Saturday, March 31, 2012

Extreme Weather Threatens Rich Ecosystems

Extreme weather such as hurricanes, torrential downpours and droughts will become more frequent in pace with global warming. Consequently, this increases the risk for species extinction, especially in bio diverse ecosystems such as coral reefs and tropical rainforests.

Human impact means that flora and fauna become extinct at a rate 100–1000 times higher than normal. Climate change has been deemed as one of the main causes of species depletion.

A research team in theoretical biology at Linköping University has, through the use of mathematical modelling and simulation, studied how the dynamics of different types of ecosystems may be affected by significant environment fluctuations.

Linda Kaneryd, doctoral student and lead author of a study recently published in the journal, Ecology and Evolution, says the results were surprising.

“Several previous studies of food web structures have suggested that species-rich ecosystems are often more robust than species-poor ecosystems. However at the onset of increased environmental fluctuations, such as extreme weather, we see that extreme species-rich ecosystems are the most vulnerable and this entails a greater risk for a so-called cascading extinction.” More


Friday, March 30, 2012

Spurring Climate Change Adaptation in Seychelles Schools through Rainwater Harvesting

The republic of Seychelles is vulnerable to particular climate change effects and challenges which include sea level rise, increase in sea surface temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns with short periods of heavy rainfall during the rainy season and severe droughts during the dry season being a common occurrence. These effects have adverse impacts on the health and functioning of ecosystems and consequently on the wellbeing of humans as they affect the social and economic systems that are central to human existence.

This problem of water scarcity is further compounded by the ever increasing demand for water occasioned by increased economic and social development as well as population growth. To address this, the country invested heavily in the construction of reservoirs and desalination plants, but this didn’t help but instead skyrocketed the use of fossil fuel which only helped to emit more GhGs. Increased school population and the local educational campaign to green school grounds, resulted in increased demand for water resulting in high water bills.

In an effort to address this and at the same time demonstrate adaptation to climate change in Schools, the UNEP/UNDP CC-DARE project with financial support from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), assisted Seychelles with a timely-targeted rainwater harvesting project.

The objectives were to harvest rain water from school roofs so as to meet the needs of selected schools and to reduce the cost of water bills, educate school children on the impact of climate change on our water resources and on the methods used to adapt to climate change, raise awareness among the general public on climate change impacts on the Seychelles and on rainwater harvesting as a means of adapting to water problems caused by climate change and finally share the water harvesting experiences of the schools with other organizations.

The Environmental Education Unit in collaboration with the Environment Department, the Water Division in Public Utility cooperation, and the Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S), Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) and Sea Level Rise Foundation all NGO partners implemented the project helping build the capacities of citizens in the country and the CC-DARE provided the requisite technical backstopping that ensured the projects implementation progressed as per the plan and the project objectives were achieved. The project soon moved from schools to communities. More


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Scientists pin down historic sea level rise

LONDON (Reuters) - The collapse of an ice sheet in Antarctica up to 14,650 years ago might have caused sea levels to rise between 14 and 18 metres (46-60 feet), a study showed on Wednesday, data which could help make more accurate climate change predictions.

The melting of polar ice could contribute to long-term sea level rise, threatening the lives of millions, scientists say.

Sea levels have increased on average about 18 centimetres (7 inches) since 1900 and rapid global warming will accelerate the pace of the increase, experts say, putting coastlines at risk and forcing low-lying cities to build costly sea defenses.

Scientists last month said that thinning glaciers and ice caps were pushing up sea levels by 1.5 millimetres a year, and experts forecast an increase of as much as two metres by 2100.

A very rapid sea level rise is thought to have occurred 14,650 years ago but details about the event have been unclear.

Some past sea level records have suggested glacier melt led to a 20 metre increase in less than 500 years.

But uncertainty lingered about the source of the melt, its force and its link to the changes in climate. More


Saturday, March 24, 2012

New research lowers past estimates of sea-level rise

The seas are creeping higher as the planet warms. But how high could they go? Projections for the year 2100 range from inches to several feet, or even more.

The sub-tropical islands of Bermuda and the Bahamas are two seemingly unlikely places scientists have gone looking for answers.

The cliffs and ancient reefs on Bermuda and the Bahamas have lured fossil-hunters for decades. The land on the Bahamas, for example, has a foundation of fossil coral; the stone is derived from the disintegration of age-old coral reefs and seashells.

These areas are now attracting scientists investigating global sea level rise.

