threegenerationsleft

human activity and the destruction of the planet


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20 Countries Most At Risk From Sea Level Rise

From:  https://weather.com/science/environment/news/20-countries-most-risk-sea-level-rise-20140924

Climate Central just completed a novel analysis of worldwide exposure to sea level rise and coastal flooding. They found that 147 to 216 million people live on land that will be below sea level or regular flood levels by the end of the century, assuming emissions of heat-trapping gases continue on their current trend.  Only countries with a total population of over 1 million were included in the analysis.  This means that most island nations do not appear in their tables, which are copied below:

CCTable


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Electric Cars and their need for cobalt

An article in the Financial Times by David Pillings last week identified a growing problem associated with the mining of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

With the increase in the production of electric cars, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles, there is an increasing demand for cobalt, used in their batteries. The greatest availability for cobalt appears to be in the Congo, a country riven with conflict, corruption and extreme poverty.  Whilst an increased demand for cobalt ought to help the country in tackling poverty, this is apparently not happening. Some of the wealth has apparently disappeared and the rest has gone into the pockets of the foreign mining companies.

The Congo is rich in many minerals: gold, diamonds, tin, coltan, copper and cobalt.  Local Congolese may have the benefit of working in these mines but they are paid very little and the work is dangerous.  Many of them are children.

And it is not only electric car batteries that need cobalt.  All kinds of other gadgets make use of it: cell phones, tablets, laptops and other portable electronic gadgets However, very few people know that cobalt, the element needed to produce these batteries, is the product of underpaid adults and children working in sub-human conditions in the mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The DRC is the source of about half of the world’s production of cobalt.

congo_child_workers_19012016_620_413_100

child workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Quite clearly, if electric cars are to be the vehicles of the future, urgent investigations into the practice of corporate mining companies need to be made.

 


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Oxford Research Group’s July Briefing: Climate Change, Migration and Security by Paul Rogers

The full briefing can be found through the following link:

http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications/paul_rogers_monthly_briefing/climate_change_migration_and_security

This article examines the reasons behind migration from Africa and the Middle East to Europe and concludes that it is not so much due to conflict and war in the countries of origin but more due to the combined effects of climate change and economic marginalisation.

The economic factors associated with migration are described clearly by Rogers, as follows:

The first is the awareness among some millions of relatively marginalised peoples that their life chances may both be dismal and unlikely to improve. For many hundreds of thousands of people one such response is to seek to migrate to wealthier regions where work may be available. Typically in such circumstances, extended families or even wider communities may share resources to enable a fit young man to attempt the journey, hoping to succeed, find work and then send money back home and perhaps even enable relatives to join him. The journey may be fraught with danger but the rewards are sufficient when measured against the levels of desperation.

Such migratory pressures may be difficult to explain generically, given that many countries across sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing modest degrees of economic growth, but there is abundant evidence that this economic success is not shared equitably. At the same time, improving literacy and communications make marginalised communities all too aware of their predicaments. Given that there appears to be little prospect of moving towards more equitable economies, the expectation must be that migratory pressures will be maintained.”

Migrants drawning in the Mediteranean April 2015

An overloaded small boat sinking in the Mediterranean Sea

Climate change is discussed in a section on environmental factors, as follows:

In relation to climate change, two elements concerning migration are particularly relevant. One is that in many parts of the world the process is accelerating and the second is that its effects are geographically asymmetric. The rate of change in the near Arctic is currently exceeding the prediction of the most reliable computer simulations but there is also growing evidence that this is also happening in many regions across the tropics and sub-tropics. In these regions the main effects are increases in temperature and decreases in rainfall, the latter because of a trend for rainfall to be distributed away from land masses and towards the oceans and the polar region. The primary impact of this is on the ecological carrying capacity of tropical and sub-tropical agricultural systems, with the capacity to produce food much diminished.

Perhaps most important of all, this is a phenomenon that is already apparent in many parts of the Global South – it is not something for the future but is happening now. Moreover, it is directly affecting the displacement of people. Last month the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) published its Global Trends report ahead of World Refugee Day on 20 June. According to the report, a record high of 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes in 2016. The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) last month predicted that:

“By 2025, 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity, and two thirds of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions.”

That means that nearly one-quarter of the world’s population could be living on less than 500m³ of total available fresh water per year. That is Currently, World Bank data lists at least 27 countries surviving under such conditions. While a few of them, like Israel, Singapore, Malta and the Gulf States, have the wealth to invest in desalination, storage, imports or draining aquifers of millennia of deposited water, this will not be the experience of most. Indeed, even most such high-tech schemes may only last for decades, as long as the aquifers or oil wealth available.

Notably, the list of countries already experiencing absolute water scarcity includes all of the Arabian peninsula, North Africa (except Morocco) and the Levant (except Lebanon) and large parts of Central and Southwest Asia and the Horn of Africa. Some of the most critically affected countries included Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Syria. It may be no coincidence that these countries are some of the world’s most conflict-affected, nor that they have produced some of the largest volumes of refugees in recent years.”

The article concludes that this is a situation to be faced now, rather than in the future and a list of four action areas are provided:

  • A much more rapid transition to ultra-low carbon economies across the industrialised world in order to mitigate the causes of climate change.
  • Assistance to the countries across the Global South that are most affected by climate change to mitigate the effects, not least in changes in agricultural practice.
  • Assistance to the same countries to develop low-carbon economies such that they may further develop and industrialise without amplifying climate change.
  • Investment in water storage and carbon-neutral desalination technologies to mitigate the impact of fresh water shortages, especially in the Global South.


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Dozens of craters opening up in Siberia: scientists link this to climate change

Reports from several sources are providing information about craters forming in the frozen north of Siberia over the last three years, some of them associated with the sound of explosions, which light up the sky.  The most likely cause of this is global warming, which is melting the ice and releasing the melting methyl hydrate, which has previously been trapped underground.

Satellite images suggest a link with pingos which form when ice is trapped between layers of earth.  See: http://uk.businessinsider.com/russian-exploding-permafrost-methane-craters-global-warming-2016-6?r=US&IR=T

Whatever the cause, it is a reason for great concern, for the release of methane into the atmosphere is going to significantly speed up global warming.

The following photograph was released by the Siberian Times:

inside b1 people

Once the craters have formed it would appear that they grow in size and fill up with water.

There have been several reports on the phenomenon, with photographs, as follows:

Daily Mail ; Business Insider; National Geographic; Live Science; Siberian Times; Science Alert; slate.com;  CNBC; Huffington Post etc