Climate Feedback

Is this what the world’s coming to?

Olive Heffernan

This week on Nature Reports Climate Change, Amanda Leigh Haag looks at how climate change is increasingly becoming an issue of national security, raising the alarm on issues of border control and immigration policy globally.

The feature details how regions likely to bear the brunt of climate impacts are already beginning to look to neighbouring states for potential resettlement deals, while less vulnerable nations are considering the likely spillover of large-scale migration from areas impacted by severe drought or flooding.

This raises some interesting issues, such as whether adaptation should focus on protecting the rights of people to live in their home, rather than offering relocation programmes, and whether these scenarios are inevitable without drastic measures to prevent further warming….but more on that shortly.


  1. Report this comment

    Nigel Williams said:

    What is the world coming to…

    I am impressed and somewhat relieved to hear that some nations are actually coming to terms with the practical meaning of the climate change that is upon us.

    A lot of the holy grails of the We-can-cope-with-Business-As-Usual gang are being shattered as the portents of worse to come accumulate.

    IPCC has its predictions of a few centimetres. But these were based on the state of the art as at mid 2006. A year is a long time in the death of a planet.

    Now Hansen et al are saying the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is at least as vulnerable as Greenland.

    Hansen et al Climate Change and Trace Gases (May 2007)

    and then we have new information on how bad a year Greenland has had.

    Professor Robert Correll has advised that parts of the Greenland ice sheet are exuding like toothpaste towards the sea at 15 kilometres per year.


    A new NASA-supported study reports that 2007 marked an overall rise in the melting trend over the entire Greenland ice sheet and, remarkably, melting in high-altitude areas was greater than ever at 150 percent more than average.


    Remarkable Drop in Arctic Sea Ice Raises Questions

    Melting Arctic sea ice has shrunk to a 29-year low, significantly below the minimum set in 2005, according to preliminary figures from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, part of the University of Colorado at Boulder. NASA scientists, who have been observing the declining Arctic sea ice cover since the earliest measurements in 1979, are working to understand this sudden speed-up of sea ice decline and what it means for the future of Earth’s northern polar region.

    So with Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet alone holding enough water for 15m rise, all these have to do is melt 10% and every one from Bangladesh and all the great river delta communities are lining up at the East Cheam unemployment office.

    When we add in the fact that to fix all this and keep ourselves alive we will need an intense burst of building and access to energy, raw materials and technology but there are a few wrinkles in that plan too:-

    A Metal Scare to Rival the Oil Scare May 25, 2007, 10:17 am

    More bad news for carbon capture and storage 3 July, 2007

    Biofuels and pornography: time to reconsider the EU’s biofuels policies? 28 September, 2007

    So overall, we are now all definitely living in interesting times. There’s not much more to say, but there is a lot to do!

    Nigel Williams

  2. Report this comment

    Nigel Williams said:

    Hi Shocked!

    Please dont get tooo excited.

    This item a sad and by now thoroughly debunked bit of denialist spin. Maybe it a was “no news day” that induced The New Party to put this bit of old trash up for its reader’s entertainment?

    In a way the poor judge is trying to deny that nature is doing what nature does. He will have the same degree of success as the late King Canute.

    The scientist who was cornered by the judge regarding global warming was stuck with answering typically impossible questions along the very standard line of “Was the person of poor character you were seen entering the toilets with wearing a hat or not? Answer Yes or No!” He had to and did answer the narrow questions put to him accurately and truthfully, even if in doing so he was unable to tell the whole truth. Remember a court only seeks sufficient information to be able to make a decision; it does not seek ‘the whole truth’. There are numerous good technical rebuttals of this snow-job including commentary by the scientist himself, and I would suggest you check those out before you gain any comfort from this report.

    But putting that aside, it doesn’t matter if Gore is right or wrong or if people are persuaded that the world is flat. There is quite enough going on outside unpopular science, hidden agendas and smoke and mirrors to give us a few clues that something is amiss with our world.

    For example you could start with:

    The Artic

    “Arctic Sea Ice Shatters All Previous Record Lows”

    “Diminished summer sea ice leads to opening of the fabled Northwest Passage”

    “Arctic sea ice during the 2007 melt season plummeted to the lowest levels since satellite measurements began in 1979.”