By pinpointing where the shorelines stood on cliffs and coral reefs in the Bahamas and Bermuda during an extremely warm period 400,000 years ago, researchers hope to narrow the range of global sea-level projections for the future. After correcting for what they say was sinking of these islands at that time, scientists estimate that the seas rose 20 feet to 43 feet higher than today--up to a third less than previous estimates, though still a drastic change.

The results are reported in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

"Our research provides a simple explanation for high beach deposits [such as fossils in the Bahamas]," said the paper's lead author Maureen Raymo, a scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.


Average global sea-level rose eight inches since the 1880s, and is currently rising an inch per decade, driven by thermal expansion of seawater and melting of glaciers and ice sheets, including the still mostly intact ice in Greenland and West Antarctica.

In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that the seas could rise up to two feet by 2100.

That number could go higher depending on the amount of ice melt and the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions.

The United Nations estimates a five feet sea-level rise would be enough to swamp 17 million people in low-lying Bangladesh alone.

The new study factors in the loading and unloading of ice from North America during the ice ages preceding the long-ago sea-level rise. More


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Barbados Employment Opportunity




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For further information please visit our website

Closing date for applications is Monday 2 April 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Caribbean Mobilises Funds for Ten-Year Climate Plan

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Mar 16 (IPS) - Failure to adapt to climate change will derail the development aspirations of the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom), researchers warn, siphoning off an average of five percent of 2004 gross domestic product regionwide by 2025.The predicted costs could rise to as much as 75 percent by 2100 for smaller nations, says the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

Meeting in Suriname last week, Caricom leaders acknowledged the severity of the threat, adopting a common strategy dubbed the "Implementation Plan for the Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change".

The problem now is how to pay for it.

The CCCCC, which drafted the plan at Caricom's request, noted that "these concerns will require both adaptation and mitigation actions, which will necessitate significant and sustained investment of resources" that Caribbean countries will be unable to raise on their own.

"These climate challenges are compounded by the fact that Caricom states are relatively small, have an exceptionally high level of external debt - in some instances above 100 percent of GDP - and depend heavily on expensive imported fuel," Dr. Kenrick Leslie, CCCCC's executive director, told IPS.

He noted that fuel prices "reached 147 dollars per barrel in 2008, with 21 percent of GDP, or four times the food import bill of four billion dollars, being expended on this product in 2010.

"This means that Caricom states do not have the necessary resources to implement adaptation programmes," he said, adding "given the scale of these costs, (it) will mean that the economies of the Caricom states are in perpetual recession."

Leslie said that socioeconomic development and adaptation measures, such as replanting of mangroves, better land use planning, and building coastal defence structures against rising sea levels are closely intertwined.

"Adaptation is increasingly described as climate resilient development or development under a hostile climate. It is the ability of states to withstand the vagaries of a changing climate, or even if impacted negatively, how quickly they are able to response and rebound," he said. More


Global Sea Level Likely to Rise As Much As 70 Feet in Future Generations

Scientists looked back in time—in the geologic record—to see the future

Washington, D.C. - Even if humankind manages to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)—as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends—future generations will likely have to deal with a completely different world.

One with sea levels 40 to 70 feet higher than at present, according to research results published this week in the journal Geology.

The scientists, led by Kenneth Miller of Rutgers University, reached their conclusion by studying rock and soil cores taken in Virginia, New Zealand and the Eniwetok Atoll in the north Pacific Ocean.

They looked at the late Pliocene epoch, 2.7 million to 3.2 million years ago, the last time the carbon dioxide level in Earth’s atmosphere was at its current level and when atmospheric temperatures were 2 C higher than they are now. Earth with a sea level rise of six meters. Imagine a possible future rise of 70 feet. Credit: NASA

“The difference in water volume released is the equivalent of melting the entire Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets, as well as some of the marine margin of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet,” said H. Richard Lane, program director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the work.

“Such a rise of the modern oceans would swamp the world’s coasts and affect as much as 70 percent of the world’s population.”

“You don’t need to sell your beach real estate yet, because melting of these large ice sheets will take centuries to millennia,” Miller said.

“The current trajectory for the 21st century global rise of sea level is 2 to 3 feet due to warming of the oceans, partial melting of mountain glaciers and partial melting of Greenland and Antarctica.” More



Monday, March 19, 2012

Water and Food Facts for World Water Day

March 22 is World Water Day, and its theme this year—water and food security—couldn’t be more pressing. But what do we really know about water—where it goes, what it’s used for, and how to preserve it? Here are a few water facts to get people thinking about what the “food and water crisis” really means, and how we can begin to change things.


