to fail and food prices to sky-rocket. An ongoing growing season disruption that has now pushed hundreds of thousands of people into hunger.

In Cambodia, a country suffering from a severe southeast Asian drought and heatwave that has left much of the region reeling, the EC identifies up to 5 million people threatened by hunger. Heat and drought there are now so severe that farmers cannot grow traditional crops. A local farmer describes the increasingly dire situation:

“Before it was not difficult, but now due to frequent drought even bananas don’t grow and other vegetables that we normally grow here are not doing well, not enough to eat. We cannot grow all the vegetables we need so sometimes I collect food from neighbours.”

A number of nations suffering from climate change related extreme weather events now triggering additional food and water stress are not currently listed in the recent EC report. Countries like India and Vietnam, which are both now confronting record drought, heat related mass casualties, heatwaves, water shortages, farmer suicides and crop losses. The severe drought and food shortage situation in Vietnam has come on with particular speed and intensity as local officials identified more than two million people at risk of hunger there just this week:

Vietnam is in urgent need of international aid worth US$48.5 million as a crippling drought threatens to create a shortage of food and water for two million people. Officials from the country’s agriculture ministry and the United Nations estimated at a meeting Tuesday that at least two million people in southern and central Vietnam lack clean water, with 1.1 million also in need of food support.

Record Asian Heatwave

(One of the most severe heatwaves on record settled in over Southeast Asia during April. The event has already killed 150 people due to heat alone in India — there sparking off such a severe water shortage that relief trains now move from town to town — providing people with emergency supplies as local wells and rivers dry up. In Vietnam and Cambodia, the severe heat has already lead to crop failures so widespread that millions are at risk of hunger. Image source: NASA and Voice of America.)

But perhaps hardest hit of all is India. There, so many towns have lost access to river or well water that a train filled with millions of gallons of the life-giving liquid now winds its way across India — providing people there with a water ration of between 4 and 10 liters per day meant to meet all daily drinking and bathing needs. Greenpeace has identified more than 330 million people who are now facing water shortages across the highly populated country. And according to that NGO 12 Indian states will face famine unless swift government action to alleviate the crisis takes place.

Indian officials have pinned hopes for refreshed water supplies on the Asian Monsoon which is scheduled to arrive by mid-to-late June. However, the human-driven warming of the globe has a tendency to reduce the amount of rainfall the annual Indian Monsoon provides. A fact hinted at in a recent statement to International Business Times by Greenpeace’s Ishteyaque Ahmad:

“Those who say that one or a few consecutive good monsoons will change the situation are either ignorant or are trying to hide the truth, which is very frightening. In fact, we are dehydrating our earth’s system by choice and not out of ignorance.”

Record High Global Temperatures as a Trigger

It is difficult to overstate the severity of droughts and heatwaves affecting many of these regions. For record-shattering high temperatures and moisture loss has been impacting these sections of the globe all throughout the 2015-2016 period. During this time, global temperatures have risen to never-before-seen levels. It’s a record spike of global heat that has been driven on by human-forced climate change. By levels of the heat trapping gas — carbon dioxide — rising to marks well above 405 parts per million this year. At the same time, El Nino has caused that heat to build up over the Equatorial and near-Equatorial regions of the world. Serving as a kind of human-forced warming amplifier for drought, heat, and water stress in these regions.

For the Summer of 2016, following one of the strongest El Ninos on record and entering a period when the world has never experienced such amazingly high global temperatures, the level of disruption is likely to be extraordinarily severe. Record heat will pull more moisture from soils and rivers than ever before, will take down the mountain snows that still exist faster than ever before, will dwindle the remaining glaciers to the lowest levels yet seen. In addition, consistent warm air invasions into the Arctic will tend to create high amplitude waves in the Jet Stream — setting up zones where droughts and heatwaves are further enhanced. So the crisis period for the Summer of 2016 has just begun.

In this context the expected onset of La Nina later in the year is far off. And though it may provide relief for some areas, this relief will be somewhat withdrawn by the climate change driven warming that is already in place and continues to steadily worsen. In addition, regions that tend to see dryness due to La Nina may see drought conditions further enhanced by the ongoing global heat build-up — places like California that should probably not let its guard down following a notably weak moisture flow off the record strong El Nino this past Winter.

Links:

Famine Early Warning System

The European Commission Report on Global Hunger

India Drought — Greenpeace Issues SOS, Famine Warnings

NASA GISS

Extreme Weather, Armed Conflict Affects Millions

NGOs Issue Famine Warning for Somalia

Vietnam Drought Threatens Millions

Punishing Heatwave Sets off Temperature Records Across Asia

India Water Portal

North Korean’s Arduous March

North Korea Experiences Worst Drought in at Least 100 Years

Chef Arrives in Cambodia to Draw Attention to Climate Change

The Keeling Curve

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Hat Tip to Wili

Hat Tip to DT Lange

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120 Comments

  1. Colorado Bob

     /  April 27, 2016

    Coalition Of Scientists Takes Novel Approach To Grading Accuracy Of Climate Change Coverage

    A group of scientists from around the world is using new web-based technology to assess the accuracy of media coverage of climate change, and the organization spearheading these efforts is looking for support to take its work to the next level.

