Tuesday, April 22, 2008

There'll be a hot time in the old town

Responding to the human implications of sea level rise, Dr. Simon Holgate of the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, said a rise of even a meter could have "major implications" for low-lying countries.
"Eighty to 90% of Bangladesh is within a metre or so of sea level," he said, "so if you live in the Ganges delta you're in a lot of trouble; and that's an awful lot of people."
And that's just the beginning. Because after all, Bangladesh would not be the only place so affected. For just one other example, last Thursday, GMA News (Philippines) reported on a scientific study by Dr. Rafael Guerrero III, executive director of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development, which concluded that sea level rise generated by unmitigated global warming, along with increased temperatures, would be "calamitous" for the nation.

The purpose of his council is to aid the country's fishing industry with adapting to changes driven by global warming, but he noted that what affects that industry affects the nation not only because of the number of people who depend on fishing for income but the number of people who depend on fish for food. Already, he said, the effects of warming are visible in that
Philippine sea surface temperature had been increasing, causing "bleaching in corals and deleterious effects on reef accretion, exterminating sea biodiversity."
The loss of that biodiversity, with attendant threat to fishing stocks, would be more than a calamity if repeated worldwide: The UN estimates that 2.6 billion people depend on fish as a staple food source.

Meanwhile, what floods there, dries out somewhere else. This is also from GMA News, this time for April 11:
Scientists predicted Thursday that climate change in coming decades will cause more flooding in the Northern Hemisphere and droughts in some southern and arid zones.

In addition, they said that some areas around the Mediterranean, parts of southern Africa, northeastern Brazil and the western U.S. region will likely suffer water shortages.

Rajendra Pachauri, the chief UN climate scientist, said at the end of a meeting in Budapest that the rising frequency and intensity of floods and droughts could lead to a food crisis.

"We may see a decline in agriculture production," said Pachauri, who is also chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change....

Millions of Africans could be afflicted by such water problems by 2020, unless action is taken to mitigate climate change, experts said.
So innundation by sea water, floods, droughts, lack of drinking water, declining agricultural production, disrupted fishing stocks, is that all? Well, not quite. Add loss of your home to that list.
At a conference [in February] on climate change and migration[, Reuters reported,] United Nations officials said rising sea levels and intense storms, droughts and floods could force scores of people from their homes and off their lands - some permanently.

"Global warming and extreme weather conditions may have calamitous consequences for the human rights of millions of people," said Kyung-wha Kang, the U.N. deputy high commissioner for human rights,
even their very right to life, she added.

But hey, who cares? That's way over there! We'll party on! Or, um, at least until places like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles start to run out of water.

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