India, China and the United States together account for about one-third of the water extracted each year globally.

Over 90 percent of the water consumed globally by humans is used for agriculture.

Irrigation and Groundwater

Only 16 percent of world’s cropland is irrigated. But because irrigated land is more than twice as productive, that land accounts for 36 percent of the food we harvest.

To meet the constant demand for irrigation, countries are increasingly using more and more non-renewable groundwater. According to the United Nations, groundwater extraction has tripled in the last half century. India and China’s use of groundwater grew the most – today these countries use ten times as much groundwater as they did in 1950.

The amount of groundwater the world uses is so huge, it’s contributing to rising sea levels – as much as 25 percent of the observed amount in recent years. That means that an enormous amounts of water drawn from underground aquifers is never replaced. Or as Duke University’s Bill Chameides puts it, “Mankind is moving buckets and buckets of water from land to the ocean.”

The amount of groundwater the world uses is so huge that it’s also changing local climates, and it may bemasking the effects of global warming, according to research published in Climate Dynamics. This masking effect is most striking over North America, India, the Middle East and East Asia.

Pumping groundwater consumes enormous amounts of energy. In India, approximately one-fifth of the nation’s total electricity consumption goes toward pumping groundwater for irrigation. In the most important food producing areas, that number is much higher.

Virtual Water

Almost everything we do—from growing food, to making clothes and computers and automobiles, to generating electricity requires water. “Virtual water” refers to the amount of water it takes to produce and transport a commodity. Check your own water footprint here.

Many water-stressed nations are today virtual water exporters. India is the largest net exporter of virtual water.

Climate Change and the Future

According to the OECD, by 2030 almost half of the world’s population will be living under severe water stress.

Globally, heat waves and extreme drought could increase under climate change. The impact will be worse in some areas. According to research by Lamont-Doherty scientists at the Earth Institute, by mid-century dustbowl conditions seen in the 1930s will become the new norm for the southwestern United States.

Water stress threatens the grid. Conventional powerplants – hydroelectric, coal-fired, gas fired and nuclear—require tremendous volumes of water to run, accounting for 50 percent of water withdrawals in the United States. According to a study for the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, the convergence of population growth, rising demand and drought could cause huge water shortages and force powerplant shutdowns.

What You Can Do

Think about diet. The amount of water it takes to produce different kinds of food various tremendously. The water footprint of beef is particularly egregious, consuming anywhere from 2500 to 5000 gallons of water per pound. Consider cutting back, or switching to grass-fed beef, which has a significantly lower water footprint. More




Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fukushima, Europe's nuclear test

Madrid, Spain - Seen from Europe, the irrationality of the political and media discourse over nuclear energy has, if anything, increased and intensified in the year since the meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Yet a dispassionate assessment of nuclear energy's place in the world remains as necessary as it is challenging.

Europeans should not pontificate on nuclear energy policy as if our opinion mattered worldwide, but we do. On the other hand, Europe does have a qualified responsibility in the area of security, where we still can promote an international regulatory and institutional framework that would discipline states and bring about greater transparency where global risks such as nuclear power are concerned.

Europe is equally responsible for advancing research on more secure technologies, particularly a fourth generation of nuclear reactor technology. We Europeans cannot afford the luxury of dismantling a high-value-added industrial sector in which we still have a real comparative advantage.

In-depth coverage one year after triple disaster

In Europe, Fukushima prompted a media blitz of gloom and doom over nuclear energy. The German magazine Der Spiegelheralded the "9/11 of the nuclear industry" and "the end of the nuclear era", while Spain's leading newspaper El Pais preached that supporting "this energy [was] irrational", and that "China has put a brake on its nuclear ambitions". But reality has proven such assessments to be both biased and hopelessly wrong.

True, a few countries - Belgium, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland, with Peru the only non-European country to join the trend - formally declared their intention to phase out or avoid nuclear energy. These decisions affect a total of 26 reactors, while 61 reactors are under construction around the world, with another 156 projected and 343 under official consideration. If these plans are realised, the number of functioning reactors, currently 437, will double.