    The organization, known as Climate Feedback, uses what’s known as web annotation technology to layer scientists’ comments directly onto articles and opinion pieces, so that readers can easily understand whether — and to what degree — the pieces are consistent with scientific understanding of climate change. Climate Feedback then assigns a credibility score known as “feedback” to each media piece, which serves as an overall guide to its accuracy — or lack thereof.
    The result looks like this:

    Reply
    • George W. Hayduke

       /  April 27, 2016

      Great site, thanks for the link.

      Reply
    • The climate change denial promoting Wall Street Journal gets failing grades. Who’d a thunk it?

      Reply
      • George W. Hayduke

         /  April 28, 2016

        I tend to read The Washington Post out of all the MSM, glad to see they got decent marks. I like The Guardian as well, they even have a tab for environment.

        Reply
    • Loni D. Hollenbeck

       /  April 28, 2016

      This is a terrific idea, and gets the subject closer to an actual real time debate between the ‘deniers’ and the scientist/researcher. Clever idea.

      Reply
  2. climatehawk1

     /  April 27, 2016

    Great stuff, tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  3. Colorado Bob

     /  April 27, 2016

    So the crisis period for the Summer of 2016 has just begun.

    Hell comes to breakfast. lunch, and dinner.

    Reply
  4. Colorado Bob

     /  April 27, 2016

    Indeed, because the challenge is so great, Climate Feedback is ramping up its efforts via a crowdfunding campaign this week. The aim is to raise enough funds to hire a scientific editor and build a “Scientific Trust Tracker,” which will aggregate the group’s ratings to assess the overall credibility of various news sources. According to Vincent, the new tool “should provide a healthy incentive for more accurate science reporting,” because “building trust is essential for news sources and scientists’ endorsements can help journalists with integrity to get ahead.”
    Climate Feedback: A guide to reliable climate news

    Reply
  5. – Thanks, Robert.
    It looks like we are now in a new and sadly tragic phase of climate reporting.
    Keep up your outstanding posts here.
    I made sure Amy Goodman and DemoNow got this post.
    OUT

    Reply
    • Thanks DT. Actually, tracking down a good global sample of drought and hunger info was a real challenge. The EC report doesn’t include the half of it due to failing to catch up to the rapidly emergent Asian drought/heatwave — the effects of which are just now starting to become clear.

      Reply
  6. Colorado Bob

     /  April 27, 2016

    Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s

    A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-04-widespread-loss-ocean-oxygen-2030s.html#jCp

    Reply
    • That’s one hell of a report. Will be taking a closer look tonight.

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 28, 2016

      Along with the subject matter of the post

      http://www.science20.com/news_articles/mysterious_kidney_disease_blamed_on_global_warming-157532

      Mysterious Kidney Disease Blamed On Global Warming
      By News Staff | October 17th 2015 08:30 AM |

      Mesoamerican Nephropathy, a mysterious kidney disease that has killed over 20,000 people in Central America, most of them sugar cane workers, may be caused by chronic, severe dehydration linked to global climate change, according to a new study by Richard J. Johnson, MD, of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

      The Mesoamerican Nephropathy epidemic was first described in 2002. It’s most prevalent among manual laborers on sugar cane plantations in the hotter, lower altitudes of Central America’s Pacific coast. The disease has also been reported among farmworkers, miners, fishermen and construction and transportation workers in the region.

      Speculation abounds about what may be causing it, including exposure to heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic chemicals. But Johnson believes the actual culprit is chronic recurrent dehydration caused by climate change.

      “This could be the first epidemic directly caused by global warming,” said Johnson, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “Some districts of Nicaragua have been called the `land of widows’ due to the high mortality rates occurring among the male workers from chronic kidney disease.”

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 28, 2016

      Sorry posted the Kidney disease one out of place instead of this one. One of the favourites geoengineering solutions. Fe seeding of the oceans

      http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2016/03/30/2003642783

      A study by a National Taiwan University (NTU) researcher overturned a hypothesis that fertilizing oceans with iron to increase the growth of greenhouse gas-absorbing algae might help slow global warming.
      Proposed in the 1990s, iron fertilization — seeding oceans with iron to boost the growth of algae to capture carbon dioxide via photosynthesis — has been conducted a dozen times around the world as a way to reduce atmospheric carbon.
      However, an international team joined by NTU assistant professor of geology Ren Hao-jia (任昊佳) found that while iron fertilization can stimulate algae bloom in one region, it could inversely prohibit the growth of algae in other regions.

