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GRUPO ÁGUAS DO BRASIL ASSUME OFICIALMENTE CONTROLE DA COMPANHIA DE ÁGUAS E ESGOTO DE NOVA FRIBURGO (Brazil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 26, 2009

26/01/2009

A Voz da Serra

PUBLISHED BY ‘A VOZ DA SERRA’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘A VOZ DA SERRA’

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, BRASIL, CIDADES, COMÉRCIO - BRASIL, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, FUSÕES E/OU INCORPORAÇÕES EMPRESARIAIS, INDÚSTRIAS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INFRAESTRUTURA - BRASIL, INTERNATIONAL, O PODER EXECUTIVO MUNICIPAL, ORÇAMENTO MUNICIPAL, OS PREFEITOS, POLÍTICA REGIONAL, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, SANEAMENTO BÁSICO, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VEREADORES, WATER | Leave a Comment »

WATER: CALIFORNIA CITIES, AGRICULTURE COMPETE FOR PRECIOUS, DWINDLING RESOURCE (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

by Jonah Owen Lamb – Merced Sun-Star

PUBLISHED BY ‘McCLATHY NEWSPAPERS’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘McCLATHY NEWSPAPERS’ (USA)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA, WATER | Leave a Comment »

WILL GEOENGINEERING INNOVATIONS SOLVE GLOBAL WARMING?

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 25, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

by Mike Lyons – Special to the Daily News

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PALM BEACH DAILY NEWS’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PALM BEACH DAILY NEWS’ (USA)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GLOBAL WARMING, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA, WATER | Leave a Comment »

ECOLOGISTS WARN THE PLANET IS RUNNING SHORT OF WATER

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 22, 2009

January 22, 2009

by Leo Lewis in Tokyo

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE TIMES’ (UK)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, WATER | Leave a Comment »

ALBERTA ORDERS OIL SANDS FIRMS TO CUT WATER USE (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 21, 2009

January 20, 2009 at 6:21 PM EST

The Canadian Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE AND MAIL’ (Canada)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GLOBE AND MAIL’ (Canada)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GLOBAL WARMING, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INTERNATIONAL, NATURAL GAS, PETROL, POLLUTION, RECESSION, REFINERIES - PETROL/BIOFUELS, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WATER | Leave a Comment »

CABINET COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC AFFAIRS CLEARS DESAL PLANT FOR CHENNAI (India)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 9, 2009

January 5-11, 2009

PM News Bureau

PUBLISHED BY ‘PROJECTS MONITOR’ (India)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘PROJECTS MONITOR’ (India)

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WATER | Leave a Comment »

MPIC SELLING 51% STAKE IN LANDCO (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 7, 2009

02:51:00 01/07/2009

by Elizabeth Sanchez-Lacson – Philippine Daily Inquirer

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER’

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PHILIPPINES, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WATER | Leave a Comment »

MIDDLE CLASS STILL NOT SOLD ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 22, 2008

December 20, 2008

Stephen Lunn – Social Affairs Writer – THE AUSTRALIAN

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

Posted in AUSTRALIA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, RECESSION, WATER | Leave a Comment »

KUWAIT TAKES SWIPE AT ISRAELI RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN PALESTINE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 10, 2008

Monday, December 6th, 2008

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ARAB TIMES’ (Kuwait)

GENEVA, Dec 6, (KUNA): Kuwait condemned late Friday Israel’s human rights violations in Palestinian territories and its failure to include these violations in the reports submitted to the international community. This came during an interjection by Kuwait’s permanent mission to the UN in Geneva, made by Councellor Najib Al-Bader, during a work-team session of the Universal Periodic Review stemming from the Human Rights Council, tasked with reviewing a report submitted by Israel. Al-Bader said the report was void of any indication at the legal rights of the Palestinian people and overlooked all resolutions of the Human Rights Council and other international agencies.

He added that Israelis denied the Palestinians the right to determine their fate despite the fact that this right had been acknowledged by the UN’s Security Council and General Assembly, as well as the International Court of Justice and Israel itself. The Kuwaiti diplomat emphasized that enabling the Palestinians to determine their fate and establish an independent state on territories occupied since 1967 would provide basic guarantees for boosting human rights and consolidating global peace and security. He called for including a recommendation pertaining to this issue in the report.

Moreover, Al-Bader noted the suffering of Arab prisoners in Israeli jails, whom he said were held under harsh circumstances, while also speaking of the deteriorating health conditions of those hailing from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights held in Israeli prisons. He called for issuing a recommendation in the report over the importance of implementing all resolutions of the Human Rights Council related to the release of Syrian prisoners held in Israeli jails and ending occupation of the Golan Heights. The Universal Period Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN member states once every four years. The UPR is a state-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each state to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.

Meanwhile, Kuwait deplored late Friday all acts of piracy and armed robberies against the ships off the Somali coast and urged the international community to join forces to eradicate the scourge. Addressing the General Assembly as it met to discuss the “Oceans and the Law of the Sea,” Kuwaiti diplomat Mohammed Al-Zo’bi emphasized the importance Kuwait attaches to the subject of oceans and the law of the sea. He said he was concerned at the increase in piracy and armed robberies against ships, specifically the recent hijacking of the Saudi tanker off the coast of Somalia, and stated that such activity threatened trade and maritime navigation, and jeopardized the lives of the crews on board.

In that regard, he commended the Security Council for its adoption of resolution 1864 earlier this month, which focused on strengthening global efforts to combat piracy off Somalia’s coast and expanding the mandate of state and regional organizations working with Somali officials towards that goal. He said that protecting the marine environment and its natural resources was also of utmost importance to Kuwait and called for a more integrative approach to expanded research and measures aimed at preserving the biodiversity of oceans and seas from the impact of manmade and natural climate change.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ARAB TIMES’ (Kuwait)

Posted in CARGO PIRACY, ENVIRONMENT, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, ISRAEL, KUWAIT, PALESTINE, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA, WATER | Leave a Comment »

SUPER SUSTAINABILITY – CAN YOUR SUPER FUND SAVE THE WORLD?

