Climate Change Disaster : Too Late for Prevention?

Flooding in Bangladesh in 2007. A serious rise in sea levels seems impossible to prevent. Photo by Sumaiya Ahmed / Flickr.

Low-lying island nations like the Maldives — they’re goners now, let alone in a couple of generations, when they will be interesting places for scuba outings.

By Steve Russell / The Rag Blog / May 18, 2009

I was supposed to be in Nashville this weekend with Al Gore, getting updated on the very latest climate science. A family problem has kept me away, but I’ve been paying enough attention regularly to be pretty pessimistic.

I’m thinking that it’s time to give up prevention, more or less, and focus policy on mitigation.

For some areas of the country, that means building codes should start now to anticipate a serious rise in sea level that it seems impossible to prevent. We are talking about either copping technology from The Netherlands or allowing some of the most expensive real estate in the country to be immersed: South Florida, the Bay Area in California, Manhattan Island. Adjust the building codes now and mitigation is cheaper in the coming generations.

For those who would get nasty with China and India — pish and tosh. Not only is there a lot of truth in their arguments, they are going to hurt so much more than us from their own failure to see the writing on the wall that anything we could do would be piling on. As in, two of the largest urban areas of China and most of the Ganges Delta under water.

Low-lying island nations like the Maldives — they’re goners now, let alone in a couple of generations, when they will be interesting places for scuba outings.

Agriculture will be disrupted, not destroyed. We are better fixed than less developed countries to keep our farmers up to date on which crops will no longer work and which will.

But countries where agriculture is focused in river deltas — say, Egypt — are going to have problems unless wheat learns to drink salt water.

Is it possible to advocate mitigation policies when we could not sell prevention policies? I dunno, but what are the choices?

Cap and trade didn’t accomplish shit in Europe, something Obama knows and could account for… if the Repugs and Conservadems were not poised to kill ANY cap and trade, while a direct carbon tax (the simpler solution) is as off the table as single payer health care and for the same reason — smart people know it’s the best idea but there are too many knuckledraggers remaining in Congress for the best ideas to have traction.

When will we learn that there’s no negotiation with Mother Earth?

The Rag Blog

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4 Responses to Climate Change Disaster : Too Late for Prevention?

  1. Soukvilay says:

    you know about the Copenhagen Summit? If anything, that is something that could be the best chance we have to manage climate change.

    Check out the ad I made as part of a contest and vote for it if you feel it did a good job =)
    And sign the petition it advertises too.

    Just follow these steps:
    2.Search “Billy” and click “GO!”
    3.Vote thumbs up!
    4.Post this on your blog or Facebook too to help it spread!

    Thanks everyone reading this! Great post too.

  2. Re: agricultural adaptation: Canada has started an interactive website to map the effects of climate change on the hardiness zones for various plants. A segment I saw on TV last night said that the range of sugar maples, in terms of temperatures in which they can flourish, at least, has now extended from just around the US border to the far reaches of the Canadian North.

  3. Theresa says:

    The biggest threat to our environment is also a dysfunctional monetary system having us produce 4 to 5 times more in order to cover the created out of thin air fait bailout currency. Society then has to cut more trees, produce more “stuff” and we even have to work 2 or 3 jobs to keep up with the bubbled money system which is not even money but debt, IOU’s or notes. Honest money act is what we need, not actors pretending to care about the environment then exploting us all like hamsters running in a cart wheel.

  4. Steve Russell says:

    Shucks, Theresa, that’s all money has been ever since we went off the gold standard–debt.

    You are right that we have to much of it.

    However, I don’t agree that all spending is environmentally unsound. Indeed, we need a lot more expenditures on renewable energy before we could think about dialing back. We lack an even adequate grid, let alone a smart one. We need to subsidize solar up to grid parity like Germany did until economies of scale kick in. And there’s lots more….

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