A huge lake of melt water on top of a Greenland Glacier. The melting glaciers are fuelling sea level rise.
The latest reports on increased levels of glacial discharge, in
, reports the amount of ice being dumped into the ocean from the
GreenlandIce Sheet has doubled in the last 5 years. Scientists had
thought thatglobal warming did not yet significantly threaten the
ice sheet and itwould take over a thousand years to break down.
A full breakdown wouldresult in a catastrophic global sea level
rise of 7 meters. That's bye-byemost of Bangladesh, Netherlands,
Florida and would make London the newAtlantis.
The new evidence indicates the sheet is disintegrating quicker
thanexpected, and backs up
our discovery of a disturbingly fast retreat of the Kangerdlugssuaq
glacier from our expedition there in 2005.
Sea level rise, caused by melting ice from Greenland and other
glaciersacross the world, is already threatening some of the most
vulnerablecommunities in the world - small island states in the
Pacific andIndian Oceans, in Bangladesh as well as the hundreds of
millions livingin low-lying coastal areas around the world.
Already, the first global warming refugees are preparing to
leave theirhomes. In November of last year the Papua New Guinea
government decidedto start moving ten families at a time from the
horseshoe-shapedCarteret atolls in the Pacific to Bougainville, a
larger island some 60miles away. The Carterets are only 1.5 metres
high and areprojected to be completely uninhabitable by 2015.
Scientists are concerned -- but politicians are not taking
action.How much more evidence do we need before we begin taking
steps to avoidcatastrophe? The USAdministration and Australian
Government continue to block effectiveinternational action, other
world leaders talk a lot about globalwarming but avoid action
because it might cost too much. But is thecost of NewOrleans and
half of Florida being under water an acceptable price forAmerica's
oil addiction, President Bush?
If our leaders won't jump, it's up to every one of us totake
positive action to avoid the worst consequences of global
warming.We can all take some, or, even better, all, of our
12 steps to help the climate. Ifpossible, buy your energy from
a renewable energy supplier. If yourpolitician doesn't act on
global warming - vote for someone else whowill.
Only when politicians feel the heat from voters will governments
shifttheir investments from dirty fossil fuel technologies to
clean,renewable energy sources that do not cause glaciers to melt,
seas torise and more people to die from increased extreme weather
events. We cannotwait for an illusory 'silver bullet' of future
technology to 'solve'the problem. We have the tools to start; what
we are missing is thepolitical will.
Even in the US, inactionon global warming at the top is being
met by change from below: cities, churches,businesses, trade
unions, students and the general public are notwaiting for the
White House to wake up - theUS renewable energy industry is
booming, almost half of US states and200 cities have either adopted
renewable energy targets or have pledged to meettheir own 'Kyoto'
commitments through action taken locally.
What's needed is an energy revolution -- one which overturns
theancient fossil fuel regime and brings forth a new vision.
Revolutions don'tcome from the top. They come from the people. The
cost ofinaction is, quite literally, the Earth.
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