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 5, 2008

Last Updated – December 04th 2008

by John Kavanagh

PUBLISHED BY ‘CORPORATE CITIZEN’ (Australia)

Blair Comley wants people in the investment community to change the way they think about the Australian Government’s climate change policy. With over $1 trillion sitting in Australian superannuation funds, the scope for changing the investment landscape is huge. Even a subtle shift in investment decisions by the managers of this capital could go a long way to unlocking some of this money and, in turn, help to achieve those policy goals.

BLAIR Comley, deputy secretary of the Department of Climate Change, believes companies and investors have become obsessed with the detail and have lost the big picture. They worry about how much a tonne of carbon emissions will cost in the new emissions trading scheme. They worry about how quickly the limits on carbon emissions will be adjusted. They worry about whether they will qualify for compensation and how much they will be entitled to receive. And investors in particular will worry about how many percentage points to knock off their earnings forecasts for polluters.

Comley finds this thinking understandable but narrow. After all, he says, achieving a low carbon economy is a major reform, a structural transformation of the economy. One estimate of the amount of investment required to build clean power generation facilities in Australia to meet the Government’s goals over the coming decade is upwards of $40 billion. The opportunities for investment in infrastructure are enormous.

The other thing that surprises Comley is how impatient business is over the issue, especially the investment community. Speaking at a climate change conference in Sydney in October, he reminded his audience of mostly financial services industry professionals that economic reform is usually a graduated process. Using the example of tariff reform, a major micro-economic policy launched by the Hawke Government in the 1980s, he said it was part of the socio-economic compact to spread the burden of reform by bringing in change over a number of years.

And it is not just a matter of spreading cost in an equitable way. The government knows it risks causing serious damage to the Australian economy if it gets things wrong. One risk factor is leakage – companies moving their polluting activities to economies where the rules are less stringent to avoid having a price and a cap put on their carbon emissions.

The issue of climate change has taken on a great deal of importance for investment managers following the release in July of the Government green paper on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, and the Garnaut recommendations on emissions reductions. Both papers contain proposals that will have an impact on earnings, costs and investment programs for a wide range of Australian businesses over the coming decade, and both papers put forward a number of options.

The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, also known as an emissions trading scheme, will set a price on a tonne of carbon emissions and determine which companies are included in the scheme and how they are to report their emissions. It will set up a compensation scheme and it will exempt certain industries (see breakout).

The Garnaut paper sets out the blueprint for emissions reduction and, in the process, points to the type of investment that will need to be made in renewable energy, transport, water systems and more.

The Government will publish a white paper in December and most analysts are waiting until then before they start drawing conclusions about how the investment markets will be affected by all of this.

Comley is right in thinking that the investment community is obsessed with detail and short-term issues. Respondents to a survey of fund managers conducted for Corporate Citizen by the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR) found that they were near-unanimous in saying they were not prepared to make investment decisions around climate change issues until they had a clear picture of the rules and the regulatory framework for the Government’s proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme.

It is those investment managers, analysts and asset consultants not ready to invest in climate change who are guiding the asset allocation decisions of the country’s biggest investors – the superannuation funds. Typical of the response is this comment from Elaine Prior, a senior analyst at Citi Investment Research: “Very clearly, we need a regulatory environment that allows change solutions to become economically viable. At the moment we have a lot of talk about climate change solutions and carbon emissions and so on but we don’t have a regulatory authority. And given that a lot of the things that will cut emissions will cost a lot of money, there needs to be that regulation to act as a catalyst for investment.”

Some specialist managers, however, report that they are finding investment opportunities. The managing director of Australian Ethical Investments, Anne O’Donnell, says an area where strong investor demand is emerging is for green commercial buildings. Community awareness of where energy savings can be made in buildings is relatively high and, as a result, tenants want to move into them and institutions want them in their portfolios.

Helga Birgden, head of responsible investment for the Asia Pacific at Mercer, says superannuation fund trustees with experience in investing in the agribusiness sector are starting to ask about how the issue of carbon sequestration fits into investment in the sector.

Managers in the small, specialist funds groups say the attention of large funds management groups has been caught by the imminent introduction of a system that will put a price on carbon emissions and have a direct impact on the earnings of many of the big companies in which they invest. But, like Comley, they see this as a very narrow focus. They need to look at renewables such as wind, which has demonstrated its viability already, consumer products that will assist households reduce their energy consumption, carbon capture technology, and suppliers to the public transport sector.

But the investment management industry is dominated by large financial institutions and they are fundamentally conservative organisations. Many of them have adopted standards such as UNPRI, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing, or ESG (environmental, social and governance) but they tend to use these metrics as overlays for making adjustments to their mainstream equity and fixed interest portfolios. In other words, they might reduce their portfolio weighting to steelmaker Bluescope if it shows up as a bigger polluter than OneSteel. What they are not doing is investing in clean energy start-ups or other businesses with a direct stake in climate change.

What many of the managers argue is that their mandate is to invest conservatively on behalf of people who are committing funds to their retirement savings. It is not their job to take risks on new ventures. And they also argue that the biggest impact of climate change policy will come from changes that big companies make to their business practices.

Survey respondent John Guadagnuolo, an investment manager at Portfolio Partners, says: “For instance, you might decide to invest in a company that participates in a process to capture carbon from coal-fired power stations. You are taking on significant risk because you are betting the carbon price will be high enough to pay off that investment. As a fund manager we might like low emissions or sustainability to be present in a company that we invest in but it’s not a deciding factor. If there’s too much risk it’s not something we can get into.”

