Author Archives: Earth Policy Institute

Expanding Dust Bowls Worsening Food Prospects in China and Africa

December 21st, 2012 | by Earth Policy Institute

When most people hear the term “dust bowl,” they think of the American heartland in the 1930s, when a homesteading wheat bonanza led to the plowing up of the Great Plains’ native grassland, culminating in the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history. Unfortunately, this phenomenon isn't just relics of the past


Dust Bowl Revisited?

November 19th, 2012 | by Earth Policy Institute

Is a new Dust Bowl forming in the US Plains states and Southwest? State officials say "never again," but agricultural practices in those areas could be creating the right conditions for another 30s-style loss of soil fertility


Full Planet, Empty Plates: Quick Facts

November 7th, 2012 | by Earth Policy Institute

With falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures making it difficult to feed growing populations, control of arable land and water resources is moving to center stage in the global struggle for food security. What will the geopolitics of food look like in a new era dominated by scarcity and food nationalism? Here are a few of the many facts from Full Planet, Empty Plates


The Great Transition, Part II: Building a Wind-Centered Economy

November 2nd, 2012 | by Earth Policy Institute

Over the past decade, world wind electric generating capacity grew at nearly 30 percent per year, its increase driven by its many attractive features and by public policies supporting its expansion. Wind is abundant, carbon-free and nondepletable. It uses no water, no fuel, and little land. Wind is also locally available, scales up easily, and can be brought online quickly. No other energy source can match this combination of features


The Great Transition, Part I: From Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy

October 25th, 2012 | by Earth Policy Institute

The great energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is under way. As fossil fuel prices rise, as oil insecurity deepens, and as concerns about pollution and climate instability cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new world energy economy is emerging. The old energy economy, fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas, is being replaced with an economy powered by wind, solar, and geothermal energy.


By the Numbers – Data Highlights from Full Planet, Empty Plates

October 17th, 2012 | by Earth Policy Institute

More than 150 data sets accompany Lester R. Brown’s latest book, Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity. These tables and graphs help to explain the precarious situation in which humanity finds itself, as the world leaves an era of food surpluses and enters one of food scarcity. Here are some highlights from the collection


Arctic Sea Ice in Free Fall

October 11th, 2012 | by Earth Policy Institute

The North Pole is losing its ice cap. Comparing recent melt seasons with historical records spanning more than 1,400 years shows summer Arctic sea ice in free fall. Many scientists believe that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in the summertime within the next decade or two, and some say that this could occur as early as



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