It's the Environment, Stupid.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Europe wilting

It's not just us here in the U.S. who are complaining about the heat - folks in western Europe are also warming up according to a NY Times article, "Record Heat Wilts Europe, Strains Power Supply and Hurts Crops".

The Brits, the Dutch, the French and Germans are all swapping their heated tales - have you heard the one about an English entertainer who fried an egg on his suit of armor? What about the one where nuclear power stations in France and Spain have had to reduce output "because the river water normally used to cool reactors is too warm"? Or how about the low water levels in Italy's Po River that have affected hydro power supplies? Then there's the potentially disastrous damage to crops in Poland and Germany due to the high temperatures and drought.

Of course these tall tales will fade into distant memories once the summer succumbs to fall, and then into winter and other headlines take over. Unfortunately once the power is back on, and the din of the AC dies down, and things are back to 'normal' there will be no pressure on the power companies, or elected officials or governments to do anything to prepare for next summer. We are a very reactionary people - we respond and direct our attention to the problems facing us in the present using short term fixes, when what is really required is more adequate, longer term planning.

We need to begin efforts now towards a precautionary approach and learn how to adapt to our increasingly changing conditions. What happens when our rivers can no longer cool our nuclear reactors? What happens when hydropower stops because the river levels are too low? What happens when grain production in Poland falls by twenty-percent? What's next when these seasonal inconveniences become bigger problems?

1 Comments:

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    By Anonymous Melissa, at 15:23  

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