Unspoken in all of this is the fear that investment managers have of being caught up in the next bubble, and the reputational damage that would follow. In 2000 the fund manager BT launched a fund called the BT TIME Fund. It was set up to invest in technology and new media and, coming on the crest of the dotcom wave, it was one of the most successful retail investment product launches ever. The wave crashed soon after and the BT fund has been a chronic underachiever ever since. It has reported an average annual loss of 14.5 per cent a year since its launch. No investment manager wants to be associated with such disasters and, in the case of clean technology, managers fear there are too many unknowns. Some investment managers say there has already been something of a bubble around biofuels and that the sector represents more hype than substance.

Some commentators argue that one reason there are too many unknowns is that the investment management industry has been slow to equip itself with the expertise that would allow it to make informed investment decisions in the sector. In October this year, the Financial Services Institute of Australia (Finsia) released the findings of a study it had undertaken with Griffith University Business School, looking into the preparedness of the financial services industry to respond to climate change and its capacity to do so. Like the ACCSR, it found that regulatory uncertainty was the biggest road block for investors, along with a perception that investment in emerging climate change technologies involved excessive risk and low returns.

But it also found that there was a lack of expertise, skills and knowledge about climate change throughout the industry. Finsia chief executive Martin Fahy says most investment managers were prepared to admit their engagement with the issue was inadequate and that there was a lack of leadership within their organisations pushing for change.

Some investment managers are prepared to concede this. Colonial First State head of sustainability and responsible investment, Amanda McClusky, says: “There’s a gap around education. The traditional training for an analyst is a finance degree and most of the education that analysts get does not include sustainability issues and, more broadly, social issues, reputation tracking, human capital and some corporate governance factors.”

The consensus among investment managers in the ACCSR survey was that in five or 10 years time climate change and sustainability will be mainstream investment issues. It took about 10 years for corporate governance to move from the fringe, where a handful of investment managers paid attention to issues of board independence, fair remuneration policies and transparency, to a situation today where investment managers are asked to justify why they don’t vote on director elections and remuneration proposals.

In the meantime, the field will have to be developed by a handful of specialists. One such specialist is Sean Wiles, an investment manager at CVC Sustainable Investments, a venture capital fund that aims to increase Australian private investment in renewable energy and enabling technologies through the provision of equity finance. (Funding is provided under the Australian Greenhouse Office’s Renewable Energy Equity Fund licence as well as from private sources.) Wiles reports that his fund has been investing in emerging Queensland gas producers such as Blue Energy. While gas is not exactly clean, it produces about 40 per cent of the carbon emissions of coal and receives favourable ESG scores from fund managers for that reason.

Wiles says he has trouble getting good research from brokers and investment bankers but has, nevertheless, been able to put together a portfolio of stocks in areas such as renewable energy, waste management and water. It all sounds great until you see the numbers: CVC has a mere $400 million invested across four funds.

In the end, it seems that a mix of strong, sound government policy as well as strong impetus from super clients is what is needed to shift money into climate-aware investment strategies. As Guadagnuolo says, “At the end of the day we’re a fund manager, not a venture capital firm. That makes a difference to how we see things. It’s not our job to develop new technologies, it’s our role to invest our clients’ money as we see prudent. As a venture capital firm you have much higher approval from your investors to take on risk.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CORPORATE CITIZEN’ (Australia)

Posted in AEOLIC, AGRICULTURE, AUSTRALIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, BIOFUELS, BIOMASS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HEALTH SAFETY, HYDROGEN - FUEL CELLS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MACROECONOMY, NATURAL GAS, RECESSION, RECYCLING INDUSTRIES, REFINERIES - PETROL/BIOFUELS, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOLAR, SOLAR CELLS INDUSTRIES, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, WATER | 1 Comment »

FARMERS QUIT FIGHT OVER LAKE (New Zealand)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 5, 2008

4:00AM Friday Dec 05, 2008

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD’

Federated Farmers will not appeal against the Environment Court decision confirming Waikato Regional View of Lake Taupo, New Zealand in 2001Council moves to protect Lake Taupo from “dirty dairying” and other farming run-off.

The court recently upheld the council’s “Lake Taupo variation” to its regional plan, and Federated Farmers said at the time it was likely to appeal.

The council’s variation imposes controls on farms arounf Lake Taupo in a bid to protect the lake from nitrogen run-off, setting a precedent for capping nutrient applications in other regions.

Federated Farmers has been a strong critic of making farming a controlled activity under the Resource Management Act.

Yesterday, it said its decision not to appeal was “taken with a heavy heart” after legal advice.

“The implications of the Environment Court decision is gut-wrenching for the farmers affected,” said Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson.

He claimed the court decision should have no implications for other regions.

“If other councils think about using this decision in their plans, the federation is ready for a major fight.”

The previous Government said some unacceptable trends such as pollution and nutrient run-off needed to be reversed to improve and protect special places such as Lake Taupo, the Rotorua lakes and Lake Ellesmere.

A regional plan to protect Lake Taupo from the effects of nitrogen run-off from farms proposes spending $82 million to reduce the levels of nitrogen running into the lake by 20 per cent over the next 15 years.

Capping the amount of nitrogen farmers can lose from their land would mean each farmer could be given a nitrogen allocation in proportion to their land’s present losses.

Some farmers may have to reduce stocking rates and may need to remove stock over the winter months, when animal wastes are most likely to contaminate water.

Mr Nicolson said there was too much emphasis on environmental sustainability in the RMA and not enough on economic issues.

“This decision under the RMA gives councils around Taupo the mandate to dictate stock levels, wiping thousands off the value of each hectare,” he said.

Federated Farmers’ Ruapehu president Lyn Neeson and Rotorua/Taupo president Gifford McFadden will meet farmers on December 16.

Farms in the region are on light, porous soils and regulators are concerned that nutrient run-off is worsening degradation of the lake’s water quality.