      “We also understand some other side effects of iron fertilization. The algae boom it stimulates might cause the ocean to run out of oxygen and lead to massive death of marine animals. It is not to say iron fertilization is useless, but we have to be cautious,” Ren said.

      “It was generally believed that iron fertilization was a practical approach to capture greenhouse gases, but Ren dared to challenge a well-received theory and succeeded,” NTU vice president Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said

      Reply
      • If you fertilize the oceans with iron, you provide a key nutrient for hydrogen sulfide producing bacteria. In other words, you speed a transition to a Canfield Ocean State. Pretty much one of the worst of the worst of unintended consequences.

        Reply
    • oh man Bob, you keep digging up these deeply depressing things to read! Just kidding, I don’t mean to criticise, I really appreciate that you and Robert accumulate and synthesis all of these knowledge points here, but I think I avoid the site some days because a) it’s a bit of a rabbit hole that I have a hard time finding my way out of and b) it appears that so much of what we’re finding out is worse and faster than predicted, so terribly depressing.

      I try to check cleantechnica regularly to find some encouragement in the pace of renewables and EV adoption, but it sure seems like it’s already a long shot for civilization to survive, so it’s hard coping.

      Combine this decreasing oxygen phenomenon with the fact that phytoplankton is already reduced by 40% and that most of the coral reefs are being killed off already, and it looks like hte oceans are going to go from sources of teeming life to massive deserts within a few decades. Ugh.

      Reply
  7. g. orwell

     /  April 27, 2016

    ’bout a week ago I signed up to make a monthly donation to this site; I hope others can do same. There is nothing I can add to the praise already given to Robert.

    Reply
  8. – FILE UNDER: Air Pollution is Atmospheric Pollution

    Reply
  9. – Access to water
    India’s drought migrants head to cities in desperate search for water

    Parts of India are being parched by a drought that means farmers are unable to irrigate their fields, with some areas even running out of drinking water

    No one in the slum of Murtinagar wants to play with Temri and Chinna. The brother and sister don’t speak the local Hindi or Marathi languages – they came here, to Mumbai, India’s financial capital, 10 days ago from their village, Andhra, and grew up speaking the regional language of Telegu. Jaya Kummari, their mother, brought Chinna and Temri to Mumbai because of a drought that has left Andhra without water.

    In the corner of the one-bedroom apartment that their parents are renting for 4,000 rupees (£40) a month, Temri and Chinna play board games. “We miss our friends,” Chinna says.

    The children are missing school and keep asking their mother when they can go home. “What are we supposed to do?” Jaya says. “There’s not even water to drink.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/apr/27/india-drought-migrants-head-to-cities-in-desperate-search-for-water

    Reply
  10. June

     /  April 27, 2016

    Thanks for this important post, Robert. This situation is just tragic. The impact on societal stability is likely to worsen as the warming accelerates, and desperate people try to survive as best they can. Meanwhile millions of dollars go to fossil fuel company executives who continue to fight climate action. And hundreds of millions are poured into the political theater that is the US presidential election campaign.

    India’s drought migrants head to cities in desperate search for water

    “Across the country, schools in many villages have closed. In some places, doctors have postponed surgeries saying they don’t have water to wash their hands after procedures. With no harvest and no water, villagers are flocking to cities, where water is more easily available.

    The drought migrants have no homes in the city; some have made makeshift shelters on construction sites, footpaths and park benches. The villagers have no work and no cash, and many are forced to beg.

    Scarcity has made water even more precious. In the north, in states such as Punjab and Haryana, local governments are fighting for control of rivers. Rioters in Haryana cut off the water supply to Delhi earlier this year until their demands were met, signalling that control over resources is a serious political issue.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/apr/27/india-drought-migrants-head-to-cities-in-desperate-search-for-water

    Reply
    • I’m struck here by a few bitter ironies and what perhaps may also be an ironic cause for hope. If India learns to deal with and be charitable toward their own internal migrants, one finds hope that they will tear down that horrible wall trapping Bangladeshis in their own country and consigning them to face the rising seas without the comfort of a nearby and friendly safe harbor.

      Climate change will force many of us to move. Among the climate migrants will be members of my family who now live close to rising seas as well. I hope we will all find it in our hearts to give those who have lost their homes, their safety, a new place to dwell without fear of hatred or reprisal. If we’re going to make it through this mess it’s going to have to be by pulling together, by learning to not fear one another, and by embracing our differences.

      Reply
  11. – These fish kills add to food shortages as well.

    Algae and Toxins, Not Steel Mill Waste, Blamed for Vietnamese Fish Kill

    Vietnamese authorities failed to find evidence that links a huge steel plant with a massive fish kill, but they have yet to identify a cause for the catastrophe, the nation’s deputy environment minister said on Wednesday.

    While authorities have yet to discover a cause, Nanh said the main suspected culprits are a red tide and toxins generated by people.

