Sunday, March 27, 2005


A global water crisis is looming. More than a billion people worldwide lack access to clean and safe water - with devastating effects: 12 million deaths annually and millions of others struck by diseases associated with the lack of sanitary water. Last year, more people likely died from lack of water than from armed conflicts.

There may be a solution to what had been an insoluble problem. In recent years, a small number of developing country governments have turned to the private sector for help and have introduced market-oriented reforms in the water sector. Overall, the results have been encouraging. The reforms have had limited scope - 97 percent of all water distribution, after all, is still in government hands - but millions of new households in such diverse locations as Argentina, Cambodia, Guinea, Morocco, and the Philippines, have been connected to water networks as a result of private investment. In developing countries with private investment in water infrastructure, 80 percent of the population now has access to an improved water source. Countries that don't allow private investment in water distribution have lagged behind their entrepreneurial rivals.

The attempts at privatization have met vociferous resistance. A coalition of Non-Government Organizations, trade unions for public employees, and international organizations such as the United Nations have done all they can to limit the role of the market and the business community. And they have had some success. The privatization pace has slowed down and the World Bank - one of the major advocates of privatization - has gone on the defensive. Global water companies are less and less inclined to invest in developing countries, for fear that their efforts may be nationalized......

Millions of women and children therefore spend many hours per day (the estimate is 10 million man-years per annum) fetching bad water from remote sources. They cannot work or go to school during this time, which helps to keep them in poverty. Too low prices also lead to waste and misallocations in agriculture where most water is used, and generally used inefficiently.

Most importantly, the billion people who are not connected to any water network are forced to buy water - usually of bad quality - that costs on average 12 times more than network water. These people will gain, not lose, from higher prices, when operators get capital and incentives to reach them. Since the poor are not connected to the networks, they do not gain from subsidized water; they pay for it with their taxes, financing cheap water for the better off.

Members of the anti-privatization movement claim that water is a human right that only governments can provide. The problem is that, for whatever reason, many governments simply will not provide this water. It is not surprising that water companies with skills, incentives, capital and technology are far better equipped to provide water. No matter how many documents there are stating that access to water is a fundamental right, people drink neither paper nor rights, but water.

Some people also argue that since water is necessary for life, it needs to be distributed "democratically" - i.e., by the government. That is nonsense. Food is also necessary for humans to survive. And in countries where food is produced "democratically," there tend to be neither food nor democracy.

More here


Tropical weather expert William Gray says nature, not mankind, is to blame for a period of increased hurricane activity that could last for another 20 or 30 years. The Colorado State University professor, known for his annual predictions, will be the closing speaker tomorrow at the 27th annual National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans.

Gray said hurricane activity began increasing 10 years ago after a slack period of about 25 years. He says faster-moving currents in the Atlantic Ocean produce more major hurricanes than slower currents, although they don't seem to have much effect on less powerful storms.

Gray is predicting another above average season in 2005 but not as busy as 2004, which saw 15 named storms including nine hurricanes. Six of them were major and Florida was hit by four hurricanes for the first time in the state's history. The initial 2005 forecast, released in December, was for eleven named storms including six hurricanes, three of them major. Gray also predicted a 69 percent chance that at least one major storm would make landfall in the United States.


We have been hearing this sort of story for around a hundred years: "The worldwide decline in new discoveries has profound implications for the global supply of energy and, by extension, the world economy. Given a recent surge in energy demand from China and other rapidly-developing countries, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) predicts that, for all future energy needs to be satisfied, total world oil output will have to climb by 50% between now and 2025; from, that is, approximately 80 million to 120 million barrels per day. A staggering increase in global production, that extra 40 million barrels per day would be the equivalent of total world daily consumption in 1969. Absent major new discoveries, however, the global oil industry will likely prove incapable of providing all of this additional energy. Without massive new oil discoveries, prices will rise, supplies will dwindle, and the world economy will plunge into recession -- or worse."


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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