– NZPA

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD’

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, INTERNATIONAL, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, NEW ZEALAND, WATER | Leave a Comment »

QATAR LOOKS TO GROW FOOD IN KENYA -THE GULF STATE HAS JOINED A GROWING LIST OF RICH COUNTRIES THAT WANT TO GROW FOOD IN POOR COUNTRIES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 5, 2008

Tuesday December 2 2008 16.58 GMT

Xan Rice in Nairobi – guardian.co.uk

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Qatar has asked Kenya to lease it 40,000 hectares of land to grow crops as part of a proposed package that would also see the Gulf state fund a new £2.4bn port on the popular tourist island of Lamu off the east African country.

The deal is the latest example of wealthy countries and companies trying to secure food supplies from the developing world.

Other Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have also been negotiating leases of large tracts of farmland in countries such as Sudan and Senegal since the global food shortages and price rises earlier this year.

The Kenyan president, Mwai Kibaki, returned from a visit to Qatar on Monday. His spokesman said the request for land in the Tana river delta, south of Lamu, in north-east Kenya was being seriously considered.

“Nothing comes for free,” said Isaiah Kabira. “If you want people to invest in your country then you have to make concessions.”

But the deal is likely to cause concern in Kenya where fertile land is unequally distributed. Several prominent political families own huge tracts of farmland, while millions of people live in densely packed slums.

The country is also experiencing a food crisis, with the government forced to introduce subsidies and price controls on maize this week after poor production and planning caused the price of the staple “ugali” flour to double in less than a year.

Kibaki said that Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was keen to invest in a second port to complement Mombasa, which serves as a gateway for goods bound for Uganda and Rwanda and is struggling to cope with the large volumes of cargo.

By building docks in Lamu, Kenya hopes to open a new trade corridor that will give landlocked Ethiopia and the autonomous region of Southern Sudan access to the Indian Ocean. Kabira said that if the financing was agreed, construction of the port would begin in 2010.

Qatar, which has large oil and gas revenues, imports most of its food, as most of its land is barren desert and just 1% is suitable for arable farming. It has already reportedly struck deals this year to grow rice in Cambodia, maize and wheat in Sudan and vegetables in Vietnam.

Much of the produce will be exported to the Gulf. Qatar’s foreign ministry in Doha did not return calls today, but Kabira said that its intention was to grow “vegetables and fruit” in Kenya.

The area proposed for the farming project is near the Tana river delta where the Kenyan government owns nearly 500,000 hectares (1.3m acres) of uncultivated land.

But a separate agreement to allow a local company to grow sugarcane and build a factory in the area has attracted fierce opposition from environmentalists who say a pristine ecosystem of mangrove swamps, savannah and forests will be destroyed.

Pastoralists, who regard the land as communal and rear up to 60,000 cattle to graze in the delta each dry season, are also opposed to the plan.

“We will have to ensure that this new project is properly explained to the people before it can go ahead,” said Kabira.

The sudden rush by foreign governments and companies to secure food supplies in Africa has some experts worried. Jacques Diouf, director general of the UN’s food and agricultural organisation (FAO), recently spoke of the risk of a “neo-colonial” agricultural system emerging.

The FAO said some of the first overseas projects by Gulf companies in Sudan, where more than 5 million people receive international food aid, showed limited local benefits, with much of the specialist labour and farming inputs imported.

A deal struck last month by Daewoo Logistics and Madagascar to grow crops on 1.3m hectares of land also attracted strong criticism. While the South Korean firm has promised to provide local jobs and will have to invest in building roads and farming infrastructure, it is paying no upfront fee and has a 99-year lease.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in 'DOHA TALKS', AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FOREIGN POLICIES, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, KENYA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, QATAR, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, ROAD TRANSPORT, SOUTH KOREA, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE UNITED NATIONS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES, WATER | Leave a Comment »

ECC APPROVES GAS LOADSHEDDING (Pakistan)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 3, 2008

December 03, 2008 Wednesday Zilhaj 4, 1429

by Mubarak Zeb Khan

PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

ISLAMABAD, Dec 2: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet approved on Tuesday a new schedule for load-management of natural gas for winter to overcome a possible shortfall.

The shortfall may exceed 500 million million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in December and February and 600 mmcfd in January.

A meeting of the ECC, presided over by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin, approved a summary prepared by the petroleum ministry aimed at maintaining uninterrupted supply of gas to domestic consumers, independent power producers and CNG stations for the transport sector.

Under the schedule, gas supply to the cement sector will be suspended from December to February and to the industrial sector it will be reduced by 50 per cent.

While fertiliser companies will carry out their annual maintenance, no gas will be provided to Wapda during the three months.

The schedule was finalised by a committee in consultation with the stakeholders.

The ECC asked the petroleum ministry to ensure uninterrupted supply of gas to domestic consumers. The burden of reduced supply will be shared by the power sector and industry.

On the recommendation of the ministry of water and power, the meeting approved a proposal to extend the tariff provisions of the 2002 power policy and the mechanism developed by Nepra to hydropower projects under the 1995 hydel policy with minimum changes in project agreements.

For increased availability of power, the ECC allowed rental power projects the same tax treatment as applicable to rental power projects under Wapda’s jurisdiction.

The meeting also approved a market intervention price of Rs1465 per 40kg for seed cotton during the 2008-09 season on the basis of current export parity price. The ministries of food and agriculture and commerce have been asked to work out an efficient procurement plan that benefits small farmers and keeps the price stable. The food and agriculture ministry has been asked to make timely announcement of the intervention price.

The ECC allowed procurement of 750,000 tons of additional wheat with better specifications and in a manner that domestic requirements were met satisfactorily and the wheat stock position remained adequate.

The ECC approved a credit guarantee scheme for small banks to help them maintain liquidity through availability of credit facilities from the State Bank. The scheme will be implemented by the SBP which will ensure its effective utilisation and sound operation of the banking system.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FERTILIZERS, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NATURAL GAS, PAKISTAN, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WATER, WHEAT | Leave a Comment »

MYSTERY OF CROCS’ MASS DIE-OFF (India)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 2, 2008

Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

Measuring up to 6m Some gharials may be feeding on fish that have large toxic loadslong, with elongated narrow snouts, gharials are one of the world’s most distinctive-looking crocodilians.

