Thursday, June 5, 2008

GASP!: Kiribati doomed by climate change?

Please see our previous GASP! series posts, which feature news stories designed to scare the crap out of you.

This story is so easy to poke holes in that it's like taking candy from a baby. Kiribati is an atoll, which if you are unaware is a volcanically-engineered islet that has basically been been built up by coral reef formation; it is not a classic island or land mass, like Japan for example.

Kiribati is not the only atoll in existence, and it is definitely not the only island or ocean-surrounded land mass in existence. If global warming-induced water rise is flooding it, what about the other surrounding atolls in the Pacific (and elsewhere)? Are they flooding and disappearing? Are other worldwide coastal areas flooding at the same rate?

Since this atoll is in the Pacific (where La Nina is currently driving global cooling for 10 years - ahem), and since this past record cold winter cooled the global mean temperature 0.7 degrees, why is Kiribati still flooding? If we're going to cool for 10 years (because of La Nina's "masking effect" on global warming), won't all rising water reverse for at least a decade?

I'm not denying that certain coastal areas erode or flood (look at New Orleans--a problem since its beginning). What about Venice? We know that we have flooded coastal areas, because we've seen the archaeological evidence. So is that a normal consequence of NORMAL climate change, or is human intervention speeding these processes? I assert that humans ARE NOT WARMING THE EARTH AND MELTING MORE POLAR ICE. CO2, even in increasing concentrations because of emissions, remains a MINOR GREENHOUSE GAS compared to H2O and methane.

AFP: Kiribati likely doomed by climate change: president:

WELLINGTON (AFP) — The president of the low-lying Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati said Thursday his country may already be doomed because of climate change.

"Where they have been living over the past few decades is no longer there, it is being eroded."

"At two degrees of global warming we are already destroying the places that people have called their homes for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years," he added.

The focus of attempts to reach a global deal to replace the Kyoto plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions moved to Bonn, Germany, this week where 2,400 negotiators are trying to hammer out an agreement to be signed by the end of next year.

Steiner said governments and individuals should not ignore climate change because of current crises over soaring food and oil prices.

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