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from MacroScope:

El Niño may not give Brazil much to worry about on food prices

File photo of loaded soybean truck for BRAZIL SOY.

Now that Brazilian food prices are finally settling down, it looks like El Niño will strike back in a couple of months to throw the world's weather into disarray.

Bad news for Brazil's Finance Minister, Guido Mantega?

Not necessarily.

It could just as easily be a blessing, economists say. The changes in climate patterns caused by warmer Pacific waters could actually be a boon for Brazilian soy and corn producers while not necessarily disrupting other crops.

It is not clear yet if the El Niño phenomenon will happen this year - the odds are high at about 70 percent, according to the U.S. and Australian weather agencies.

But Brazil's recent streak of bad luck in its fight against inflation has allowed many to question whether another shock might be brewing, just as the country recovered from a dry spell that sent food prices soaring and raised the threat of energy and water rationing.

from The Great Debate:

The bill for climate change is coming due

Americans have just endured one of the coldest winters in memory, so global warming may not be on their radar. But a new U.N. panel report has just refocused the public debate on a problem some scientists call the greatest threat facing the world.

There is trouble ahead for global agriculture, warns the influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, if measures are not taken quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The panel, which synthesizes the findings of thousands of peer-reviewed studies every seven years, has issued a report card on the state of the planet.

from Photographers' Blog:

Fishing and firearms on Lake Turkana

Lake Turkana, Kenya

By Siegfried Modola

When Simon Choko goes out fishing on Kenya’s lake Turkana, he brings a gun as well as a net.

In the drought-stricken corner of northwestern Kenya, the native Turkana community to which Choko belongs is involved in deadly conflict with rivals from across the border in neighboring Ethiopia, as the poor populations compete for dwindling food.

from The Human Impact:

India’s drought: A natural calamity or a man-made one?

It's that "Will they? Won't they?" time of year in India. The annual monsoon season is due and - given that the country's mostly rain-fed agriculture makes up 15 percent of gross domestic product, with hundreds of millions of Indians dependent on it - these rains are a serious business.

Before its onset in June, right through the end of the season in September, we track the monsoon's trajectory, pore over data, question forecasters, speak to pundits - all in hope of getting an accurate analysis on whether India will receive timely and adequate rainfall.

from The Human Impact:

“Urinating in dams” to solve India’s drought? Minister faces backlash

As India's western state of Maharashtra reels from the worst drought in over four decades and millions of people face the risk of hunger, a top official has sparked outrage with a crass, insensitive joke that he should urinate in the region's empty dams to solve water shortages.

Ajit Pawar, deputy chief minister of Maharashtra and former irrigation minister, referred in a speech last weekend to a poor drought-hit farmer who had been on hunger strike for almost two months to demand more water.

from Photographers' Blog:

A place that even the rain has abandoned

Across the drought-stricken states of Brazil

By Lunae Parracho

As white dust follows your car along dirt roads that cut through a maze of dry arteries while the burning sun dries out your skin, you realize that the wilderness is all around you.

A meek, skinny cow stares intently at everyone passing by, as if some stranger might bring it water or food. Starving goats roam here and there, chewing on dry twigs and looking for something to drink.

from Photographers' Blog:

Stormy skies over dry land

By Jeff Tuttle

As a journalist I try to approach each assignment with an open mind as to what I might see and hear to help tell that particular story with my camera.

I am a native Kansan, so I know my state very well and when Reuters approached me about shooting the current drought I jumped at the chance and accepted the assignment. Knowing that the two wetlands in central Kansas were almost dry I figured that would be the best place to start.

from The Great Debate UK:

When national disasters go global

Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell are founding directors of the Center for Climate and Security. This blog first appeared on the center website. The opinions expressed are their own.

** This post is part of AlertNet’s special report on water: The Battle for Water

from The Human Impact:

Architects seek funding for Namibia sandbag igloos

Are sandbag igloos the key to solving housing problems in dry regions?

Architects Nicola Du Pisanie of Stonewood Design and Ross McDonald of Alison Brooks Architects discuss a proposed project to build sandbag, or super adobe, igloo homes in the Namibian desert during a London Festival of Architecture talk at the Building Centre in London.

The geometrical domes are made with sandbags and barbed wire and then plastered for protection. They are not difficult to construct and they are wind and earthquake resistant, according to Du Pisanie and McDonald.

from Photographers' Blog:

Mauritania’s parched earth

By Susana Vera

There’s one thing I always do upon returning from a work trip. As soon as I leave my camera bag and suitcase on the floor I jump into the shower. I like having the water run down my face for a few minutes. I find it both relaxing and cleansing.

I never think much about how much water I’m using, I just tell myself that I “need” it, that I have a “right” to indulge after a long journey. I play around with the water temperature until I get it to that state where it’s neither too hot, nor too cold. After I finish, I head to the kitchen and make myself some food. That’s the same thing I did two days ago when I returned from Mauritania. But contrary to my habit in theses circumstances, I took a navy shower. I let the water run down my body just long enough to rinse the shampoo and soap off. The whole process took less than two minutes. Ten days in drought-stricken Mauritania photographing people rationing every bit of this precious and scarce resource are responsible for that change of heart.

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