Just 100 years ago, these fish-eating reptiles were prevalent throughout the Indian subcontinent; but by 2007, there were just 200 breeding adults found in only a handful of rivers in India and Nepal.

Last winter, this already critically endangered species was dealt another cruel blow. Over the space of just five months, more than 100 of the creatures washed up dead on the banks of India’s Chambal river – and nobody knew why.

For the past year, herpetologist Rom Whitaker, who runs the Madras Crocodile Bank, has been followed by a BBC Natural World team as he attempted to solve this mystery.

Here, he explains how scientists may finally be on the verge of finding some answers.

“It’s been a bit like a long drawn out Agatha Christie mystery. Everything we hear about just throws up more questions.

Why is it just a particular 40km stretch of the river that is being affected, and the deaths all occurred over winter?

Why is it that only one particular size class – the medium sized ones – is dying?

And why is it that only one fish-eating animal is being affected?

Death by gout

We started to speculate that it had to be something in the food chain.

Autopsies have told us the deaths were caused by gout, which more or less indicates kidney failure – and this points to the build up of toxins.

The river that they live in – the Chambal – is one of the cleanest rivers in India. But this flows into another river called the
Yamuna, which is a big huge toxic mess.

We think the gharial are moving into the Yamuna and feeding on fish that have big toxic loads.

Then it is likely that they are coming back to the Chambal, having brought with them all this fish they have gorged upon, and this bioaccumulation of toxin is then affecting them.

We believe that the die-off happened in winter because when it is cold, the animals are unable to metabolise anything in their system – they sort of shut down.

This will take a toll on weak, injured or sick animals. And in this case, if they had damaged kidneys, and the kidneys were trying to excrete the uric acid but were unable to, then the uric acid would have spread to the body, causing gout.

Could sights like the mass-hatching of 500 baby gharials soon be a thing of the past?

Ecologist Jeff Lang was able to fill us in on another piece of the puzzle concerning the size of the animals that were dying.

The little crocodilians can bask in what little sunshine is available in the winter, and because they are small they heat up very fast. Even if they have eaten polluted fish, they would be able to metabolise it very fast – in other words, get rid of it as quickly as they consume it.

The very large animals are at a stage of their life where they are not gorging on fish as they have no great incentive to grow fast. They are more likely to be concentrating on patrolling their territory than on feeding.

It is the medium-sized class that are dying – these are feeding on a lot of fish as they want to grow quickly. And in the case of the adult females, they need extra energy for egg production at this time of the year.

But being larger, it takes them a heck of a long time to warm up, and we think that they never do warm up enough to aid digestion and metabolise out the toxins.

‘Educated speculation’

But why aren’t other fish-eating animals affected?

If you are talking about river dolphins, cormorants, otters and pelicans – these are all warm-blooded, and they are eating and expelling waste as fast as they can.

So this accumulation may take place, but it isn’t happening fast enough to kill them – at least not yet. And of course, there is the sinister possibility that people who eat the fish may also be affected.

The other species of crocodile that’s there is the mugger crocodile.

And this animal is not a specialist like the gharial.

Gharials only eat fish, but these muggers eat anything that moves. So we surmise they are not getting the same kind of accumulation of nasty fish in their systems.

This is all speculation – but it is educated speculation. The pieces of the puzzle are beginning to all come together. But it is not enough to just find out what happened.

If they are going to 'The pieces of the puzzle are beginning to all come together' - Rom Whitakerclean up the Yamuna river, we are talking probably about another long decade of really hard work – and there is a chance that a die off could happen again before that.

The Chambal population is the most important last repository of gharial. So it seems that a critically endangered species with this one last bastion left is in real real trouble.

But the problem goes much wider.

The gharial could be the canary in the coalmine. They are telling us something very important – that our rivers are dying, and that could mean us dying next.”

Crocodile Blues is on BBC2 on Tuesday 2 December at 2000GMT as part of the Natural World strand

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘BBC NEWS’ (UK)

Posted in ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH SAFETY, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INTERNATIONAL, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, WATER | Leave a Comment »

FINANCIAL CRISIS KILLS OFF AGRICULTURE SCHEMES (Australia)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 2, 2008

December 02, 2008

by Rick Wallace

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

THE economic crisis appears to have killed off one of the most divisive trends in Australian agriculture: the growth of aggressively marketed, tax-effective investment schemes.

The future of the schemes, loathed by many growers for buying up land and billions of litres of water, is in jeopardy thanks to the global financial collapse and recent tax changes.

The two largest agricultural managed investment scheme companies, Timbercorp and Great Southern Plantations, are trading at less than 5 per cent of their peak values in 2006. Overall, their plummeting share prices have stripped more than $1.7 billion from their combined market capitalisation.

Timbercorp will quit the MIS sector next year and has begun selling plantations to reduce debt while Great Southern has also announced a major restructure that will reduce its involvement in non-forestry MIS schemes.

Enviroinvest, another MIS operator, controlled by the family of former Liberal politician Roger Pescott, recently went into liquidation with debts of $100 million.

The sector’s woes may change the landscape of horticulture in Australia with investment slowing to a trickle and plantations along the Murray River potentially sold off to foreign investors.

Under restructure plans, Timbercorp will sell some forestry blocks along with almond and olive groves, although it will lease them back. Great Southern is converting some cattle, forestry and horticultural projects to non-MIS based structures.

Analysts predict Great Southern will have to sell more assets if investors don’t support the restructure, although the company is upbeat about its chances.

Individual growers reeling under debt and a decade of drought believe much of the land and water rights controlled by MISs will now be bought up by foreign firms.

Northwest Victorian grape grower and MIS critic Bill McClumpha said many MISs would fold. “The schemes are financially unviable and just an arm of the tax avoidance industry,” he said.

The growth of MISs saw them expand from forestry into almonds, avocados, abalone, pearls, truffles and walnuts, olives and wine grapes. Investors ploughed almost $1.1 billion into them in 2007 at the height of the boom, buying hundreds of thousands of hectares from farmers to establish plantations and orchards.