    The Murray Darling Basin

    “…Water is scarce throughout the Basin, with low or zero irrigation allocations widespread.”

    “…Current water availability is the lowest for the River Murray System over the past 116 years…”

    Then Google “Dr James Hansen”, and make sure you read his latest papers updating the IPCC status.

    And there is plenty more where that came from, if you care to look.

    Basically; It has four legs, waggs its tail, has spots and barks. It is a dog. Likewise the the CO2 levels are increasing, the climate is warming, the ice is melting, the sea is rising, its raining more, its raining less; Whoever or whatever is causing it it is happening. Now I’m not trying to persuade you; mother nature will do that to you in due course. But please do lift your eyes up unto the hills and see what is happening. For your children’s sake.

    Please make it your civic duty to keep a close eye on these events and make up your own mind, just in case the non-believers are wrong.

  3. Report this comment

    JamesG said:


    I respect your concerns but the fact that we are more worried now about the state of the planet is largely due to the fact that we observe the planet more and communicate more thanks to technology. Weather has always been erratic: The idea that there was ever a stable climate anywhere just demonstrates that people have very short memories. Actual records show it’s not getting any wetter, hotter, drier or windier. The sea is rising but the rise is not alarming and does not correlated to man-made CO2 emissions. There are many good reasons to seek alternative energy sources and to pollute less and virtually everyone agrees on that and, believe it or not, some progress is being made. But get off your high horse and stop assuming that if someone isn’t scared then they aren’t educating themselves enough. That’s just pomposity. Your comments on Mr Gore’s film show us all that you only believe stories which scare you, whether right or wrong, so it is clearly you who needs a more open mind.

  4. Report this comment

    Nigel Williams said:

    Dear JamesG. The stories do not scare me, they inspire me to action.

    The state of my mind is less important that the state of the planet.

    Besides some folk seem to think Mr Gore has done a reasonable job of attenting to the issues at hand.

    Gore and UN Panel Win Peace Prize

    The Associated Press Friday 12 October 2007.

  5. Report this comment

    Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A. said:

    Open Letter,

    Please find below an email from a distinguished colleague and a personal friend of mine, with its request to you for assistance.

    Dear Steven,


    Climate change is non-linear. Once set in motion it is acceleratingly self-perpetuating. There is

    then only a small time-window within which human intervention has any (rapidly diminishing) chance

    of halting the process and returning the system to a stable state. Failure to act effectively

    within that window of opportunity would inevitably precipitate cataclysmic change on a par with the

    five mass extinction events known to have obliterated almost all life on earth.

    This WESTMINSTER BRIEFING (subtitled PLANET EARTH WE HAVE A PROBLEM) was delivered to a packed

    audience in the House of Commons in June 2007. It is now released in the approach to the Bali

    Meeting of the UNFCCC because it presents material not yet addressed by the IPCC, but which is

    absolutely critical to the decision-making process at and beyond that event.

    Click on (if the link is not active, copy and paste the address to your

    browser) then follow the link to BALI & BEYOND to access the Introduction, Summary for Policy

    Makers, Sample Presentations, and Book Order Form.

    FEEDBACK DYNAMICS and the ACCELERATION of CLIMATE CHANGE provides an essential briefing for every

    person and organisation involved in the UNFCCC Bali Meeting. Beyond Bali it lays the foundation for

    all future strategic engagement with the imperative task of climate stabilisation.

    Please do everything in your power to ensure that the material reaches:

    All delegates and participants involved in the UNFCCC Bali Meeting

    Political leaders and members of government at every level of society

    Business leaders with strategic responsibility

    Academics and research institutions working on climate change and environmental studies

    NGOs and organisations of the Civil Society

    Concerned citizens of all ages throughout the world community

    Friends and family, colleagues and contacts

    E-mail lists, groups, listings, networks, postings and web-sites

    With best wishes,

    David Wasdell

    Director: The Apollo-Gaia Project

    (Hosted by the Meridian Programme)

    Meridian House

    115 Poplar High Street

    London E14 0AE

    Tel: +44 (0) 207 987 3600



    [This E-mail scanned for viruses by Declude Version 4.3.46 using the F-Prot Antivirus engine Version 3.16f]

    Always, with thanks,


    Steven Earl Salmony

    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population

  6. Report this comment

    Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A. said:

    If we keep overpopulating Earth; if we keep conspicuously overconsuming limited resources; and if we keep endlessly expanding big-business activities and polluting the relatively small, evidently finite, noticeably frangible planet as we keep doing now, then a good enough future for our children cannot be assured, can it?

