coastal populations at risk

A study which identified urban populations at greatest risk from rising sea levels and more intense storms due to climate change ranks the Philippines as 10th most susceptible:

The 10 countries with the largest number of people living in this vulnerable, low-elevation [coastal] zone [less than 10 metres above sea level], include in descending order: China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, Egypt, the United States, Thailand and the Philippines.

Brings to mind (again) Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth which left me stunned the first time I watched it. Admittedly I owe that documentary another sit down, but one doesn’t easily forget the picture it painted of sunken megacities all over the world should global water levels rise.

A tinge of reassurance then that the above-study says that:

…sea levels are not expected to rise anywhere near the 10 metres of the low-elevation zone. The fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report estimated that sea levels are likely to rise in the range of 22-34 centimetres between 1990 and the 2080s.

2080s. Okay. But no license to be complacent as “this level could be significantly higher with accelerated melting of the Greenland and polar ice sheets.”

What do we do? Three types of responses are recommended to address these risks: migration, mitigation and modification.

Where do you and I fit in there?

Source: IPS

UPDATE: Read in Reuters today that “better architecture and energy savings in buildings could do more to fight global warming than all curbs on greenhouse gases.” Meaning the way to fight the global warming behemoth is through small, consistent steps from each of us, and not so much via grandiose countrywide efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions. The solution is literally in our hands!

Concrete tips we can all start doing NOW:

  • more blinds to keep out the sun in hot climates
  • switching to energy efficient lightbulbs
  • better insulation and ventilation
  • Avoid building a bigger house than you need
  • refurbish vs. demolish old buildings

According to UNEP Head Achim Steiner:

“The savings that can be made right now are potentially huge and the costs to implement them relatively low if sufficient numbers of governments, industries, businesses and consumers act.”

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