    “There are two main reasons that may have led to the mass fish deaths,” Nhan said. “The first is due to the effects of a chemical toxin generated by people on land or sea, and the second is due to an unusual environmental phenomenon combined with peoples’ influence that causes a red tide.”

    Red tides are naturally occurring, but there is evidence that they are on the rise as they are being fueled by global warming and runoff from fertilizers and other phosphates.
    http://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/algae-and-toxins-04272016160930.html

    Reply
  12. Karl

     /  April 27, 2016

    And the 1% squeal with glee at the destruction their economic system’s wrought.

    Reply
  13. Ryan in New England

     /  April 27, 2016

    Excellent post, Robert! It seems as if no region is left unscathed, with many areas suffering through extreme hardship. Absolutely heartbreaking stuff. When the hell are we going to wake up!?

    Reply
  14. Griffin

     /  April 27, 2016

    Excellent post Robert. It reminds me of the phrase often tweeted by Dr. Peter Gleick, “If climate change is a shark, then water resources are the teeth”

    Reply
  15. Griffin

     /  April 27, 2016

    To Robert and all others. Even a novice looking at the NASA Worldview webpage can see that the Arctic sea ice is a shattered mess already in April. It will not be long before the cracks and leads crisscross the whole basin, if they are not at that stage already.
    My question is, do we have an idea of what changes in global circulation patterns that we would expect to see as a result of a “blue ocean” event in the Arctic this year? I have not seen too much discussion of the topic outside of past posts on this blog (which does not surprise me) but it sure looks like this is an event that is quite possibly on our doorstep. Is a blue ocean event one that would lead to big changes? Or would it take some time to see any real changes in global circulation? Thank you in advance to anyone that takes the time to respond. I have found myself wondering more about this every day.

    Reply
    • Continued Jet Stream weakening. Circulation that centers more on Greenland. Worsening ridge and trough elongation. Stagnant weather patterns. Greatly enhanced Greenland melt which at some point leads to its own set of dynamic changes.

      Reply
      • Griffin

         /  April 28, 2016

        Thank you Robert. It sure will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

        Reply
    • Griffin, I’m not that meteorologically savvy, but like Robert has been writing here, and Joe Romm and Peter Sinclair, I can’t see how weather patterns aren’t going to be completely changed once there’s a blue Arctic Ocean.

      Someone on the Arctic Sea Ice Forums also posted this research about an equable climate:
      http://www.seas.harvard.edu/climate/eli/research/equable/index.html

      Once idea on there about the mechanics of an equable climate is that the Hadley cells extend all the way to the pole, so weather patterns are all north south instead of east west. What made me think of that was the weakening jet stream with the increase in troughs and ridging/Rossby waves, so that we’re already currently getting more north south weather instead of east west. We could already be seeing the extension of the Hadley cells and the destruction of the polar cells.f

      I think it may have been Elon Musk, but I’m not sure who really said it, but it’s not really the average temps that are the problem, it’s the peaks that matter. If I understand that, it means that people and crops would survive ok at summer temps of 34C for example, but if the average temp is 34C, but peaks at 40C+, then it’s not just a percentage of your crop yields and economy that get lost, because whole systems just shut down. It’s no longer a function of percentages, it’s a binary operation, because all the crops and livestock (and people without AC) are dead in that area.

      Anyway, so I’m very worried that this disruption of the weather, and soon to be exacerbated by a blue Arctic Ocean, will cause unbelievable heat waves and droughts, and suffering.

      Reply
      • So the polar cell does get ripped up pretty badly once you lose a good portion of that insulating ice. In the north, the region is particularly vulnerable due to the fact that the ocean more effectively traps heat and spreads it out evenly. So the Arctic Ocean upon which the sea ice rests is receiving warming waters from the lower Latitudes. Land does not hold heat for as long as water, so it doesn’t provide the same kind of heat transfer effect. Once the ice is gone, it will tend to stay gone without other influences. That other influence, however, is rapidly ramping Greenland melt and we can expect that to ramp up along with some very severe weather disruptions in the North Atlantic in the period of time that blue ocean events occur.

        Reply
  16. Stephen

     /  April 27, 2016

    This is an important conversation. I humbly request we all think about it.

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=16215

    Peace
    Stephen

    Reply
    • I highly respect Tim for his activism and Chris for his own ardent opposition to the global forces of dominance. I would counsel against straying too far into nihilism and fatalism. One may face the darkness without embracing it.

      I also think that the opposing views within the environmental movement RE Paris are two sides of the same coin. On one side, we have those who rightfully critique Paris because it does not do enough. On the other side, we have those who rightfully praise Paris due to the fact that it’s the first time a climate conference actually committed to ending fossil fuel use and because it validated the urgent need to at least attempt the Herculean if not nigh impossible task of avoiding 1.5 to 2 C warming. Between these two valid views, I also see a valid middle ground that accepts both the conferences successes and failures and decides that the responsible action is to push for more progress. I would also warn critics whose concerns, though valid, could be used by those supporting fossil fuel interests to degrade morale and to undermine a very necessary call to action on climate change.

      If there was ever a time when we needed action, when we required the fierce urgency of now, then it is now. Straying too far into nihilism is, in its own right, irresponsible, self-indulgent, and if enough people drift that way, promotes the kind of apathy that will generate more harm, more loss of life.

      To be very clear, we’ve locked in catastrophic changes now. But we haven’t locked in all the catastrophic changes or even many of the worst. Our chances for survival, happiness, and for allowing the opportunity to work together in a benevolent manner are far longer the more emissions we prevent now. The sooner we bring about a human world that does not rely on or is addicted to those carbon emissions. This is a good goal that all of us in the movement should strive for. That and in aiding each other through what is bound to be the toughest period in our history.

      Reply
  17. labmonkey2

     /  April 28, 2016

    Similar water and energy problems in Venezuela with a recent reduction to a two day work week for public sector workers.
    —-
    Caracas,Venezuelan has imposed a two-day work week for public sector workers as a temporary measure to help it overcome a serious energy crisis.
    Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz announced that civil servants should turn up for work only on Mondays and Tuesdays until the crisis gets over, BBC reported on Wednesday.
    Venezuela is facing a major drought, which has dramatically reduced water levels at its main hydroelectric dam.
    The measures announced on national television by Isturiz affect two million public sector workers.
    “There will be no work in the public sector on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays except for fundamental and necessary tasks,” he said.

    —-
    http://news24online.com/venezuela-introduces-two-day-work-week-9/

    I wonder if the passive atmospheric water generators I’ve seen used in arid climates work in these situations to provide at least some clean water for survival.

    Reply
    • So the recent reports I’ve read RE the India situation appear to indicate that there’s enough water right now if industrial uses and some water hogging cash crops are curtailed. My sense is that a good amount of ‘industrial use’ is fossil fuel based energy generation.

      Reply
  18. Andy in SD

     /  April 28, 2016

    When combined with donor fatigue, it is a volatile mix with many victims.

    Reply
  19. Wharf Rat

     /  April 28, 2016

    Robert:
    Do you know why South Africa has its own category on the Phase 2 maps? it doesn’t in Phase 3.
    Thanks
    Rat

    Reply
    • Yeah. South Africa is unique when it comes to drought assessment. Worth noting that there’s a general tendency to downplay drought impacts.

      Reply
  20. Abel Adamski

     /  April 28, 2016

    As we slaughter our co travellers with callous disregard
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/04/27/heroic-rescue-dog-dies-after-saving-ecuador-earthquake-victims/

    Firefighters in Ecuador said a rescue dog that helped save victims trapped under rubble after this month’s devastating recent earthquake died from heatstroke while performing his duties.

    Dayko, a 4-year-old Labrador in the Ibarra fire department’s K9 unit, was part of a search-and-rescue team that has been working to find survivors following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rattled the country’s coast, about 100 miles from the capital of Quito. Officials said over the weekend that at least 654 people were killed and another 58 people were missing, according to the Associated Press.

    It was Dayko’s job to help find them.

    The fire department’s Facebook page is filled with photos showing a golden Labrador retriever crawling over and under debris, searching for survivors. Local news reports said the rescue dog saved seven people before his death.

    Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    The Greenland heatwave seems to be ebbing after today –

    Nuuk, Greenland

    Today
    High 60 | Low 35 °F

    Average

    High 32 °F – Low 26 °F

    https://www.wunderground.com/gl//nuuk/zmw:00000.1.04250

    Reply
  22. redskylite

     /  April 28, 2016

    RS thanks for this highlight of the problems facing the subcontinent and places in the firing line, this is a new sad phase, enhancement by El Nino possibly, but in no doubt is the effect of climate change. I remember a few years back deniers jeering about chicken little and the sky falling. Well the sky is falling for too many vulnerable and impoverished folks not so far away. Don’t those lives matter anymore. Do we really need to keep on exploiting more and more fossils. Maybe death is preferable to trafficking and prostitution.

    “About 330 million people, almost a quarter of the country’s population, are now affected by drought, the government estimates. Destitute women, children and older family members left behind in the villages are most at risk of exploitation.”

    http://news.trust.org/item/20160427000400-6pvc0/?source=fiHeadlineStory

    Reply
  23. redskylite

     /  April 28, 2016

    Remember deepwater horizon, apart from climate change too many lessons. So have we learned anything.?

    Seems not . . .drill baby drill continues on and on and on.

    WEST PERTH, Australia, April 27 (UPI) — Otto Energy Ltd., a company with headquarters in Australia, said it made an oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico that was productive enough to keep drilling.

