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Waiting for the other shoe to drop

Written By: - Date published: 11:27 am, January 4th, 2012 - 35 comments
Categories: Economy, Social issues - Tags:

I read Colin James’s piece on the need for a resilient economy/society in yesterday’s ODT. A competent explanation of a risks facing New Zealand and an acknowledgement that New Zealand needs to design itself to withstand and exploit them. Nothing new to readers of The Standard. But are we building that resilience? James offers no opinion. The answer is ‘no’.

James defines resilience thusly:

“a strong, secure core, which can withstand shocks, plus enveloping material that is flexible, elastic, compressible and adaptable, to absorb, adjust and adapt to the shocks.

In this country we have strong foundations for resilience.

First, the natural advantages: abundant water, abundant high-quality food growing and catching capacity and abundant energy in a world short of water, food and energy; less direct harm ahead from climate change than almost every other country; distance from mayhem; space to breathe and think; clear skies; and a fresh/safe/natural country brand most others would die for.

Add the institutional and social advantages: stable democratic and legal institutions; a good education system by world standards; an inventive and adaptive people; a generally liberal people who have over 25 years invented biculturalism and begun to live with multiculturalism.”

OK, as far as it goes, but are we taking advantage of these foundations for a resilient economy?

Does selling nearly half of our electricity sector and the owner of our major coal reserves improve our resilience or weaken it? Obviously, it weakens it because the decisions future governments may wish to take to insure security of affordable energy supply to New Zealand’s economy will be constrained by the rights of the (foreign) minority shareholders whose interests won’t necessarily align with the interests of New Zealand. Energy is a strategic asset – giving away partial control over it to people whose only interest is short-term profit is not resilience-enhancing.

Does a government pogrom against the teachers’ unions starting with national standards, charter schools, league tables, and performance pay along with restrictions on right to strike enhance the resilience of our education system? No, it does quite the opposite – it funnels the best teachers towards the schools of the elite’s children and degrades the education of everyone else. That’s its intention and the long-term result is a bigger tail of under-achievement, with negative impacts on our society and economy that last generations.

Does a programme of more and more centralised government, where councils are folded into ‘supercities’ and executive government seizes dictatorial powers without due cause enhance our resilience? No. At the heart of resilience is strength in depth; the ability to organise and be self-sufficient not just at the national and regional level but community level too. That is being rapidly eroded by the government’s power grabs.

Is it resilient when we are expending 3.5% of GDP on importing oil, which powers nearly our entire road transport network, and a 10% price bump sucks another $700m a year out of our economy? Is it resilience-enhancing, in the face of rising oil prices driven by peak oil, to increase our dependency on imported oil with massive highway building projects, which don’t make economic sense even under the rosy official calculations? Is it resilience-enhancing to burn billions of dollars to get worthless assets, which hook us on to burning more oil when less and less is available? Obviously not.

Do attacks on the wages, work rights, and collective bargaining rights of New Zealanders enhance our resilience? No. They make us even more dependent on the whims of foreign owners and the good will of our bosses. A steady, secure, adequate income and meaningful employment is the basis of freedom. We are moving away from that at a rate of knots.

A resilient New Zealand is a land of well-educated, empowered citizens who have livelihoods that allow them to support their families and have a real say in the rules and decisions which affect their lives. It is a land where we are not reliant on overseas producers and owners whose interests don’t match our own for the necessities of a modern economy, where we retain ownership over the core of our economy and the ability to make things for ourselves.

It’s nice that pundits are finally starting to realise that resilience, not growth, will be the watchword of the next 50 years but lets see them actually challenge the government to get on with the job.

We are not building a resilient New Zealand under National, we are destroying it.

35 comments on “Waiting for the other shoe to drop ”

  1. aerobubble 1

    So some Chinese or Indian parents decide to abort their female fetus,
    and they get the ‘status’ of a male child. But when those men grow
    up and can’t find a female partner, what then? So essentially its
    paying back (as opposed to paying forward), male offspring are paying
    back their parents in higher status immediately (as parents of a boy) in return
    for increae likelihood they won’t find a partner to have children with.

    This is much like the World, who are forcing their grandkids to payback
    them in cheap oil today to fuel a consumer lifestyle without the
    possibility of their kids having the same luck.

