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Ed Webb

Desert Cucumbers: The Sahara Forest Project Comes to Tunisia - Tunisialive - 0 views

  • A $30 million, high-tech agricultural facility covering 10 hectares in the desert in Tunisia’s south is scheduled to open in 2018. The facility, which is a highly sophisticated green house, will use solar energy to power its operations and seawater to irrigate crops and maintain humidity. The extracted salt from the seawater will also be sold commercially.
  • hoped to be a new environmental solution to create green jobs through profitable production of food, water, clean electricity and biomass in desert areas. The first pilot project opened in Qatar in December 2012, and another facility will be launched in Jordan later this year
  • Although there are no numbers or estimates available for Tunisia yet, the Qatar facility directly employs 6,000 people, with a further support staff of 30,000. Tunisian unemployment is estimated around 15 percent countrywide and even higher among young college graduates
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  • It has also become increasingly difficult to maintain a stable agricultural output as the country faces droughts and floods due to climate change
  • 1 percent of Tunisia’s energy supply is based on renewable energy sources, but the Tunisian government has pledged to increase that number to 30 percent by 2030
Ed Webb

Jordan turns to wind power in search of renewable energy - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the... - 0 views

  • Tafila wind farm was granted around $221 million worth of loans to fund this project from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) — the World Bank’s investment institution in the private sector. The European Investment Bank (EIB), the Eksport Kredit Fonden, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the Europe Arab Bank and the Capital Bank of Jordan also participated in financing the project. The participation of international finance institutions such as OFID, IFC and EIB guarantees the project’s transparency in contracting and covering necessary expenses, in addition to providing loans and abiding by environmental policies. These institutions give out loans based on the project’s economic feasibility
  • imported energy currently represents around 90% of the total consumption in the country
  • import of energy costs Jordan more than 40% of its yearly budget
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  • It is well known that Jordan has suffered a lot from the blockage of Egyptian natural gas supply through the Arab gas pipeline, as a result of the constant bombing of the pumping station of al-Arish during the past few years
Ed Webb

Petro-aggression: How Russia's oil makes war more likely - 0 views

  • A Russian natural gas embargo is a trick that can probably only be pulled once (not unlike the 1973 oil embargo).  So in a sense, European dependence on Russian energy does not imply short-term vulnerability – except that European policymakers’ perceptions of vulnerability can become its own reality.
  • Russia’s resource curse.  Russia’s energy revenues (from both oil and gas) have ensconced Vladimir Putin as an autocrat and given him a free hand in foreign policy.  Russia is so heavily dependent on its energy revenues that it is a classic petrostate, making it more susceptible to corruption, autocracy and violent conflict.
  • Russia’s incursion into Crimea can be seen as a close cousin of petro-aggression.  A state is more likely to instigate international conflict when it has a combination of (a) oil income and (b) a leader with aggressive preferences.  A lot more likely: 250 percent more military conflict than a typical non-petrostate, on average.  Oil income means more military spending, increasing the state’s scope for potential conflicts.  Even more importantly, it distorts the domestic politics of the state, reducing the leader’s domestic political risk from military adventurism and aggressive foreign policy.
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  • Here lies the real risk of Europe’s energy situation: So long as it continues to buy Russian oil and gas, it is sending massive amounts of cash to a neighboring dictator.  By keeping the taps on, Putin consolidates his power as Russian dictator.
  • Diversifying away from fossil fuels would bring security benefits (in addition to some obvious environmental ones), in part by reducing the money sent to petrostates like Russia.
Ed Webb

Simon Dalby, 400ppm: Anthropocene Geopolitics | Society and Space - Environment and Pla... - 1 views

  • Humanity is remaking the biosphere; producing the new natures in which the human future will play out. Hence the now widespread use of the term Anthropocene for the period of planetary history in which the dominant ecological force is humanity, or more precisely, fossil fueled industrial capitalist humanity.
  • Natural environments are no longer in any meaningful sense the given context for human existence; they are being remade by land use changes, urbanization and by both technologies and species moved and recombined in numerous artificial assemblages. Atlases with their designations of planetary biomes frequently need replacement with a dynamic cartography charting the changing “anthromes” that are the new terrestrial ecological patterns that matter.
  • Globalization now has to be understood as a process of material transformation quite as much as a matter of trade, culture and politics crossing frontiers. The processes whereby business decisions are made to produce particular products by using certain technologies is key to understanding the future of the planet; economic geography has become essential to geomorphology.
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  • The Westphalian political imaginary of separate competing territorial states is a spatial arrangement singularly unsuited to the collective tasks ahead, but it is the institutional context within which we have to act.
Ed Webb

NASA - NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East - 1 views

  • during a seven-year period beginning in 2003 that parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran along the Tigris and Euphrates river basins lost 117 million acre feet (144 cubic kilometers) of total stored freshwater. That is almost the amount of water in the Dead Sea. The researchers attribute about 60 percent of the loss to pumping of groundwater from underground reservoirs
  • "GRACE data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India," said Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at UC Irvine. "The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws."
  • the Iraqi government drilled about 1,000 wells in response to the 2007 drought, a number that does not include the numerous private wells landowners also very likely drilled
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  • "The Middle East just does not have that much water to begin with, and it's a part of the world that will be experiencing less rainfall with climate change," said Famiglietti. "Those dry areas are getting dryer. The Middle East and the world's other arid regions need to manage available water resources as best they can."
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