But, more interestingly, the nuclear boom is not global: Brazil is at the forefront in Latin America, while the fastest development is occurring in Asia, mostly in China and India. If we compare this geographical distribution with a global snapshot of nuclear sites prior to the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown in the United States in 1979, a striking correlation emerges between countries' nuclear energy policy and their geopolitical standing and economic vigour. More

To make the transition to alternative energy and hopefully nuclear fusion, we are going to have to continue using nuclear. Having said this, I will say that we have to retrofit all the 60+ year old nuclear plants to a vastly higher safety standard. We must also start using the latest nuclear reactor technologies, the fourth generation designs like the Toshiba 4s, TerraPower’s Travelling Wave and the Hyperion design. These are all a great deal safer and proliferation proof. You may want to read Power To Save The World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy by Gwyneth Cravens and Richard Rhodes. Editor


Entire nation of Kiribati to be relocated over rising sea level threat

The low-lying Pacific nation of Kiribati is negotiating to buy land in Fiji so it can relocate islanders under threat from rising sea levels.

In what could be the world's first climate-induced migration of modern times, Anote Tong, the Kiribati president, said he was in talks with Fiji's military government to buy up to 5,000 acres of freehold land on which his countrymen could be housed.

Some of Kiribati's 32 pancake-flat coral atolls, which straddle the equator over 1,350,000 square miles of ocean, are already disappearing beneath the waves.

Most of its 113,000 people are crammed on to Tarawa, the administrative centre, a chain of islets which curve in a horseshoe shape around a lagoon.

"This is the last resort, there's no way out of this one," Mr Tong said.

"Our people will have to move as the tides have reached our homes and villages."

Mr Tong said the plan would be to send a trickle of skilled workers first, so they could merge more easily with the Fijian population and make a positive contribution to that country's economy.

"We don't want 100,000 people from Kiribati coming to Fiji in one go," he told the state-run Fiji One television channel.

"They need to find employment, not as refugees but as immigrant people with skills to offer, people who have a place in the community, people who will not be seen as second-class citizens.

"What we need is the international community to come up with an urgent funding package to deal with that ambition, and the needs of countries like Kiribati." More


Political upheaval should not affect Maldive climate policy - official

BANGKOK (AlertNet) – A change of leaders in the Maldives should not affect the country’s much-praised climate policy and the country remains committed to becoming the world’s first carbon neutral country, a top environmental official told AlertNet.

The Maldives, a collection of picture-perfect islands and small atolls in the Indian Ocean favoured by well-heeled tourists, is one of the world's countries most vulnerable to climate change.

It is the lowest-lying country on the planet, with an average ground level of 1.5 metres (5 feet) above sea level. Over the last century, sea levels have risen by about 20 cm (8 inches) and further rises could submerge the Maldives.

Ibrahim Naeem, head of the country’s Environmental Protection Agency, said the recent political upheaval which saw the overthrow of presidentMohamed Nasheed, a well-known climate change campaigner, would not derail the Maldives’ leadership on climate issues.

“True, Nasheed has been very vocal and very popular with western society. He's really a good man advocating for (action on) climate change and the impacts we're facing in the Maldives,” Naeem told AlertNet.

“But I don't think this change will bring any change to the climate policy because it is (Nasheed’s) vice-president who's ruling the country now,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of the Second Asia Pacific Climate Adaptation Forum in Bangkok. More


Greenland icesheet more vulnerable than thought to warming

AFP - The Greenland icesheet is more sensitive to global warming than thought, for just a relatively small — but very long term — temperature rise would melt it completely, according to a study published on Sunday.

Previous research has suggested it would need warming of at least 3.1 degrees Celsius (5.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, in a range of 1.9-5.1 C (3.4-9.1 F), to totally melt the icesheet.

But new estimates, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, put the threshold at 1.6 C (2.9 F), in a range of 0.8-3.2 C (1.4-5.8 F), although this would have to be sustained for tens of thousands of years.

Greenland is second to Antarctica as the biggest source of locked-up water on land.

If it melted completely, this would drive up sea levels by 7.2 metres (23.6 feet), swamping deltas and low-lying islands.

If global warming were limited to 2 C (3.6 F), a target enshrined in the UN climate-change negotiations, complete melting would happen on a timescale of 50,000 years, according to the study.

Current carbon emissions, though, place warming far beyond this objective. If they were unchecked, a fifth of the icesheet would melt within 500 years and all would be gone within 2,000 years, the study says. More


Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Georgia Guide Stones: A Guide To The Age Of Reason or...