    The company said it ran through columns of oil at its SM-71 well in the Gulf of Mexico and decided to deepen its drilling activity to ensure the entire targeted region will be evaluated. The cost to drill deeper, the company added, is within the original spending target.

    Matthew Allen, the company’s managing director, said he was “very encouraged” by the results so far. Otto Energy describes the prospect as part of a regional “low cost, high-chance-of-success” opportunity in the Gulf of Mexico.

    http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Industry/2016/04/27/New-oil-discovery-in-Gulf-of-Mexico/9611461757478/

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 28, 2016

      redskylite –

      I was a seismic shot driller nearly 40 years ago. If there’s one thing these boys have invested in, it’s finding more oil. In the 1930’s science took over this problem, they called these first crews “doodle buggers” , and the name has never changed. Before that, it was no more than “water witchers” with wire coat hangers.

      I remember sitting in the motel room of our chief surveyor in 1979 in Utah . And he took a cassette tape out of his in instrument, and stuck it in modem pulled into the phone jack.
      His entire field work for that day was down loaded to Denver. The geophone instruments were so good at that time they recorded sheep waking near the seismic line.

      We marvel at Hollywood and what the gamers have done. But Believe Me the oil companies have rooms we never dreamed of.

      Have ever seen the brine lake at the bottom of the Gulf –

      At the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico lies what appears to be an underwater lake. The “water” is composed of a salty brine that is heavier than the sea water it sits in while the “shore” is made up of thousands of muscles. The muscles feed on bacteria which feed on methane that seeps around the “lake”, the brine is so dense that the gas flows out of the seabed and to the shores of the lake. These are at the very deepest parts of the Gulf. There are multiple lakes like this, and the brine moves just like the waves of a body of water. Many even have rivers with trees and their own ecosystem of animals that live along the banks and in the brine.

      All of it lives off methane out gassing from the seafloor. Very deep and very cold. It is the exact opposite of the thermal vents where chemo life lives, The volcanic “smokers”. But this one is cold. and rather still.

      As the Greeks said –
      The Alpha and the Omega.

      Reply
      • redskylite

         /  April 28, 2016

        That’s interesting Colorado Bob, methane supports an ecology of it’s own. I used to work in oil exploration myself in the Empty Quarter (Arabian Desert). I loved the desert, I would think offshore drilling is technically a lot more challenging. I used to work with a team of geologists who knew a lot more about the Earth than I did. – regards redsky

        Reply
  24. Jay M

     /  April 28, 2016

    Reply
  25. wili

     /  April 28, 2016

    Thanks for the hat tip. Thanks for broadening it. There is so much suffering now from drought and heatwaves, and it is getting so little attention.

    I happen to have just been doing some one-on-one work tonight with a Somali student who is trying to find ways to raise money for her village back in Somalia and elsewhere to create or deepen wells as the drought deepens.

    And earlier today I talked with my daughter who is also working on a long research paper tracing tensions over water access and right to the rise and spread of ISIS. (If anyone has any links or studies that I could send her way, I’m sure she’d appreciate it!) ‘-)

    Thanks again for the recognition, but much more so for writing so well about these most important yet neglected inter-related issues of our time.

    Reply
    • Ailsa

       /  April 28, 2016

      Cool water, so essential but we take it so for granted. I remember when they privatized the water industry here in the UK back in the 80s, and I tried to talk to friends who were gung-ho to buy shares and cash in, when I on some gut level found the whole process abhorrent. ‘Its a natural resource, a natural right for all’ I remember arguing. They didn’t get it. They just saw an opportunity to make money. Needless to say, I don’t keep in touch with them…

      Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    “Indeed, because the challenge is so great, Climate Feedback is ramping up its efforts via a crowdfunding campaign this week. The aim is to raise enough funds to hire a scientific editor and build a “Scientific Trust Tracker,” which will aggregate the group’s ratings to assess the overall credibility of various news sources.”

    I didn’t post this for nothing. .
    No one on the web has the knowledge , or understanding , and huge research team.

    RS –
    Give this some thought.

    Reply
  27. An important topic, and probably one of the first and hardest ways that climate change will bite… in fact, that it probably already has in near-Saharan Africa and in Syria.

    However, I’m very skeptical of the first map showing India as having essentially 0 population at risk of food insecurity, especially as this is directly contradicted by the opening quote. Maybe a short caveat could be added to the caption?

    Reply
  28. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    wili

    Tell them to get a site. Tell them write write down their story, with maps and pictures. Tell them to set up a funding page linking into their site. Tell them to ask satellite guys where to drill. Have them use the simplest drills man ever invented.
    Beat it like a drum.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 28, 2016

      wili
      Tell them to get a site.

      Choose a title well. “We all running out of water in the Horn of Africa”. ain’t gonna work.

      “Somalia Needs Water” , is more to the point.

