Friday, January 04, 2008

Malaysia climate-proofs its economy

The Malaysian Cabinet is responding to the emerging cost and impact of climate change by setting up a special committee headed by the Prime Minister. Many countries still do not have national level structures with the highest political leadership to enable adaptation policies to be developed and implemented.

All governments need to prepare for climate change, especially since it will involve significant costs to the country. Waiting for a global agreement, even under a post-Kyoto scenario, will not reverse climate change in the short term. Governments need to take action now, and it has to happen at the highest level.

In many small island states, for example, the institutional structures for adaptation to climate change are not in place although the impacts are already being felt.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Coral Reefs reveal interesting trends in past sea-level rise

A new scientific paper published in Nature Geoscience, just over two weeks ago (16th December 2007) seems to indicate that rise in the sea level during the last interglacial period may have been dominated by a sudden rise in sea-level, followed by a decline in sea-level, and then rising again for a second time.

Apparently these finer scale fluctuations were not picked up by the traditional long-term data analyses of sea level. Although the time scale of these variations in sea level may differ within the context of global warming, these research results provides interesting insight on the expected trends in sea-level rise.

Whilst there is conclusive evidence that the sea level is indeed rising, the rate of this rise is still a matter of ongoing research. Many scientists are of the view that sea-level rise is accelerating well beyond the conservative projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The speed at which it rises bears consequence to how fast and to what extent we need to adapt.

How much time do we have ? Will the rise be like it was during the interglacial period?

You can read the entire paper at the Nature website.

Further reading: See my Bookmarks below

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A New Year for Climate Change

2007 was a sombre year for those already facing the threats of climate change but a good one for those at the forefront in convincing the world that climate change is indeed real and will change the world as we see it today. We managed to publish our fourth installment of the Climate Change Reports and won a Nobel Prize in the process. The UN Secretary General renewed UN efforts in bringing the issue of climate change on the international agenda, and the President of the Seychelles launched the Sea Level Rise Foundation, an initiative I am proud to be associated with. Bali was of course meant to be a turning point, but many participants left this small island with some pessimism. Al Gore's movie had a significant impact, and many governments are now rethinking their position on climate change.

I travelled the US, Europe, Africa and Asia to encourage the debate and broaden the perspective - progress was made but not enough. Adaptation is within reach, and we have a saying in our local Creole language - Whilst we are battling out the conclusiveness of the IPCC report 'the goat is eating the cabbage'. It's already happening. Those who denied the massive break-away of the arctic ice, were surprised with the extent of melted sea-ice in the arctic in summer 2007. What is happening there is frightening ( check out the Youtube movie below, if you are still in doubt).

The consequence of this is even more frightening - the countless low lying islands and coastal areas around the world are at risk more than ever before. Agreed, sea-ice is not the issue, but the ice on Greenland and on Antarctica is ALSO melting. Scientists, earlier this year described the extensive formation of melted ice 'rivers' emptying cold water into the sea.

So after many months of reflection, I am finally launching this blog on the first day of 2008, hoping that it will contribute to increased global action on climate change issues, and perhaps provide a platform for the voices of islanders to be heard. If you're an islander this is your forum, tell us what you are experiencing. We also need to develop the ability to adapt, let us work together to minimise the casualties - the first climate refugees.