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Climate change killing Tuvalu & Tokelau

Written By: - Date published: 9:47 am, October 6th, 2011 - 9 comments
Categories: climate change - Tags:

The low-lying island nations of Tuvalu and Tokelau have declared water emergencies and parts of Samoa are rationing water. Climate change has raised the sea level so that what little freshwater lens the islands have has been reduced. Higher temperatures evaporate more of it. Climate change is also causing more frequent and severe La Ninas, which causes droughts.

This is not going to get better. It’s going to get worse. The sea level will keep on rising, the temperature will get hotter, and extreme weather events will become more common. That’s even if we were to stop emitting greenhouse pollution right now. We’re not doing that.

The situation for low-lying islands will become untenable. We’ll waste a hell of a lot of wealth trying to pretend otherwise and keep the islands going with ridiculous measures like shipping in water. But their fate is inevitable. They are the canaries in the coal-mine for all of us. Will we continue to ignore the warning?

9 comments on “Climate change killing Tuvalu & Tokelau”

  1. alex 1

    Sorry guys, but we really want our SUVs and large houses, so you’re just going to have to get better at swimming.

    Seriously though, New Zealand should lead the way and offer every resident of those islands full citizenship to New Zealand and a loan for a house.

  2. Joe Bloggs 2

    Climate change has raised the sea level …

    And Plate Tectonics have lowered the islands. Such is the cycle of nature.

    • queenstfarmer 2.1

      Hmmm, haven’t heard that one before JB. Citation?

      But in response to Eddie’s assertion that “their fate is inevitable”, what about this:

      Climate change may not be inundating Pacific islands: study

      New research has cast doubt on warnings that rising sea levels caused by climate change are slowly inundating low-lying Pacific islands.

      Scientists have studied 27 low-lying Pacific islands, comparing aerial photos from 60 years ago with modern satellite images, according to an article published Wednesday in The New Scientist.

      Paul Kench of the University of Auckland in New Zealand and Arthur Webb at the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission in Fiji found only four of those 27 islands had declined in size despite an average rise in sea level of 12 centimetres (4.7 inches) during the 60-year period.

      Half of the rest had remained the same size and the other half had increased in size.

      • Afewknowthetruth 2.1.1

        ‘despite an average rise in sea level of 12 centimetres (4.7 inches) during the 60-year period.’

        Oh, so it’s Shangahia, New York, London, Christchurch etc. that are risk then? That’s so much better.

        • lprent

          I’m always amazed at the ability of people to not think in geological timescales. Have you ever looked at the the actual deformation rates of plate tectonics? In extreme examples you can measure it in a few centimeters per year horizontally (typically seafloor movements). Vertical movements are a lot less and only really happen when a plate is butting up against another (like the Himalayas or the new guinea mainland) or a plate is getting subducted at the edge of the subduction zone (not a hundred or so kilometres away).

          But in any case you are looking at a process that is not significantly measurable in any human timescales. I’d suggest you reread the paper you referenced looking for vertical deformation rates (rather than the horizontal ones I suspect you’re looking at) and the timescales required to move the 5cm vertically on a seafloor plate. That is the global change from straight thermal expansion of water over the last 50 years.

          Basically you are mindlessly indulging in regurgitation of a strawman argument by the scientific morons like Wishart….

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      But that’s just it Jo Blo, anthropogenic climate change isn’t the cycle of nature.

  3. Afewknowthetruth 3

    Watch the video here for the ‘unspeakable’ truth about where we are headed:


  4. randal 4

    bring a little water Sylvie. bring a little water NOW!

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