According to their detractors, who include Liberal senator Bill Heffernan and former Nationals agriculture minister Peter McGauran, the attraction was not so much the returns but the tax deductions they offered.

From July this year, a tax office ruling has meant non-forestry schemes no longer attract the deduction, although this is being reviewed by Treasury and challenged in the Federal Court.

Many of the schemes were sold on commission to high-income earners. To their supporters they offered innovation, economies of scale and capital beyond the reach of the average farmer.

Great Southern spokesman David Ikin said the company would wait on the tax reviews before considering any new non-forestry MIS and Timbercorp is now focusing on agribusiness rather than fund management.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

Posted in AGRICULTURE, AUSTRALIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WATER | Leave a Comment »

TROUBLED WATERS: WHY WE FELL OUT OF LOVE WITH BOTTLED WATER (AND HOW THE INDUSTRY PLANS TO WIN US BACK)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 2, 2008

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Report by Martin Hickman PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INDEPENDENT’ (UK)

Bottled water. We all hate it now, don’t we? Few products can rival its spectacular fall from grace. Government ministers rail against it (“morally unacceptable” in the pleasingly direct words of the environment minister, Phil Woolas) and shoppers no longer think it is fashionable.

You only have to remember how cool Perrier was in the late 1990s to appreciate how low mineral water has sunk. A few years ago, to clutch a bottle of mineral water was a statement of wealth and vitality; a marker of metropolitan sophistication. It was clean, cool and fresh – and often stylishly French, too.

Now, though, bottled water is in danger of being a has-been. After three decades of constant growth which saw sales rise by a factor of 100, from 20m litres a year in 1976 to 2,000m litres in 2006, the rise and fall of the sales chart is starting to resemble one of the mountains pictured in the advertising. Unless the slide is halted, bottled water will become history, a consumer fad that couldn’t live up to the hype. Unlikely, certainly, but the industry is spooked.

Mineral water is being assailed on all sides. Two years of extremely cloudy summers have hit demand; and now, the collapsing economy is causing consumers to question whether they need to spend £1 or £2 on something they can get for a fraction of the price at home. Most vexingly to its multinational cheerleaders, bottled water has become a symbol of environmental lunacy. How can one defend a product that is trucked hundreds or thousands of miles in plastic bottles when it gushes out of taps almost free? The Government has announced that it is banning mineral water from civil service meetings. Consumer groups call on diners to ask for tap – and millions are doing so. Mineral water is no longer cool; it’s dumb, bought by gullible clothes-horses who care more about their skin than the planet.

For two years the executives of the £2bn-a-year bottled water industry have sat tight, hoping things would improve, silently fuming as their product’s reputation dripped away. Now, they are striking back. Britain’s three biggest bottled-water companies, the Swiss food giant Nestlé, the French dairy corporation Danone and Highland Spring have founded a lobby group to restore its reputation. The trio met in Cambridge earlier this month to hatch a plan to restore mineral water to its rightful place in the public’s affections.

In months to come, there will be lobbying from the Natural Hydration Council and a massive advertising campaign that will seek to re-educate the public about the benefits of bottled water. And it will get dirty. The bottled water camp is throwing mud at the tap water companies, with talk of chlorine, septic tanks, contamination and irresponsible leakage. The companies are fighting for their lives. And they complain about dark forces doing down their transparent, beautiful product. How did water get this murky? And should we be buying San Pellegrino or Badoit – or not?

With his considerable frame filling a chair at the University Arms Hotel in Cambridge, Nick Krzyzaniak, managing director of Danone Waters UK and Ireland, is probably not what customers imagine the boss of Volvic to look like. He does not have wavy hair and a Gallic accent. He is 46, from Michigan and has spent most of the last two decades sealing boardroom deals in the US. Now he has been given the task of reviving bottled water – and he intends to succeed. Key to his mission is making Brits love mineral water again. He has a point, or several, to make.

Bottled water is a “stunning” product – healthy, pure and cheaper than many other less healthy drinks. It comes from some of the most pristine areas of the world (in Europe, say, the Alps or the Scottish Highlands) where it spends years being filtered and purified by natural processes. It has no calories, sugar, or additives.

But the problem is that while tap water costs one tenth of a penny per litre, Evian costs almost £1, if not more – making it as expensive as the petrol you put into your car.

Danone’s solution to this is to tell the public that tap and bottled are not the same, even if they look the same. In his presentation to fellow industry members in Cambridge, Mr Krzyzaniak shows a picture of two identical looking glasses of water. “But are all waters created equal?” his presentation asks. “NO!” screams the graphic. There are pictures of the production of bottled and tap water. Bottled water drifts down from clouds over mountains, percolates through rocks and ends up in clear bottles. Tap water comes from groundwater, risking “contamination” from pesticides and fertilisers and a grey blot in the ground marked “septic tank”. A dissected water pipe shows it is all furred up inside, like an old kettle.

“We are in a pristine, highly protected remote location, whether it is the Scottish Highlands or Evian in France, compared to a very industrialised product which is tap water,” explains Krzyzaniak, castigating its mass-produced rival.

“Tap water is treated with chlorine to be disinfected – there are 110,000 tons of chlorine used every year to cleanse the product; and they need to do that.

“I make the same comparison,” he adds. “Is organic food more healthy than genetically modified, pesticide-treated food? It’s not killing anyone today, we would never say anything like that, but there is definitely a value difference. Our studies show that the Thames river water system recycles five to seven times before it disseminates from the system, so it’s been through five to seven people before it leaves the system, which to me is a slightly scary proposition.”

Bottled water executives accuse the tap water industries of spreading anti-bottled-water propaganda to distract attention from the above-inflation rises they will be imposing on households between 2010 and 2015. And they accuse the Government of casting around for green villains, when it should be improving its own environmental record, particularly on increasing recycling facilities for PET plastic, used for bottled water.