    But where does it all lead? Well the thinking does not just stop at
    chldren, or energy, its been with us a long time. Take Hitler degenerate
    views about evolution, that the fit survive – so Ayrans can kill the unfit
    but evolution says no such thing! evolution says those that HAVE
    survived are the fittest. There’s a reason why dwarfism, homosexuality,
    autism, etc all exist, they help societies to grow empathy and acceptance
    of diversity, and even give different views of what it means to be human.
    Societies that killed the weak didn’t survive.

    At the core of ‘paying back’, forcing future generations to give
    up children, or live low energy lifestyles, or even premature death
    in a Nazi concentration camp, is the ideal that the lazy who can maintain
    a lie should be rewarded for their lazy thinking. Whether this be the
    lazy thinking that aborting a female fetus, or borrowing on future
    growth projections based about infinite oil reserves, or taking trapped
    carbon from under the crust and burning it, or as Hitler did argue
    that because he was the strong then he needed to defend his position
    by killing off those he thought weak (though they were not).

    Summing up, we live in a world Hitler created for us, that the strong
    must destroy the weak, and hold to lies despite all facts to the contrary.
    NZ is exporting its future, leaving its kids starving, its families fleeing
    for Australia, despite the highest commodity prices for a generation.
    Sorry but any statistic that says NZ is no one on humanity has its
    measure hopelessly flawed, especailly when the NZ economy is open
    to the world unlike many others (and so much be measured in light
    that it is the richer end of the city call the world),

  2. tsmithfield 2

    “Does a programme of more and more centralised government, where councils are folded into ‘supercities’ and executive government seizes dictatorial powers without due cause enhance our resilience? No. At the heart of resilience is strength in depth; the ability to organise and be self-sufficient not just at the national and regional level but community level too. That is being rapidly eroded by the government’s power grabs.”

    OTOH, “too many cooks spoil the brew”.

    “Is it resilient when we are expending 3.5% of GDP on importing oil, which powers nearly our entire road transport network, and a 10% price bump sucks another $700m a year out of our economy? Is it resilience-enhancing, in the face of rising oil prices driven by peak oil, to increase our dependency on imported oil with massive highway building projects, which don’t make economic sense even under the rosy official calculations? Is it resilience-enhancing to burn billions of dollars to get worthless assets, which hook us on to burning more oil when less and less is available? Obviously not.”

    Quite right. Which is exactly why we should be developing our off-shore oil reserves.

    • Ari 2.1

      In none of our democratic institutions do we have five hundred representatives, or other similar numbers that perfectly stable democracies in Europe or the States have managed. The fact is that in many ways we are under-represented both on local councils and in our Parliament. We are nowhere close to having too many cooks. Germany, after whom our MMP system is modelled, has 620 MPs and is an incredibly stable democracy.

      As to off-shore oil reserves… given that oil companies clearly do not have the safety practices in place to mine safely off-shore, I’d say that they should remain untouched purely on that basis, let alone the fact that we want to be moving to other fuels as soon as possible to minimise additional temperature increases, and reduce our potential future liability for climate refugees from pacific nations.

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        Germany has 82 million citizens: 620 federal reps give national representation at 1:131935 citizens. NZ has 120 mps for 4 million citizens, or 1:33333 citizens.
         
        I agree about offshore mining, though – why risk a $19bil p.a. tourist industry simply to support speculative exploration and unsafe, expensive extraction?

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          Our tourist industry is not going to last until 2025. Unless vistors start coming by steamers of course.

          • McFlock 2.1.1.1.1

            Which isn’t actually out of the question. Aircraft will and are taking a big hit, but that just means a resurgence in shipping and the “cruise” experience. 
             
            And if the economy does indeed crash that catastrophically to the point that international travel is broken, then deep sea drilling would also be not cost effective. So “drill baby drill” is still, on a strict economic basis, a dumb idea.
              

            • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.1.1

              “And if the economy does indeed crash that catastrophically to the point that international travel is broken, then deep sea drilling would also be not cost effective. So “drill baby drill” is still, on a strict economic basis, a dumb idea.”

              Not true. Shipping people around the world is very expensive because they demand to be treated humanely: they want comfortable seats, air conditioning, food, lavatories etc. Shipping goods around the world is much cheaper.

              • aerobubble

                I disagree. Planes for long haul will always be cheaper than trains. And planes from Auckland to Sydney will always be cheaper in time than the alternative. So I suspect those people whose time is valuable will be served, and long haul tourism packing out the plane will also be. What peak oil means is the car town mentality will change.

