Journey to the Sinking Lands

A witness to the world's first evacuation of an entire people due to climate change

A model argument

Ryecroft has pulled me up on something I wrote:

“Even more importantly, what is happening to the Carterets is exactly in line with our best models of what climate change will do to other people, on other islands and coastlines across the world.”

Ryecroft says this:

“I’m not sure I understand. Volcanic islands suffering erosion in an area of unexceptional sea level rise are experiencing inundation and the population have had to move. Which climate change models cover this? I would appreciate the details please.”

Alright. What I meant is that, yep, you’re never going to know for sure if what is happening to the Carterets is the result of global warming, a natural geological process (that’s your ‘volcanic islands suffering erosion…’), both or neither.

What counts is that this kind of inundation, slow starvation and population migration (I honestly didn’t mean that to rhyme) is the kind of thing that experts predict is going to happen a whole lot more as a result of climate change. So, whether or not, these islands here are moving as a direct result of climate change or not doesn’t really matter – we still need to pay attention and learn what lessons we can now, because we’re going to see a whole lot more people in this situation pretty soon.

And when I said ‘best models’, I was talking about this, from the IPCC:

Sea-level rise is expected to exacerbate inundation, storm surges, erosion and other coastal hazards, thus threatening vital infrastructure, settlements and facilities that support the livelihood of island communities…There is strong evidence that under most climate change scenarios, water resources in small islands are likely to be seriously compromised…Climate change is likely to heavily impact coral reefs, fisheries and other marine-based resources…It is very likely that subsistence and commercial agriculture on small islands will be adversely affected by climate change.”

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1 Comment»

  Hugh Bulford wrote @

So are you admitting that what you have repeatedly stated as fact (‘the world’s first climate change refugees’ etc, etc) on this site and in your BBC output is actually just conjecture – and pretty flimsy conjecture at that? If so, shouldn’t you try to set the record straight and undo the damage you’ve done?


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