      Tell them to beat it like a drum when they set up their funding page. Tell them I once raised nearly raised 80 grand.

      Tell them that ain’t my turnip truck parked outside your house.

      Tell them I do what ever I can.

      Reply
  29. – Toxicity to Die For – Fossil Fuels and Their Crimes Against Nature

    Six years later, we’re still learning how badly the BP spill damaged the environment

    Years after the spill, scientists detected hydrocarbons from the Deepwater Horizon spill in 90 percent of pelican eggs tested in Minnesota — more than 1,000 miles away — where many birds that winter in the Gulf of Mexico spend their summers. In addition, the chemical dispersant used to break up oil in the wake of the spill was found in about 80 percent of the eggs. Researchers say that exposing bird eggs to oil can cause birth defects and premature deaths in offspring…

    Endangered sea turtles that had migrated to the Gulf from West Africa, South America and elsewhere died as a result of the spill, underscoring the global ripple effects of the disaster. About 75 percent of the sea turtles that died after the Deepwater Horizon spill were Kemp’s ridley sea turtles — among the smallest and most endangered species in the world. Scientists have estimated that four times as many Kemp’s ridley sea turtles died in 2010, about 65,000, than in the year before the oil spill.

    … “Several years after the spill, pregnant bottlenose dolphins only gave birth to healthy calves 20 percent of the time, compared to 83 percent prior to the oil spill,” the report found.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/26/six-years-later-were-still-learning-how-badly-the-bp-spill-damaged-the-environment/?postshare=9411461697081404&tid=ss_tw

    Reply
  30. Reply
    • The gyre is spinning up and this results in increased compaction, fracturing, mobility, and opening of waters in the near shore region. Seasonal consequences for sea ice can be quite dramatic.

      Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    wili’s post has set me to thinking.

    How can man drill water wells in the poorest parts of the world. Cheaply.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 28, 2016

      A really simple cheap drilling rig Like the one Drake used to fond the oil age.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  April 30, 2016

        Actually the technique the Chinese were using hundreds of years ago, they used bamboo pipes to pipe the oil and gas, they invented flame throwers for their internal wars using oil byproducts centuries ago

        Reply
  32. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    They picked it up and dropped it. Over and over again. That was the birth of our world.

    Like the buying of Alaska , …………………. Drake was seen as a fool,

    Reply
  33. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    The conservatives in our country. have never left Palin’s Porch.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 28, 2016

      “Guns don’t kill people” , well they killed the passenger pigeon something like 80 million , and the buffalo one shot at a time.

      Reply
  34. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton – Can’t Find My Way Home

    Reply
  35. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood Live From Madison Square Garden – Well All Right

    Reply
  36. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    Buddy Holly – well…all right

    Reply
  37. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    Blind Faith Well All Right

    Reply
  38. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    Hell od a song.

    Reply
  39. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    Gell of song.
    Hell of a smog.
    Hell of a song.

    Reply
  40. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    Tears for Fears – Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Full Video)

    Reply
  41. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    ” If climate change is the shark, water is the teeth. ”

    People can’t swim 24 hours day.

    Reply
  42. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    Tears for Fears – Shout (HD)

    Reply
  43. Colorado Bob

     /  April 28, 2016

    Trump is about to attack Clinton over Bill , during that time he has had 3 wives. Does he really want to go there ?

    Reply
  44. redskylite

     /  April 28, 2016

    In Siberia unusual bug attack – smelly stinky bugs. Possibly due to early forest fires or unusually warm April . .

    Pictures of the green-shaded creatures on manoeuvres across the Siberian sky have been posted on social networks. The so-far unidentified bugs have attacked buildings in the two cities and dozens of other towns but the reason for the invasion is not yet clear.

    One theory is early forest fires, an annual problem in Siberia, forcing them to change habitat. Another is unusually warm April weather.

    http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/others/news/n0655-invasion-of-siberia-by-hordes-of-stink-bugs/

    Reply
  45. We are in dire straits. Even the military says we have a national security crisis facing us due to climate change (Global Climate & Homeland Insecurity – 2).

    Reply
  46. Jean

     /  April 28, 2016

    OilmanTBoone Pickens says “Oil is Dead”…price has to be above $50/barrel..

    Reply
    • From the speculative investor point of view… He’s basically saying he won’t throw his money back into oil until the price per barrel exceeds 50 dollars. Earlier this year, he took all his money out of it. Given the volatility and given how much oil is waiting in the wings, he may be holding his money bags for a while. In all honesty, though, the wise move is to go elsewhere. We’ve got millions of EVs on the way and solar is in the process of eating diesel based power generation’s lunch. With so many protest movements blocking pipelines, pushing divestment and with a big policy push to limit emissions due to ramping climate change, it would seem that the era of growth in the oil industry is coming to an end. A wise investor would get out before the crowd.

