Tag: Global Warming

On the Move: ‘Climate Migrants’ in Bangladesh

World Hum contributor Joanna Kakissis reports for The World on the growing numbers of Bangladeshis displaced by a changing landscape. The story’s also available as an audio file. Here’s a sample:

[T]he farmers of Kalikabari are on the leading edge of what could be a great wave of migration. Studies estimate that the effects of climate change could force 30 million Bangladeshis from their homes by the middle of this century. Many environmental migrants are already showing up here—in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka.


‘How Much are Venice, the Everglades, and New Orleans Worth?’

‘How Much are Venice, the Everglades, and New Orleans Worth?’ Photo by delgaudm via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by delgaudm via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Andrew Sullivan points the way to a Matt Steinglass post about the limits of measuring climate change damage in economic terms:

There will be no Everglades in 100 years. The economic cost of that change to US GDP is marginal. There will be no Venice in 100 years. The economic cost of that change to US GDP is tiny. There will be no New Orleans in 100 years. The economic cost of that change to US GDP is extremely small. ... But the worth of many precious things cannot be measured in money.

Indeed.


Should Air Travelers Help Pay for the Poor’s Climate Change Woes?

Should Air Travelers Help Pay for the Poor’s Climate Change Woes? Photo by retromoderns via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by retromoderns via Flickr (Creative Commons)

It’s been a vexing question since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change revealed that air travel is the world’s fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Some 16,000 commercial jet aircraft produce more than 700 million tons of CO2 every year, the IPCC says. Though air travel accounts for between two and four percent of global warming attributed to human activities, that amount is expected to grow to 15 percent in 50 years.

Meanwhile, 45 million people are starving or malnourished because of climate change-spurred droughts, floods and other natural disasters. The Global Humanitarian Forum, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, says 300,000 people a year die because of climate change and that number will reach 500,000 annually by 2030. As negotiators prepare for a major climate summit in Copenhagen this December, they are also trying to figure out how developed countries (who produce the bulk of carbon emissions) can help save developing countries (who are suffering the most because of global warming). Taxing air travel is a favorite idea.

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A Solar-Powered City to Debut in Florida

A Solar-Powered City to Debut in Florida Photo by albertheaps via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo by albertheaps via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Hey, if the United Arab Emirates can build a giant eco-city in the desert, then sunny Florida should do just fine with a solar-powered town near Fort Myers, in the southwestern portion of the state.

Reuters reports that the developers of the planned $2 billion Babcock Ranch—an environmentally friendly city of 19,500 houses and some six million square feet of space including retail and offices—say it will run on what they bill as the world’s largest photovoltaic solar plant.

Let’s just hope the Sunshine State’s sun city isn’t underwater by the end of the century.


Global Warming Tourism: The Rising Sea Level Slideshow!

Global Warming Tourism: The Rising Sea Level Slideshow! Photo by mrlin via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Florida’s Key West as well as the Maldives, Tuvalu and the islands of Pate and Ndau in the Lamu Archipelago off the Northern coast of Kenya are among eight places that rising sea levels due to climate change will soon make uninhabitable, according to a provocative slideshow at Treehugger.

I hope this doesn’t start a trend in “climate-change cruises.”


The Agritourists and Locavores Will Love This

The Agritourists and Locavores Will Love This Photo by ILoveButter via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by ILoveButter via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Because it would be very satisfying to eat the vegetables you picked at that small and lovely pesticide-free farm during your vacation in, say, Crete or France or Spain and think that maybe you did a tiny little bit to save the planet from global warming.

Organic farms got a big eco-shout-out last week from the European Union’s commissioner for agriculture and rural development, Mariann Fischer Boel, who lauded them as “ammunition against the problem of climate change.” As The New York Times’ James Kanter noted, organic farming often produces fewer emissions than conventional agriculture because it uses fewer fertilizers and leaves soil more stable and better able to hold water.

I’m wondering if organic farms that double as eco-vacations spots may see an awesome branding opportunity here.


New Zealand: The Dream Destination for ‘Ecomigrants’?

new zealand Photo by Sami Keinänen via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by Sami Keinänen via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Most ecomigrants, or people who leave their home countries because of climate change, are poor, desperate and often homeless. Consider the citizens of Bangladesh, where between 12 million and 17 million eco-refugees have fled in the last few decades because of increased flooding and other environmental catastrophes attributed in part to global warming. But in an intriguing Washington Post story, it appears that well-off people from developed countries are also worried enough about climate change to relocate to greener locales.

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Recession Hits Antarctica (Is That Good or Bad?)

Trips to the (melting) frozen continent can cost anywhere between $8,000 and $30,000, a prohibitive amount in today’s crisis economy of failed banks and indebted consumers. That may explain the projected 7,000-person drop in visitors between the 2007-08 season (which registered a record high of 46,000 people) and the current 2008-09 season, which the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) predicts will bring in around 39,000 people.

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Save the Joshua Tree (Again)

Save the Joshua Tree (Again) Photo by tomsaint11 via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by tomsaint11, via Flickr (Creative Commons).

We’ve noted, rather sadly, that we can’t imagine Joshua Tree National Park without its signature Joshua tree. (Who can?) Scientists have warned that the giant yucca may disappear in 50 years because global warming is changing the desert’s fragile ecosystem. U2 famously showcased a Joshua tree on the Anton Corbijn-photographed cover of its 1987 album, and I wonder if the band silently praised it during its awesome pre-inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial (or at least after President Obama affirmed his faith in scientists and pledged to help them deal with a planet in peril.)

Ecopreneur John Ivanko is optimistic, if guardedly so. Ivanko, who recently visited the park with his family, offered this ode, with the hope that a new outlook will help save the imperiled, iconic tree and its park, and other “great places” in the natural world.

For nostalgia’s sake, here’s some Corbijn-shot footage of (then youthful) members of U2 wandering the desert.

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Goodbye ‘White Christmas’?

Goodbye ‘White Christmas’? Photo by fiskfisk via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by fiskfisk via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Do you want to spend the winter holidays in an idyllic, snow-fringed place just like the one Irving Berlin used to know? Berlin wrote “White Christmas” 68 years ago, when the concept still made sense in the German city of Berlin as well as the rest of the northern hemisphere. In what has become an annual reality check during the increasingly warm winter holidays, climate scientists and meteorologists are again warning that global warming is the Grinch that’s stealing snowy landscapes around the world. Reuters reports that the odds of Berlin seeing snow in 2100 will decrease to 5 percent from 20 percent a century ago. Even frigid Oslo, Norway, will see a precipitous decline in snow days, scientists told Reuters.

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Mapped: The Arctic Becomes an ‘Oceanic Crossroads’

Thumbnail of map via The Atlantic.

The beautifully redesigned Atlantic features a map of the Arctic, which marks the paths of the now-viable Northwest Passage and outlines the global significance of the shrinking polar ice cap. “The opening of a new waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans is akin in historic significance to the opening of the Suez Canal, in 1869, or its Panamanian cousin, in 1914.” writes Scott Borgerson. “With this sea change will come the rise and fall of international seaports, newfound access to nearly a quarter of the world’s remaining undiscovered oil and gas reserves, and a recalibration of geo-strategic power.”

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