Saturday, January 11, 2003
According to a Corp Watch report, the 10,000 people who live on Funafuti (the capital atoll of Tuvalu) in the Pacific Ocean are having to adapt to rising sea levels by growing their root crops in metal buckets instead of in the ground because destructive storm surges are making their low-lying vegetable gardens too salty to grow food in...
In fact, the tiny nation is so concerned about it's long-term viability + the world's continuing reliance on the burning of fossil fuels that it is preparing to sue the United States + Australia in the International Court of Justice for their contributions to global warming, as well as going after US companies in domestic courts.
"Whereas a year ago I would have said 'I think it's difficult for Tuvalu to win'," such a case, says Donald Goldberg, Senior Attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law, "Quite a bit of has changed in the last year, and the prospects for winning this kind of lawsuits have substantively improved. If we're looking at the broad problem, in some respects the US has already lost the case; by its own words it admits greenhouse gases are causing climate change."
Unfortunately, many climate models suggest that it may already be too late for low lying countries, such as Tuvalu, even if countries decide it is economic to switch to alternative energy sources, due to the waters of the world's oceans taking longer to warm (and then expand) by as much as existing air temperatures will permit. There's also a further time lag generated by the time it takes for the cooler, deeper layers of the sea to mix with the warmer surface waters and expand...
As a result of the serious environmental + social problems facing his country Tuvalu's Assistant Environment Secretary Laupepa is emphatic in saying that as... "there is no known cure, we have to take pre-emptive action to try and deal with the issue now, rather than running away from it."
Posted 6:47 pm by Matt Prescott