      Reply
  47. “researchers have repeatedly predicted a greater frequency and intensity of extremes as global temperatures rise. The Canadian study, however, identifies regions at risk, and adds urgency to the research.”

    “The Mediterranean, Sahara, large parts of Asia and the Western US and Canada will be among the first regions for which hot summers will become the norm,” they conclude, “and this will occur within the next one to two decades.”

    Note last sentence, these things are not happening in the distant future (
    as those of us here are painfully aware of)

    From truthdig where the comments are generally not anxiety/anger inducing and many are worth reading:

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/summer_swelter_will_be_no_joy_for_americans_20160428

    Reply
  48. Greg

     /  April 28, 2016

    Hell or High Water. Flash Flood Emergency Declared Along Gulf Coast; Biloxi, Gulfport Residents Told to Stay Home. Parts of the area received nearly 10 inches of rain in just a few hours Thursday morning.
    https://weather.com/safety/floods/news/southeast-gulf-coast-flooding

    Reply
    • The storms are rolling in one right after the other right now. Very good example of cells in train. Gotta be pretty rough on the ground there.

      Reply
    • Greg

       /  April 28, 2016

      “You don’t need a strong frontal system, surface low, or jet stream to produce these small-scale flash flood events. In many cases, the weaker, more stagnant and slower the features are, the better for flooding.”
      Posted 1 hour ago

      Flash Flood Emergency for Southern Harrison County.

      The National Weather Service in New Orleans has issued a Flash Flood Warning for: Southern Harrison County in southeastern Mississippi.

      Until 11:15 AM CDT.
      At 9:19 AM CDT, emergency management officials reported thunderstorms producing Heavy Rain across the warned area. Rainfall amounts between 5 and 12 inches of rain have fallen. Numerous water rescues are underway. This is a Flash Flood Emergency for all of the southern half of Harrison County. This is a particularly dangerous situation. Seek Higher Ground Now!.
      Some locations that will experience flooding include: Gulfport, Biloxi, Long Beach, St. Martin, D`iberville, Lyman and Gulfport Airport. Additional rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are possible in the warned area.

      Recommended actions

      Move to higher ground now. This is an extremely dangerous and Life-threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.

      Reply
  49. June

     /  April 28, 2016

    I can’t remember if this article was linked to before.

    Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160427150914.htm

    “A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study.”

    Reply
  50. Greg

     /  April 28, 2016

    One more influential analyst comes on board: “I Was Wrong About the Limits of Solar. PV Is Becoming Dirt Cheap. Harvard’s David Keith revisits his assumptions about solar costs: “Facts have changed…Looking even further ahead, if we want a stable climate, humanity must bring net carbon emissions to zero. And, if we hope for a prosperous world with ample energy that can raise standards of living for the poor, then energy demand will more than double, growing to beyond 30 terawatts.”
    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/i-was-wrong-about-the-economic-limitations-of-solar-power

    Reply
  51. Reply
  52. Thanks again for these articles Robert, and facing into the darkness and not succumbing to it.

    I know Egypt is lumped under the Middle East right now, but I think they’ll be in real trouble really soon. Since most of their food production comes from the Nile delta, which is sinking because of the dam limiting the silt and because they’re pumping ground water, it won’t take much sea level rise to wipe out the majority of Egypt’s food production.

    If Syria destabilizing because of a drought and poor water management threatens to destabilize the Middle East, think what happens when that happens to Egypt?

    http://www.newsweek.com/2015/11/27/egypts-nile-river-delta-sinking-sea-394268.html

    Reply
  53. – USA – Santa Barbara, CA – from a senior TV news reporter.
    I post this for the irony. SB being a modern American city most averse to ‘bad’ news — SB being my adult ‘hometown’ which I fled due to the inability of civil government and civic society to to protect itself and its citizens from air pollution and climate change despite the evidence I offered them. The local media, as a matter of course, is all ‘happy faces’.

    – SB’s main water source is at about 14% capacity, now they are having a string of windy days after the local airport, next to the ocean, had new April hot temp. records of (I believe) 85 F. (Maybe in Aug but not April.)
    – The irony and disconnect:

    Reply
  54. Robert in New Orleans

     /  April 28, 2016

    Extreme weather resulting in flash flooding in coastal Mississippi:

    http://www.nola.com/weather/index.ssf/2016/04/flood_gulfport_biloxi_mississi.html#incart_river_home_pop

    Reply
  55. mlparrish

     /  April 28, 2016

    Making situations worse:

    Fields are ablaze in Bangladesh, as farmers struggle to contain Asia’s first outbreak of a fungal disease that periodically devastates crops in South America. Plant pathologists warn that wheat blast could spread to other parts of south and southeast Asia, and are hurrying to trace its origins.
    http://www.nature.com/news/devastating-wheat-fungus-appears-in-asia-for-first-time-1.19820

    No mention of any relation to climate, but the fungus likes hot and humid.

    Reply

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