“It’s a distraction for the politicians,” complains Les Montgomery, chief executive of Highland Spring, who is building a railway to his factory to reduce the use of trucks and who uses 25 per cent recycled content in his PET bottles (he would like to use more).

“The recycling infrastructure is not there in the UK; that’s got to be politically driven – it’s got to be managed by the politicians.

“We are apolitical. But the impact that the statements have had on our industry,” adds his marketing director Sally Stanley, “have been significant and it’s been really lazy, sound-bite driven. It’s easy for people to latch on to the so-called ‘facts’ that they’re being communicated if they don’t know any of the detail behind our industry.”

The “detail” here is that, in fact, fruit juices, beer and wine almost certainly harm the environment more than bottled water. Unlike water, ingredients have to be grown (grapes, barley, hops, sugar, etc), all at a cost to the environment. Like water, the drinks are then transported long distances (New Zealand sauvignon blanc, Italian lager, the list is extensive).

Admittedly, carbon labelling is in its infancy, but the work done so far suggests that other soft drinks have a carbon footprint up to 10 times higher than bottled water. Danone, which has lightweighted its bottles and uses the train in France, calculates that production of one litre of Evian emits 198 grams of carbon dioxide.

When Tesco checked the Co2 of its orange juice, it found a litre cost 1,040 grams. Even the environmentally friendly Adnams brewery in Suffolk cannot reduce the Co2 of its East Green bitter below 864 grams.

Bottled water executives, though, really want to make a breakthrough on health rather than the environment. Studies show that organic food shoppers are more motivated by their own health than the planet: organic food is more of a “me” thing than an “us” thing.

And for all the environmental controversy, the industry fears it is the coming recession that most threatens to accelerate the 9 per cent decline in sales from the peak in 2006: shoppers must be convinced that bottled water is better than tap water.

Given that many people in the UK are now so positive about tap water, this is going to be tricky. According to Danone’s figures, only 2 per cent of Japanese consumers believe their tap water is as healthy as bottled water. In Spain the figure is 13 per cent, in France 31 per cent, and in the UK it is 45 per cent.

Almost three-quarters of British people (72 per cent) believe that tap water is of good quality and only 9 per cent believe that it’s bad quality. With good reason – the Drinking Water Inspectorate says that 99.96 per cent of UK water meets EU standards, unlike many parts of the developing world where drinking water is highly dangerous.

But these figures do not impress the bottled water industry: “99.96 per cent of your water being good enough is not good enough – 100 per cent of our water has to be good enough, because that 0.4 per cent, that fraction there, is not good enough. That should be challenged more,” says Montgomery.

A key issue here is “consistency”, adds Krzyzaniak. “Tap water changes from glass to glass,” he says, explaining that chlorine wears out over time, meaning that the quality can vary depending on how long it has been sitting in the pipe. “And it also depends on the source, depending on where you picked up along the Thames. Could you be near a treatment centre, could you be near a highly agricultural centre, could you be near a waste treatment centre?

“Brits have one of the strongest beliefs in the healthiness of their drinking water and its provision is a fundamental reason to separate first and third world nations. But these water utilities are not municipalities; they are companies that are making profit selling the water, so they have to establish it is safe – and we do agree it’s safe – but it’s the inconsistency, and now with more modern drugs, chemicals and other things being introduced, it’s much more susceptible to hormones, carcinogenics, and [other] things.”

Why would tap water companies want to discourage sales of bottled water, though? Why would they be worried by mineral water? “It’s a way of disguising some of the raising of prices they are going to have to do,” says Krzyzaniak. “You are hearing there will be 13-14 per cent raises in the next few months. They are going to have to request massive amounts of money to help re-sill the pipes. If you look at a tap water company today they don’t have the money to do that. But more than anything, it’s a way of gaining control of the water system.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the water companies do not share this view. Barrie Clark, director of communications at Water UK, the trade body for water utilities, says: “We will be very disappointed if there is a suggestion that bottled water is better or superior than tap water. We believe that good hydration is essential for good health. And we say good water is good water wherever it comes from; bottled and tap, both of which have been properly presented to the consumer so that they are entirely healthy and safe to drink.”

Both sides of the water industry agree on this need for hydration – a word you will soon be hearing more of thanks to the Natural Hydration Council. According to the NHC, people need two litres of liquid a day to replace that lost in urine and sweat.

One of the reasons the bottled-water industry split from the British Soft Drinks Association was the BSDA’s insistence that people be urged to drink any liquid, such as fruit juice or coffee, to hit the target.

But is there any truth in the suggestion that we do need to drink two litres of anything a day? The Food Standards Agency recommends that adults drink 1.9 litres of liquid daily, preferably water. “Water is the best choice for quenching your thirst between meals. It is totally calorie-free and contains no sugars that damage teeth. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try sparkling water or add a slice of lemon or lime,” the Government agency says.

Scientific studies, though, are downright dismissive of the two-litre advice. Much of our liquid comes from food and in any case, we tend to drink when we are thirsty: we don’t need to gulp down masses of water. In a review of scientific data published this year, the Department of Physiology at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire in the US found no evidence for the message that we should drink eight glasses of eight fluid ounces a day – two litres.

“No scientific studies were found in support of eight by eight,” said the researchers.

“Rather, surveys of food and fluid intake on thousands of adults of both genders – analyses of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals – strongly suggest that such large amounts are not needed … This conclusion is supported by published studies showing that caffeinated drinks may indeed be counted toward the daily total, as well as by the large body of published experiments that attest to the precision and effectiveness of the osmoregulatory system for maintaining water balance.”

Our livers are very effective at removing toxins. The less you drink, the darker your wee will be, because the toxins will be expelled in a less diluted form, but that is not necessarily a problem.

But the amount of sugary, fizzy drinks we consume, at a time of mass obesity, almost certainly is. We drink four times as much sugary drinks as we do bottled water. The bottled-water industry argues that it could help solve public health crises like obesity.

