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Food And Water Shortages Are Closer Than You Think

By James Donahue

A shocking 2007 report by a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that global warming will bring extreme water and food shortages affecting billions of people by the year 2080 if the problem is not solved quickly. From events over the three years since that report was issued, we believe the crisis may be upon us already.

The report, published by an Australian newspaper in advance of a planned IPCC meeting in Paris, warned that as global temperatures rise, potable drinking water will no longer meet world needs, large areas of farmland will turn to desert, and rising sea levels will flood millions of homes, forcing people to move into the dry arid lands farther inland.

Indeed, these things already are coming to pass and that report was issued only three years ago. Also intensifying has been extreme weather change, including severely hot summers, severely cold winters and intense storms bringing flooding, high winds and general destruction across the land. Large areas of once prime farmland have been victims of desertification as world weather patterns change.

An estimated 500 experts attended that Paris meeting to discuss the impact of global warming and the social-economic costs of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases that are blamed for the radical climate changes going on before our eyes.

Average global temperatures have already risen about 0.7 to 0.8 degrees since 1900, according to the report. At 2 to 3 degrees above 1900 levels, the report predicts the possible collapse of South America's Amazon forest system and a massive loss of biodiversity.

Worst hit among the people on our already overpopulated planet will be the poorest nations. The coastal flooding will devastate low-lying countries like Bangladesh and many Pacific islands, as well as parts of Mississippi and Louisiana, southern Florida, the Netherlands, and other areas where people live next to the sea and behind protective barriers.

While the IPCC report may be shocking to some, we maintain that it does not reveal enough. What it appears to describe are events that already are beginning to happen as extreme changes in climate, drought, flooding and storms sweep our planet. The water and food shortages are already here. People in some parts of the world are dying by the millions for lack of food and water. Where water is in short supply, people are dying from diseases caused by drinking bad water.

Large areas of China have been turning to desert as that nation struggles to save its farmland and put a cap on population growth and air pollution. The American southwest also is suffering from a dry period that some say rivals the great dust bowl of the 1920s. Many worry that acres of land now used for raising cattle will soon turn to desert if the rains don't return soon.

The hurricane seasons in recent years, and the flooding from the storm surges, have been so severe that insurance companies are no longer willing to insure homes in the danger zones along the Gulf Coast. This has become a crisis for homeowners who must have home insurance before a bank will mortgage property. The writing may already be on the wall for people in these coastal areas.

While the media has been telling us about it, the conflicts raging in the Middle East, especially between Israel and the Palestinians, have mostly been over water. There isn't much water and the Israelis have laid claim to most of what is available.

Our overpopulated world already is poised to go to war over the last remaining natural resources, which include not only potable water, but timber, oil, prime farmland and minerals. We have a volatile situation in which we have too many people living in a lot of different nations, all of them struggling for their share of the spoils.