The Georgia Guidestones is a large granite monument in Elbert County, Georgia, USA. A message comprising ten guides is inscribed on the structure in eight modern languages, and a shorter message is inscribed at the top of the structure in four ancient languages' scripts:Babylonian, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian hieroglyphs.

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

Given the events that humanity will have to deal with going forward into this century the Guides inscribed in these stones are certainly worthwhile precepts to follow.

We have Climate Change, Energy Security, Water Security, Food Security and a Burgeoning Population. All of these topics are potential Conflict Triggers. Do you see any corelation to the ten precepts above?

The question, will we be smart and altruistic enough to heed warnings like these on the Georgia Guide Stones or will these stones become the Stonehenge of 2112?

The choices we make today, as spoken of by James Hansen (climate change link above) of making drastic cuts to CO2 and methane output, instead of Business as Usual (BAU) and subsidies to the oil companies will will have either positive or negative effects on our children and grand children's quality of life. making the right decisions now may well be creating the conditions to avoid conflict in the future.

There are many of us who work for non-governmental and research organizations who question how we are going to feed 9.5 billion of this planets population in fourty years time. When we think about agriculture irrigation immediately comes to mind. As the worlds climate heats up rainfall patterns will change with some areas having drought and others having devestating flooding as Australia and Pakistan have experienced in recent years.

These threats were first raised by The Club of Rome fourty years ago. The Club of Rome was founded in 1968 as an informal association of independent leading personalities from politics, business and science, men and women who are long-term thinkers interested in contributing in a systemic interdisciplinary and holistic manner to a better world. The Club of Rome members share a common concern for the future of humanity and the planet. The aims of the Club of Rome are: to identify the most crucial problems which will determine the future of humanity through integrated and forward-looking analysis; to evaluate alternative scenarios for the future and to assess risks, choices and opportunities; to develop and propose practical solutions to the challenges identified; to communicate the new insights and knowledge derived from this analysis to decision-makers in the public and private sectors and also to the general public and to stimulate public debate and effective action to improve the prospects for the future. Humanity however, have not heeded this warning. Time is runing out and a tipping point will be reached at which point we will have a runaway, out of control catastrophe.


Watch David Wasdell, Director of the Meridian Programme as he talks about climate change. At 24 minutes into the presentation he talks about NASA being afraid to release findings of methane releases off the coast of San Diego for fear of retribution by the Bush administration. David Wasdell, Director of the Meridian Programme, is a world-renowned expert in the dynamics of climate change. He is also a reviewer of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports and the author of numerous papers and presentations on climate change and related topics. For more on David Wasdell visit:

In politics we must remember what Mikhail Gorbachev said, "Today one often hears that politics is a dirty business, incompatible with morality. No, politics becomes dirty and a zero-sum, lose-lose game only when it has no moral core". Mikhail Gorbachev - The Soviet Union’s last General Secretary and first President.

Are we smart enough to heed the advice given to us by some of our best thinkers or are we headnig for centuries of conflict, theocratic states and a new dark age? The choice is ours. Act now while there is still a little time.

Nicholas B. Robson

Cayman Islands

11th. March 2012



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kiribati in Fiji relocation plan

The low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati is considering purchasing land in Fiji to help secure a future threatened by rising sea levels.

Kiribati’s President Anote Tong is in talks to buy 23 sq km (9 sq miles) on Fiji’s Vanua Levu island.

The land is wanted for crops, to settle some Kiribati farmers and to extract earth for sea defences, reports say.

Some of Kiribati’s 32 coral atolls, which straddle the equator, are already disappearing beneath the ocean. None of the atolls rises more than a few metres above the sea level.

‘Last resort’

Fiji, which is more than 2,000km (1,300 miles) away, is one of a number of countries that Kiribati hopes its population may be able to move to in the future.

The chairman of Fiji’s Real Estate Agents Licensing Board, Colin Sibary, said he was facilitating talks between Kiribati officials and a Fijian freeholder who owns the land on Vanua Levu.

“I’ve been working very hard on this for Kiribati for a year,” Mr Sibary told the BBC.

“After the purchase they will formalise a development plan which will include various farms to produce vegetables, fruit and meat for export to Kiribati.” More


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Many Strong Voices Launches New And Updated Web Site

Many Strong Voices (MSV) has just launched its new web site, which has been revised and updated. There are sections with downloadable materials -- publications, posters, postcards, etc. -- which you should feel free to use. We will shortly about linking to other projects and material as well. Click Here