            • ChrisH 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Jets use 10x less fuel per passenger-km than passenger ships, because they are comparatively light and quick. Going backwards won’t work, unless it is to sail.

        • tsmithfield 2.1.1.2

          “In none of our democratic institutions do we have five hundred representatives, or other similar numbers that perfectly stable democracies in Europe or the States have managed.”

          Three word rebuttal:

          Sovereign Debt Crisis

        • Zetetic 2.1.1.3

          it’s absurd to only look at the number of federal representatives and compare that to NZ. How many state reps in Germany?

          And the whole point that James is making is that national representation alone isn’t enough.

          Back when we were the wealthiest per head nation in the world communities as small as Mt Albert had their own councils.

          • tsmithfield 2.1.1.3.1

            Expanding on my three word rebuttal:

            The sovereign debt crisis seems to be lacking resolution due to two key factors IMO.

            1. Politicians wanting to make popular rather than necessary decisions.
            2. Lots of politicians each with their own point of view therefore unable to come to an agreement on an effective decision for the way forward.

            So far as the sovereign debt crisis and the number of politicians is concerned, less is definitely more.

            • Zetetic 2.1.1.3.1.1

              Even if your causes of the crisis are correct, and I don’t think they are, your logic doesn’t follow. You’re always going to have some politicians (even if you’re anti-democracy, there’s still going to be some kind of power structure) – fewer politicians just means fewer checks and balances.

              It wasn’t too many local councils in NZ that caused the sovereign debt crisis, so pointing to the sovereign debt crisis as a reason for more centralisation of political power into the hands of Cabinet doesn’t make sense.

              • tsmithfield

                The flip side of more checks and balances is indecision and paralysis which can be fatal when quick action is required.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Indeed. We need good leaders willing to put their necks on the line, and willing to justify their decisions in detail after the fact.

                • aerobubble

                  Yes, not only do you need a scaffold, but you need to man it with competents, the alternative is not to have any government. This is why don’t trust the right, because they don’t want scaffolds, competence people pointing out the safety hazards, or any government intervention.

                  We need some government, and the less is better, but only less when it is BETTER. The problem I see it is we need people to watch the watchers, and that was where the rich use to come in, they would fund the civil rights movement, or the government watchdogs, but they all switchs to funding the foxes to watch where the chickens were laying.

        • aerobubble 2.1.1.4

          Germany has less representation. Please are you alright in the head. Germany *HAS* the EU parliament! Germans are represented there too! So please keep you NZ statistical stupor in check.

    • Ianupnorth 2.2

      We already have considerable meaningful energy sources that can be captured in clean way, problem is the start up costs are not cheap.
       
      I for one think that drilling for oil on the edge of the Pacific Rim of Fire is fraught with danger. Maybe they should drill for oil off Hawaii?

    • Colonial Viper 2.3

      Quite right. Which is exactly why we should be developing our off-shore oil reserves.

      Your point would be valid if the Government was developing oil, gas and coal mines owned and controlled by the NZ state.

      Your point is invalid because the National Government is doing all of the above to sell off to foreigners.

      In other words, National don’t give a fuck about making NZ resilient, they just care about flogging off our natural energy assets to foreigners who also don’t give a fuck about making NZ resilient.

      • Georgecom 2.3.1

        The oil discovered in NZ is shipped offshore, as global prices, for refining and we import refined fuel, at worlds prices, to power our vehicle fleet. The latter of course costs more than the former.

        Agreed that there is nothing in the Governments ‘plan’ (drill and hope poliicy) that presents a solution to oil price rises. If a state oil company drilled and a state oil company refined then there may be some possibility of insulation from high international oil prices. Haven’t seen any policy like that forthcoming from the John Key Government.

        Otherwise, NZ will simply be a part of the global circuit of energy.

        • lostinsuburbia 2.3.1.1

          The problem is though that a lot of our offshore “reserves” are in technically difficult conditions. Leaving aside the environmental risks of off-shore drilling aside, the high cost of investigation and explotation of those fields is significant and would be probably more that we could afford as a nation.

          I”m no fan of the oil companies but I’d rather they take on the financial risk of these fields than the NZ Government. Similar experience overseas shows that collaborations between several major energy companies are needed to exploit such resources and such investment does not always succeed.

