Scotland’s soldiers have been used in the UK Government’s false humanitarian interventions in Kosovo, and Iraq but there is a real one we can be involved and doing so will make us rich emotionally rather than economically.
I write this inspired by the wettest June since 1938.
Huge areas of the world, especially the Middle East and North Africa’s 400 million people, will be uninhabitable within a few decades, due to severe water shortages, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Here’s an extract capturing the severity of the risk:
‘This sharp water scarcity simply not only affects the already precarious provision of drinking water for most of the region’s 22 countries, home to nearly 400 million inhabitants, but also the availability of water for agriculture and food production for a fast-growing population. The new facts are stark: per capita availability of fresh water in the region is now 10 times less than the world average. Moreover, higher temperatures may shorten growing seasons in the region by 18 days and reduce agricultural yields a further 27 per cent to 55 per cent less by the end of this century. Add to this that the region’s fresh water resources are among the lowest in the world, and are expected to fall over 50 per cent by 2050, according to the United Nations leading agency in the field of food and agriculture.’
I know, it’s a long way away but if we can run oil and gas-carrying pipes thousands of miles across Asia and Europe then we can run a water-carrying pipeline from Scotland through the dryish bits of England and Europe and across the Mediterranean. The massive wealth of the gulf states and the EU can easily pay for such a simple thing. We can give the water free and make us all feel good about ourselves for doing so. I’m all for making Scotland wealthy with its oil, gas and electricity exports but water is a right and we can afford to give it away.