In the absence of a Government drive to recreate the Victorian public drinking fountains, they’re probably right. (Though re-filling a water bottle before you travel is the next best environmental solution.)

“We’ve done plenty of work on it and if you have a look at what consumers would buy in the absence of bottled water,” says Sally Stanley at Highland Spring, “they would revert back to buying the carbonates of old. Would that be good? I don’t think so. We’ve spent an awful lot of time and effort trying to wean children off carbonated soft drinks that are sugar-laden or diet carbonated drinks which contain other ingredients. And my goodness, hardly any of them drink bottled water or tap water.”

“When you look at obesity, dental health, drink driving, drugs,” she continues, “almost every public health campaign that the Government will fund has as part of its solution water.

“Taps aren’t available in pubs always, they aren’t available in cars – the last time I looked. I think we’ve got to be bit more measured about what we’re communicating to consumers, because the campaigning against bottled water will, ultimately, impact on the health of children and the health of adults who would otherwise drink other beverages.”

So, taking everything into account, bottled water isn’t so bad. Faced with a choice of fruit juice, cola, beer or wine, Perrier or Evian is a better choice for your body and the planet. That doesn’t mean that we should stop asking for tap in restaurants, or refilling bottles at home, or urging politicians to find ways of serving water on the go. Nor does it mean we should take the mineral water industry’s insistence that we endlessly swig on a bottle too seriously. But, with so many environmentally damaging and unhealthy drinks out there, mineral water is more saint than sinner.

Dripping points

PRICE

0.1pence……… cost of litre of tap water

90p………cost of litre of mineral water

SALES

£2bn……… annual bottled water sales

£10bn……… tap water sales

TRUST IN TAP WATER

72% of people in UK believe tap water is good quality

9% believe it is bad quality

FALLING BOTTLED WATER SALES

2,075m litres – estimated bottled water sales 2008

-9% – decline in sales over the past two years

But still double 10 years ago…

990m litres – bottled water sales in 1998

And 100 times 30 years ago…

20m litres – bottled water sales in 1976

DEFLATION

Between 1997 and 2008, price of bottled water fell 8.2%

CALORIES (PER LITRE)

Tap water ……… 0

Bottled water ……… 0

Smoothie ……… 550

Beer ……… 350

Orange juice ……… 480sugar (per litre)

Tap water ……… 0

Bottled water ……… 0

Smoothie ……… 48 grams

Coca-Cola……… 106 grams

Orange juice ……… 106 grams

CLIMATE CHANGE (Co2 per litre)

Tap water ……… 0.2 grams

Bottled water ……… 198 grams

Smoothie ……… 686 grams

Beer ……… 864 grams

Orange juice ……… 1,040 grams

ANNUAL CONSUMPTION PER PERSON (AVERAGE)

97 litres ………fizzy drinks

55 litres ……… concentrated squash

36 litres……… bottled water

23 litres……… fruit juice

23 litres ……… juice drinks

MARKET SHARE

56% ……… tea, coffee and other hot drinks

8% ……… fruit drinks

8% ……… alcohol

8% ……… miscellaneous

7% ……… carbonated soft drinks

7% ……… tap water

3% ……… bottled water

3% ……… milk

BOTTLED WATER TYPES (UK)

Mineral water ……… 60%

Spring water ……… 26%

Bottled drinking water (‘table’ water) ……… 11%

Purified water ……… 3%

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INDEPENDENT’ (UK)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, WATER | Leave a Comment »

WATER SHORTAGE AFFECTS WHEAT SOWING IN SINDH (Pakistan)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 27, 2008

November 27, 2008 Thursday Ziqa’ad 28, 1429

by Muzaffar Qureshi

KARACHI, Nov 26: Water shortage, especially in lower Sindh, is adversely affecting wheat sowing, which in other areas has started in full swing.

An official of the Sindh agriculture department confirmed on Wednesday that water shortage is the main problem in wheat sowing which has become a sensitive cash crop in view of the looming food shortage worldwide.

The areas affected by water shortage are: Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Matiari, Nawabshah and Naushero Feroze.

Growers complained that the fields situated at the tail-end of water canals were suffering most, and President of Sindh Abadgar Board Majeed Nizamani feared that the wheat target for year 2008-09 would not be achieved if water shortage was not tackled. The growers said that there was no real shortage of water, which has been created by mismanagement in water distribution and corruption in the irrigation department.

The water is supplied to influential and big growers offering incentives to the irrigation staff, they alleged.

Explaining the distribution network in the province, Nizamani said that the water available at the Guddu Barrage irrigates about eight million acres of land on both sides of the barrage through four major canals on the left side and three on the right side. The distribution network comprises about 210 water channels.

He said that the water shortage during the current wheat crop has been estimated at 35 per cent which means that out of four weeks, there will be no water supply to the farms for one week. However, he said that if judicious distribution of the available water is made, wheat target could be achieved.

Mr Nizamani said that otherwise factors, such as availability of phosphate and urea fertilizers, etc., were favourable for a bumper crop.

More land will be available for wheat sowing this year as growers of edible oil crop, who are not keen to grow sunflower in view of declining prices of edible oil in the world market, will instead contribute their land for wheat sowing.

Similarly, he said that if sugarcane is lifted by the sugar mills earlier, more land could be made available for wheat cultivation.

The government has fixed wheat cultivation area in Sindh this year at 2.5 million acres while the production target is 25 million tons.

Another leading wheat grower pointed to the corruption, which has reached its climax in the irrigation department.

The officials of the department are so powerful that the agriculture ministry finds itself helpless in dealing with the department.

He called for proper management of cultivation of various crops as is managed in Australia where the government fixed the land units for sowing of a particular crop, which is decided after assessing the domestic requirements.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CORRUPTION, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FERTILIZERS, INTERNATIONAL, PAKISTAN, SUNFLOWER, WATER, WHEAT | Leave a Comment »