          These fields also take significant energy inputs to develop, increasing costs and their impact on our energy reserves. For instance, a Saudi well producing sweet crude (which is our current major source of oil) produces energy at a ratio of 100:1 (100 barrels of oil produced for an energy investment of 1 barrel of oil), where as onshore fracking delivers 3:1. The more extreme the conditions faced with offshore reserves the worse the energy reserve will get, negating most of the effort.

          The other choke point in the process is our refining capacity. Marsden Point can only produce so much product, most of which is piped to Auckland. We would have significantly expand our refining capacity to meet demand – which again would be an expensive proposition. Refining also needs a affordable energy source to frack the crude oil into the various petrochemicals – currently natural gas is used (and which is piped from Taranaki). However, our natural gas reserves are dwindling so the difficulty would be in powering any new refineries (unless we want to ship LNG to NZ).

          There would also be the needed to greatly expand our national pipeline system (currently dedicated to natural gas) but also dock facilities for coastal tankers (if they are collecting oil/gas from wells are delivering it to our refineries/distribution points).

          Of course the alternative is to use less energy, but even with energy efficiency measures, we will still need plenty of petrochemicals for our agriculture (i.e. fuel to run harvesters, processing plants), emergency services, and distribution. Population growth will also force higher energy demands.

          Its a real problem, but there are not really any solutions currently. While we can improve our energy use, and switch some processes to electricity (e.g. some electric vehicles), oil and its products are just too damn useful and there are no reliable alternatives available (which I agree is a concern given the fears of peak oil)

          But energy self-sufficiency is not likely to happen, we are part of a global energy market whether we like it or not.

      • prism 2.3.2

        NACTs want to stride around doing important deals, having well heeled people call on them, shout them dinners and fine wines, and be seen as men (he embraces she) capable of doing the heavy lifting of big deals. Big deal! It will look good on their CVs, ordinary small businessmen in NZ will look with admiration at them, and they will be making precious contacts that will further their interests in post-politician days. NZs best interests don’t enter into it. To some extent Muldoon attempted to do this with the Taranaki fuel plants, but he didn’t get much credit for it when the market improved and it became uneconomic.

        Now I look at what I’ve written it provides part of the answer as to why Gerry Brownlee got appointed Chch supremo. Someone to do the heavy lifting?

    • mik e 2.4

      yeah right tsm where are these reserves and what volume what cost to bring the oil to market who’s going to own them .Figures have shown that even with a moderate find the economy will not benefit in fact its going to case a huge distortion in our currency value that will destroy our farming industry!
      Once again the rights answer is nothing more than a fallacy!

  3. James, I support your thoughts on education and would also say that it reveals much about the modus operandi of this government when they deliberately attack the education sector with radical change when there is little evidence to show it is necessary. Their intentions are not around improving outcomes for children but limiting the influence of the teaching profession and knee capping New Zealand’s largest union:

    http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.com/2011/12/government-attacks-new-zealands-highest.html

  4. prism 4

    James
    It has seemed to me a pointer to the brightness, the receptiveness, and well-informed aspect of a flexible New Zealand majority that we have such high use of libraries and night classes. To learn and adapt in the most advantageous way to the winds of change I thought would be more likely to come from this fertile garden of knowledge gatherers and thinkers.

    But the moves of right-wingers seem to be towards cutting down education to a prescripted, limited version where there is little intellectual curiosity, little understanding of the way society orders itself ie civics etc., historic changes in society and how hard it is to achieve change, how to judge the value of changes also and problem solving.

    I think that many who have gone into politics have succeeded to pass some test of their ability in business or elsewhere and have focussed on such an end and then carry that focus forward in a TINA way. They don’t understand much outside of the prescribed fashionable approach and asked to think outside their square, query ‘is there money in it’? before doing so.

    So they don’t consider a wide education for everybody of value, and are shutting it down and the wider thinking that tends to follow it, because they themselves never bother with it – they don’t read to understand the wider issues but to gain information to further their interests or to confirm their prejudices. And reading paper pages is out even librarians place technology before the actual physical resources that have built our understandings. Goggling at computers that insert technology as a step which can also be a barrier to our information stream is the latest money-making thing and that has much appeal to the machine-like minds of the top ants.

    • Jan 4.1

      Yep, same goes for Triangle Stratos and TVNZ 7. Sacrificed in favour of the Sky/Fox approach to news-gathering. In general though with the focus on enabling the old smokestack/” where there’s there’s muck there’s brass” approach to economic development (whether it be farms, mining, industry, transport  or energy generation) the government is busy solving the problems of 1912’s not those of  2012.