  7. Report this comment

    Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A. said:


    The current scale and rapid growth rate of the global economy cannot be sustained much longer, much less forever, on a planet with the size and make-up of Earth. Many intellectually honest and courageous people possess this knowledge of Earth’s limitations, and are standing up in larger numbers now and speaking out loudly so as to share their understandings with others.

    Given the purposes of too many leaders, of course, speaking out in intellectually honest and courageous ways are not examples of human behavior that support these leaders’ pervasively proclaimed view: only we know how to live. Afterall, have you ever heard one of these not-so-great leaders say something like, “Our way of life is non-negotiable. There is no other. It is either our way of life or else…….”?

    These leaders hold a monolithic, potentially pernicious view of the way the world works and, consequently, may present themselves in our time as a formidable challenge for humanity. The global challenge presented to humankind by this leadership could be every bit as formidable a global challenge as human-induced global warming.

    Here we want to objectively identify an overlooked but primary aspect of the distinctly human-forced predicament that is presented to humanity in these early years of Century XXI. I would like to submit that too many leaders among us, all espousing their insistence upon their one right way to live, present themselves to humanity and to life as we know it as a global challenge.

    Through ‘talking heads’ in the media and bought-and-paid-for politicians, super-rich powerbrokers have predominantly established their view about this world and what about it is most important to them. Can they say what they intend more clearly? What more can they say to be better understood? They report their message ubiquitously in the mass media.

    These leaders are making themselves crystal clear. They are all about endless economic growth, come what may. For any of them to so much as suggest an alternative to maximal expansion of human consumption, production and propagation activities now threatening to engulf the Earth, would be politically inconvenient, economically inexpedient, socially disagreeable and religiously intolerable.

    Nevertheless, it appears worth noting that their “24/7″ message via mass media endorsing unrelenting economic globalization could soon be generally recognized as a scientifically unsupportable fabrication. Their contrived, consensually validated ‘necessity’ for unbridled economic growth could be eventually seen as fraudent as well as an willful exercise of governmental and corporate malfeasence, all of it based upon the selfish interests of a tiny minority of wealthy and powerful people.

    These wealth accumulating and power-driven leaders and their not negotiable view of the right way for all human beings to live, I am supposing, will shortly stand out as an ominously looming threat to humanity. One day this threat will be given the attention it deserves. Sometime thereafter, this threat will be acknowledged and addressed in an intellectually honest and courageous way. Then the global threat posed by a small number of people advocating evermore patently unsustainable economic growth, come what may, will be confronted by the family of humanity.

    Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A.

    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population

  8. Report this comment

    Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A. said:

    A resolute call to action, Mr. Gore.

    If not you, then who?

    If not now, then when?

    The time has come, yet again, for you to run for the US Presidency. Afterall, you won the job once already. This may be the remaining unfinished work of your life.

    The United States was meant to lead the world in our time. Admittedly, things have not gone well recently; however, no other country has the wherewithall to do what is necessary.

    People around the world are looking to the United States for moral leadership, but apparently see our country as a woefully inadequate exemplar today.

    As you put it, since “we have to travel far quickly,” there is not time to waste….no sensible reason for waiting.

    All the current presidential candidates in the USA are not talking about the real issues of our time. You and you alone can “re-center” our national debate on issues like the unsustainability of increasing conspicuous per-human over-consumption of limited resources; the unsustainability of skyrocketing absolute global human population numbers; and the soon to become patently unsustainable, seemingly endless growth of large-scale industrial/corporate activities, now threatening to engulf the surface of the planetary home God has blessed us to inhabit and, I suppose, not to overwhelm.

    How can we help?


    Steve Salmony

    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population

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