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Weather Goest Thou?

Posted on 12 November 2011 by Jerry

Researchers from around the world have begun to move to a new phase of grappling with climate change. A series of new reports have been issued to show thinking has moved beyond substantiation of climate change to more detailed planning for its various affects and mitigation. Excellent examples of these reports and findings come from the United Kingdom and the United States:

Foresight International Dimensions of Climate Change (2011), Final Project Report, The Government Office for Science, London (129 pages): The premise of this report is that the British live in a warming world and while the government attempts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, it must also adopt complementary strategies to help its citizens and businesses and the world’s populations adapt to the coming changes. It acknowledges that the United Kingdom will be affected by what is happening in the rest of the world through all of its global dependencies and networks and must plan its early responses to what is happening. The report examines anticipated effects that will impact the UK’s foreign policy and security, financial industry and other businesses, resources and commodities, health and infrastructure.

As an example, under the category of National Security and International Interventions the report looks at an increase in failed states and ungovernable spaces, increased calls for international interventions, more calls for humanitarian assistance and new contingency arrangements. The British also anticipate increased domestic protests as a result of new migrant communities, increased nuclear proliferation as more nations move to civil nuclear power to decarbonize their energy, and increased tensions in the Arctic region due to development of its newly uncovered resources and recently cleared shipping lanes.

Another objective of this report is to anticipate how global human population movements will be affected by global environmental changes and identify choices and actions which can be taken today that will be flexible enough to encompass future uncertainties. The report cites its global perspective on the issue of migration in the context of environmental change. It analyzes migration globally between low-income and high-income countries and among low-income countries with a particular focus on low-income countries which are most vulnerable to environmental change.

In analyzing past migrations in response to various disasters the report concludes that most migration will be within countries from rural areas into urban areas and that if cities are in vulnerable regions this migration make serve to make matters worse. Assuming large scale economic deterioration in environmentally challenged areas, many of the migrants who do not have economic options may become “trapped” populations that are unable to leave high risk areas.

Preparing for Resettlement Associated with Climate Change, October 28, 2011, Vol 334, Science, 2 pages. This report was authored by a panel of scientists under the auspices of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University, New York. Decrying the present lack of detailed planning for mass migration as a result of climate change, the panel indicated that any worldwide temperature rise of more than 2° to 4° C this century will make resettlement virtually unavoidable in some regions of the world. Looking at past more regional efforts, the panel identified that temporary protected status such as that provided to Haitians after their 2010 earthquake and legislative measures taken by some EU countries, as well as temporary work visas, may assist those affected by climate change natural disasters.

In addition, beyond these measures funds should be made available for “assisted relocation” that entails financial compensation and incentive mechanisms to “allow households impinged by climate hazards or infrastructure projects to leave affected areas and choose their destination.” Further, “Resettlement strategies must include economically feasible reconstruction of productive activities [e.g. jobs and education], with sufficient income generation, restoration of livelihoods, and adequate cultural integration with hosts.”

Background: In Beyond Animal, Ego and Time, Chapter 11, Protect Life Imperative – Climate Change, we identify that climate change may required significant changes in how the world operates to mitigate negative impact on affected populations. It argues for personal flexibility indicating “There is nothing sacred about how we live presently. Cities can be changed. Transportation can be changed. Economic policy can be changed. Everything can change. We must not hold on to failing processes, technology or institutions. We cannot let our grasp on the familiar keep us from reaching for the future.”

Use the following links to see the original reports and gain more information:
http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/bispartners/foresight/docs/international-dimensions-of-climate-change.pdf

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/bispartners/foresight/docs/migration/11-1116-migration-and-global-environmental-change.pdf
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6055/456.full?sid=640785f8-c9f8-4f25-b58a-db1e6fbe2e97

November 11, 2011 – San Francisco

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