  5. Alan Howard-smith 5

    Particularly striking that Australia’s Gillard today goes out of her way to defend the presence of trade unions in Australian society and even their influence on the Australian Labor Party.

    Australia makes a stark comparator to us. So much of their competitive advantage is now about the relative strength of their collectivist institutions to ours. Their apparent redundancy reverses in any moment of crisis.

    Crises are apparently increasing in New Zealand, and yet Colin James fails to link crisis and public institutional capacity in a political sense. Witness the Christchurch earthquake response. The role of regional government there had been so circumscribed by the state, and so brutally amputated politically, that it had to set up an entirely new institution -CERA- to deal with the crisis. In David Lange’s response to Cyclone Bola he was able to get the Ministry of Works and the Army to work closely together for some time. Institutional redundancy really is necessary to have a consistently functioning country.

    How many more crises will it take for this government to ask us to unite in a more than emotional sense?

    Obviously Australian institutional strength provides superior disaster response. But even absent crisis, this does make their capacity stronger in other ways. The most prominent collectivist institutions Australia has is in they multiple layers of government; shire to city to state to federal to senate. Not only for the democratic resilience they provide, but also for the degree of bureaucratic specialization. This makes policy formation oddly stronger as with regular tension and overlap, the democratic contest is stronger between layers. Policy specialisation also makes for really attractive employment for public servants. None of that is now available here.

    One only wonder what an Australian State government would have offered to keep Fonterra at the Auckland sea port -compare for example what happens when Holden or Ford make noises about shutting manufacturing down in Victoria or South Australia. We seriously need governments who are prepared to strengthen our collective concerns into collective institutions making deals on our collective behalf.

    What we are seeing with so many of our best and brightest going to Australia is the competitive advantage of resilience made manifest. Mobile people like a strong set of political and cultural and economic institutions, and vote with their capital and their careers.

    The medium term effects of the Auckland restructure is the political hollowing-out to match the economic hollowing-out that is completed both with the regionalization of our local politics and the sale of our remaining state businesses.

    The alternative is to presume we are better off as disaggregated,, atomistic competitors running around by the thousand asking “what can I do? What can I do?”

    To me the will to collective strength – and the growth of compelling public institutions as a result – should be at the core of a new progressive program.

    • prism 5.1

      Google –

      Fonterra stunned by Maersk move | Stuff.co.nz
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/…news/news/…/Fonterra-stunned-by-Maersk-move
      26 Jul 2011 – Fonterra says it is as surprised as anyone that container shipping line Maersk has dumped Port Taranaki from its New Zealand service. … “Maersk ceasing the New Plymouth call certainly wasn’t part of our master plan.” …

      This is what happens (along with the Rena) when we step away from managing our own important services and infrastructure.

  6. randal 6

    well the nashnil gubmint is the party of business so lets see them gererate some jobs or do we just get the same tired old hacks repeating the same old tired cliches ad nauseum.
    if all else fails then I want some funding and a “VAN” for a project that I wont tell you what it is.

  7. lostinsuburbia 7

    Of course the other issue is that once the proverbial hits the fan there will be a fair few people that will want a piece of us.

    I’m not advocating turning us into a military state, but when resources start running out, international relations will get very messy and violent.

  8. Skeptic to the max 8

    You make a crucial point lostinsuburbia re resources running out. TVNZ7 Doco of the week (this week) called “Consumer”, attacks the heart of the world’s problems- hence NZ too; and the answer is not in the easy solutions proffered, it isn’t in the owning of ‘things’, the “GDP”, the Government, the economy.

    Whilst the analysis by Henderson above looks to the solution being ”  empowered citizens ….and have a real say in the rules and decisions which affect their lives.”; we are long past that ‘ideal’ and ability now. Who are we kidding, power in the hands of the people???  “That is being rapidly eroded by the government’s power grabs.”….power is not in the hands of the Government either. The much quoted 1% are in charge. The millions and billions of profit rule. That’s PROFIT, not costs, not the dollars the 1% might give to charity to appease their conscience, not the  minimum efforts or $$$ they purport to make in ethical??? efforts to save the planet; BUT PROFIT.

    The PEOPLE sold themselves out and the lives of those around them playing into the hands of the private profiteers. The threat was and still is in every household and today even from babyhood, our children are indoctrinated, and the solution to the “problem” of poverty, ‘slave’ wages, dying environments was because the first world fell into ‘individualism’ by own choice. We wanted things, more things than we knew what to do with, things that just perish. “Communalism” because of our wanting things disappeared.The wanting moved people past values of caring even about the negative consequences of where and at what cost a ‘product’ came to us. We’d be lying to deny that the constant aquisition of things, stupid things even# became a tool to measure ourselves by; our value became in the things we acquired to match the Joneses. We sucked in to the profiteers selling us the idea that unless we used or had this or that we were of lesser value.
     If people are exloited, poor, dying and the Earth’s resources are #F#d; first worlders played their part and at a phenominal rate we’re still doing it. We are the players in our own demise…don’t blame Governments they just assist with the rulemaking for the banks and coperate business. These profiteers when the chips are down do not even have loyality to their own nation, nor hang around to fix the mess. HEINZ a classic example today…shit on your own, # the people, sack em and move factory to good old NZ ‘cos the “profit margin” is better avoiding greater taxes, exploiting labour regulations and cheap labour.Cross fingers too when the new labour reforms proposed will help them literally contribute to a global ‘killing’.

    The Doco is really thought provoking and looks back from the 1950’s to now and from the shortest time in history shows how each and everyone is playing their part in their own destruction. “Us” first worlders shitting on others first just to fool ourselves that the inevitable is just not happening..?

    Here’s one aspect of the “problem” to ponder on…. a smirking Mr. Burns gleefully rubbing his clammy little hands together-: We have a Prime Minister who made the rich list at $55 million big ones, which is then still re-invested to make even more money, money, money. In one’s middle age tell me how obscene can that be…how the ###F### can you spend that much profit in a lifetime, WHAT FOR?? Only so many luxury houses can be lived in, only nth number of luxury cars, facelifts for the aged wife, private elite education,holidays…. and the irony is the same damn maggots that will eat his decomposing flesh also eat the people whom the PM exploited globally in his trading.

    Would $50 million back to say, fair wages or untouched rainforest, be less of an evil and the PM live on $5million until death ( without suffering much at all) be a better balance? And Jk is only a small minion in the scheme of profiteers of whom we are sustaining their power!

  9. randal 9

    just more words.
    if anyone proposes a concrete solution then its shoot em down quick.
    any movement towards a new economy means the old fogeys and their revenue streams get left behind and they will do all in their power to make sure that never happens and innovation and creativity are just words that accountants mumble when they are drunk at parties.

  10. J.Doherty 10

    While the Earth has always endured natural climate change variability, we are now facing the possibility of irreversible climate change in the near future. The increase of greenhouse gases in the Earth?s atmosphere from industrial processes has enhanced the natural greenhouse effect. This in turn has accentuated the greenhouse ?trap? effect, causing greenhouse gases to form a blanket around the Earth, inhibiting the sun?s heat from leaving the outer atmosphere. This increase of greenhouse gases is causing an additional warming of the Earth?s surface and atmosphere. A direct consequence of this is sea-level rise expansion, which is primarily due to the thermal expansion of oceans (water expands when heated), inducing the melting of ice sheets as global surface temperature increases.
    Forecasts for climate change by the 2,000 scientists on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) project a rise in the global average surface temperature by 1.4 to 5.8°C from 1990 to 2100. This will result in a global mean sea level rise by an average of 5 mm per year over the next 100 years. Consequently, human-induced climate change will have ?deleterious effects? on ecosystems, socio-economic systems and human welfare.At the moment, especially high risks associated with the rise of the oceans are having a particular impact on the two archipelagic states of Western Polynesia: Tuvalu and Kiribati. According to UN forecasts, they may be completely inundated by the rising waters of the Pacific by 2050.According to the vast majority of scientific investigations, warming waters and the melting of polar and high-elevation ice worldwide will steadily raise sea levels. This will likely drive people off islands first by spoiling the fresh groundwater, which will kill most land plants and leave no potable water for humans and their livestock. Low-lying island states like Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives are the most prominent nations threatened in this way.“The biggest challenge is to preserve their nationality without a territory,” said Bogumil Terminski from Geneva. The best solution is continue to recognize deterritorialized states as a normal states in public international law. The case of Kiribati and other small island states is a particularly clear call to action for more secure countries to respond to the situations facing these ‘most vulnerable nations’, as climate change increasingly impacts upon their lives.

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