Monday, August 06, 2007

Would Barry Play in Bangladesh

Interspersed among the wall to wall coverage of Barry Bonds have been a few shots of the flooding in South Asia. That in Bangladesh is perhaps a wake up call that few are hearing.

There is severe flooding in over half the districts in Bangladesh. According to
Estimates of those left homeless varied, with Agence-France Presse reporting 25 million people across the region were forced to flee and that more than 1,400 died.
So, what does this have to do with Barry Bonds? Not much, other than the fact that the local media seems to feel Bonds is more important. There has been very little local coverage of this story. But, there is time. The flooding is not over.

I think that this is only an example of what is going to happen with increasing frequency as we continue our failure to deal with Global Warming. One of my favorite bloggers, Chris Mooney of Intersection, has also started to blog on weather / climate events at The Daily Green. In a recent post at Intersection, Mooney called my attention to an article in Newsweek giving us the Truth About Denial.

If you are reading this blog, I know that you don't need convincing. You are probably not a denier. The real question is that of what you are going to do about it. The policies that are coming from Schwarzenegger, et. al. are relatively comfortable for the petroleum industry. The entire idea of carbon trading is a sham, but that is what the Governator and his new Air Resources Board Chairman, Mary Nichols, are pushing.

The alternative view comes from George Monbiot and is clearly summarized by this column from The Guardian. The headline for this piece is pretty blunt. "Ministers know emissions trading is a red herring and won't work." He goes on to lambaste the British Government of Tony Blair. Doing the same to the US Government of George W. Bush would have been like a Dick Cheney hunting trip: too easy.

I like some of the recent TV Spots from Flex your Power. They have not gone viral on You Tube in the manner of an X-Games wipeout. That should tell you how many of us want to pay attention.

So why did I pick on Bangladesh? Without any rise in sea level, this country has severe flooding problems in years with heavy monsoons. As many as 700,000 hectares of crop land has been damaged or destroyed in this years floods. That is 1.8 million acres. However, I worry about a permanent displacement of the people who live on this land and the ongoing humanitarian crisis that we will face. I don't think that we are prepared for that.

We are not even prepared for the impact of a 1 Meter level sea level change in California. If you want to get a visual sense of that impact, take a look at this map.

The impact here is not so much the loss of farm land, or the displacement of people. It is the loss of fresh water for residential and agricultural use for much of this state.

If you want to understand more of the problem with today's political solutions, start be reading Monbiot's most recent (2006) book, Heat. There are no easy answers and no matter what anyone is pushing, emissions trading is not one of the effective hard answers.

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