The latest IPCC report predicting apocalyptic changes in the Earth’s climate within just a few decades was not even a three-day-wonder. It prompted headlines, the odd editorial, and a few letters to the newspapers, but virtually nothing on the main news channels by the following day. I start to wonder whether the world is not just sticking its head in the sand, either too frightened to contemplate the inevitable reality, or selfishly wanting to protect the status-quo, on the basis that the real changes will not happen for several decades, after those in charge now will have gone the way of all flesh.
Wrong; the changes are happening now. It seems staggering to me that the clear and present danger to the British Isles from a sea-level rise which is predicted--whatever we do—to continue rising, possibly for a hundred years or more, appears not to have prompted a crash programme of coastal defences. Currently, the sea-level is increasing at 3.2 mm per year, which is 1 mm per year more than it was just ten years ago...
I was prompted to write the following letter to The Times which, needless to say, they did not print:
The IPCC report makes terrifying reading; as a relatively low-lying island, we have much cause for concern. However, a grave risk could be turned into a real benefit by taking a leaf out of Holland's book, and building a series of dykes along the coast. These should start in the east of England, where the sinking land makes the sea level rise more acute. The resulting lagoons could be used for the tidal generation of electricity. Such power would be entirely predictable and renewable, and the technology involved could hardly be more basic.
Such a scheme would protect the land for many decades to come, and provide more than sufficient green power to meet the nation’s needs. If great shellfish farms were to be established in the lagoons, these would absorb CO2 from the sea. The protein could be used for food, and the ground up shells—containing locked up carbon—would find use in the building industry.
OK, perhaps the idea of shellfish farms was a bridge too far, but the fact remains that the shells of shellfish grown in seawater will absorb carbon from the water where it will remain locked up, effectively forever.
I recognize that there are more immediately pressing concerns at the moment vying for news coverage, but climate change affects everyone on the planet. If people think that there is a refugee problem at the moment, the consequences of tens of millions of people displaced from inundated low-lying countries seeking a life elsewhere will make the current situation look like a walk in the park.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs