While watching Robert Glennon being interviewed on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show I was struck by his miserabilism. Apparently Unquenchable, the new book by the Arizona law professor, bemoans the fact that the current generation of Americans have access to water without having to think about it. What should be seen as a mark of […]
Thomas Friedman, the New York Times foreign affairs correspondent, tries to popularise the flawed notion of eco-systems services in a comment in this weekend’s newspaper. The globetrotting correspondent uses the example of Costa Rica to show that: “As we debate a new energy future, we need to remember that nature provides this incredible range of […]
The Guardian’s Malthus comment discussed in a post yesterday was itself a response to a speech by John Beddington, the British government’s chief scientific adviser, arguing the world is facing a “perfect storm” of energy, food and water shortages by 2030. Beddington does qualify his remarks by saying that the development of science and technology […]
A striking feature of yesterday’s speech by George Bush at the White House Summit for International Development was how much he agrees with NGOs such as Actionaid or Oxfam. The supposed conservative demagogue and the supposed radical activists are sleeping in the same bed. The following passage on water provision clearly illusrates this shared approach. […]
Have just caught up with the first episode of Simon Schama’s BBC television documentary series on “The American Future: A History”. It might more accurately be called “reinterpreting American history to fit today’s culture of low expectations”. The episode on “American plenty” focused on how America has, sensibly in Schama’s view, come to accept the […]
Yet more articles on the wet stuff to coincide with World Water Week: * New Scientist (23 August) has a cover story on water by Jonathan Chenoweth of the University of Surrey. It makes some useful points including the argument that “virtual water” (a term evidently coined by Tony Allan of King’s College, London) can […]
The annual World Water Week in Stockholm seems to be an occasion for an outpouring of panic about global water shortages. BBC Two’s flagship Newsnight programme has already fallen for it (see Monday’s post) and now, not surprisingly given its environmentalist leanings, the Guardian has too. The lead news story in today’s paper gave credence […]
The BBC2 Newsnight programme this evening completely succumbed to the panic about water shortages. Its underlying assumption was simple: population growth and industrialisation are leading to greater use of this scarce commodity. This in turn is leading to the prospect of conflict and even water wars worldwide. Sadly none of the studio guests challenged the […]
I am struggling to find a term to describe the angst-ridden mindset of even the most pro-capitalist economists nowadays (see 1 August post). Cheerless cheerleaders? Demand depressives? Moody mentalists? None of these quite captures it. Any ideas please email me. In the meantime here is a contribution from Willem Buiter, a professor at the London […]
AA Gill, the restaurant critic of the Sunday Times (London), has written an excellent review making what should be an obvious point – but sadly is not – that water is the ultimate recylable commodity (9 March): “All the water that ever was, every ice-age glacier, every princess’s tear, every rill, gill, brook, beck and […]
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