The United States maintains a navy presence in the Gulf in large part to ensure oil traffic there is unhindered. Its Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain.
Iran, which is already subject to several rounds of sanctions over its nuclear programme, has repeatedly said it could target the Strait of Hormuz if attacked or its economy is strangled.
Such a move could cause havoc on world oil markets, disrupting the fragile global economy, although analysts say the Islamic republic is unlikely to take such drastic steps as it relies on the route for its own oil exports.
via Strait of Hormuz showdown: Iran-U.S. brinkmanship nears its breaking point | News | National Post.
“Prospects for the future
FAO estimates that by 2050, rising population and incomes will require a 70 percent increase in global food production. This equates to another one billion tonnes of cereals and 200 million tonnes of livestock products produced each year.
“For nutrition to improve and for food insecurity and undernourishment to recede, future agricultural production will have to rise faster than population growth and consumption patterns adjusted,” says SOLAW.
More than four-fifths of production gains will have to occur largely on existing agricultural land through sustainable intensification that makes effective use of land and water resources while not causing them harm.
Improving the efficiency of water use by agriculture will be key, according to the report. Most irrigation systems across the world perform below their capacity. A combination of improved irrigation scheme management, investment in local knowledge and modern technology, knowledge development and training can increase water-use efficiency.
And innovative farming practices such as conservation agriculture, agro-forestry, integrated crop-livestock systems and integrated irrigation-aquaculture systems hold the promise of expanding production efficiently to address food security and poverty while limiting impacts on ecosystems.
FAO recently highlighted its vision for the sustainable intensification of agricultural production in its publication, Save and Grow: A New Paradigm for Agriculture, released earlier this year.
Another area where improvement is needed is increasing investment in agricultural development. Gross investment requirements between 2007 and 2050 for irrigation water management in developing countries are estimated at almost $1 trillion. Land protection and development, soil conservation and flood control will require around $160 billion worth of investment in the same period, SOLAW reports.
Finally, greater attention should be paid not only to technical options for improving efficiency and promoting sustainable intensification, but also to ensuring that national policies and institutions are modernized, collaborate together and are better equipped to cope with today’s emerging challenges of water and land resource management.”
via FAO Media Centre: Scarcity and degradation of land and water: growing threat to food security.
“One of the world’s key challenges in an increasingly challenging future will be balancing the water, food and energy equation, WWF predicted at the conclusion of this year’s World Water Week in Stockholm.
“We are already exceeding the limits of the planet in many ways, but it is the availability of fresh water that will have the biggest impact on the food security and energy security of billions,” said Dr Li Lifeng, director of WWF’s global freshwater programme.
WWF was endorsing the meeting’s Stockholm Statement, this year urging nations at the forthcoming Rio +20 global summit on sustainable development to commit to “universal provisioning of safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and modern energy services by the year 2030”.
The Stockholm Statement also seeks 20 per cent by 2020 targets that include increases in crop and energy water efficiency and water recycling, and reductions in water pollution.
The Statement also calls for special attention to water, sanitation and energy needs of “the bottom billion”, noting that access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services have now been defined as human rights.
“We all too often overlook the increasing water intensity of energy production, and the potential impacts on food production,” said Dr Lifeng. “As we eat our way up the food chain, the water intensity of many foods is also increasing in the face of depleting groundwater reserves and climate change impacts.
Solving the water, energy and food equation for the world has to be a global priority.” “
via WWF – World must solve water, food and energy equation.
“As we lurch from one high-stakes political drama to another, it is natural to wonder why societies aren’t better at avoiding self-inflicted crises. Here in the U.S. earlier this month, the government barely dodged default, even though economists reached consensus months ago on when the debt limit would need to be raised.
Meanwhile in Europe, one inadequate government response after another has all but assured that anxiety over the solvency of Greece and the creditworthiness of Italy and Spain will continue to fester, roiling global markets and pushing the European Union to the brink of ruin.
Pundits have been referring to these spectacles as “train wrecks,” as if they happen at high speed. Hardly. These trains are moving at inches an hour; for years, we’ve seen the potential accident ahead. So why do we end up with the tangled mess?
It’s an important question because, looking down the track, it’s easy to spot other big trains on collision courses.”
via Descended From Apes, Acting Like Slime Molds: Nathan Myhrvold – Bloomberg.