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Earth News Politics

Maldives Government Holds Undersea Cabinet Meeting 271

Posted by kdawson
from the or-we-could-evolve-gills dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The president of the Maldives and 11 ministers, decked out in scuba gear, held a cabinet meeting 4m underwater to highlight the threat of global warming to the low-lying Indian Ocean nation. While officials said the event itself was light-hearted, the idea is to focus on the plight of the Maldives, where rising sea levels threaten to make the nation uninhabitable by the end of the century. President Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet spent half an hour on the sea bed, communicating with white boards and hand signals and signed a document calling for global cuts in carbon emissions. The Maldives has already begun to divert a portion of the country's billion-dollar annual tourist revenue to buy a new homeland as an insurance policy against climate change that threatens to turn the 300,000 islanders into environmental refugees. Emerging out of the water, a dripping President Nasheed removed his mask to answer questions from reporters and photographers crowded around on the shore. 'We are trying to send a message to the world about what is happening and what would happen to the Maldives if climate change isn't checked,' he said, bobbing around in the water with his team of ministers. 'If the Maldives is not saved, today we do not feel there is much chance for the rest of the world.'"
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Maldives Government Holds Undersea Cabinet Meeting

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  • by omfgnosis (963606) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @05:11AM (#29782811)

    Are you suggesting that it's an entirely non-man-made catastrophe, which was in the works long before industrialism? If so, got any citations to back that up? If not, will you clarify?

  • by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @05:38AM (#29782907) Homepage
    That's right. But a lot of the Netherlands is below sea level whereas the Maldives are above sea-level. So who has most to fear?

    Around 1970 the sea level dropped by 20-30 cms and since then there has been no sea-level rise: http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/inqu/finalprogram/abstract_54486.htm [confex.com]

    But don't let scientific and historical facts get in the way of a good piece of hysteria.
  • Re:Cue the puns... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @05:58AM (#29782975)

    More so than you even intended. If Maldives goes under water, 1 billion dollars a YEAR will be lost. Literally, all the tourism "goods" that Maldives can generate will disappear.

  • by Sique (173459) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @06:43AM (#29783097) Homepage

    Just to give you a better picture: Less than 5% of all Dutch people live within walking distance to the coast, but all of the Maledivians do. The largest island is Malé, with just about a square mile (2.7 sq km). So while 95% of all Netherlands can hide behind several layers of dikes, none of the Maledivians can. Or for some other numbers: The whole of the Maledives covers 298 sq km of land, stretched over 823 km x 150 km of ocean, completely different than the Netherlands with more than 41000 sq km of land stretched over 360 km x 280 km.

    The whole length of the Dutch dikes is about 3000 km, so if we estimate that an average dike is 30 m wide, a similar construction would amount to 30% of the whole maledives used for the dikes, while less than 0,25% of the Netherlands are actual dikes.

  • by martinX (672498) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @07:04AM (#29783135)
    And no-one has considered that fishing with explosives or cyanide on coral reefs could be causing a problem? Interesting.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 18, 2009 @07:06AM (#29783141)

    I have two graphs here. In the first graph you can see the global warming measured per year. In the second paragraph you can see the carbondioxide emissions meassured per year.

    Those two graphs shouldn't match. Measured global warming (if you mean rate of change of temperature) should be proportional to the amount of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is the integral of carbon dioxide emissions.

    If you don't have even a basic understanding of the science, please don't try to contribute to the debate - all you're doing is parroting the arguments of whichever lobby group got to you first.

  • by jabithew (1340853) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @07:16AM (#29783171)

    This is the argument of the Stern review [wikipedia.org] conducted by the UK government.

    The problem is that the cost of reducing CO2 is largely unknown, as is the damage caused to the global economy. So this trade off between now and later is largely based on which made-up numbers you put into the balance.

    One thing is pretty clear; if we want to reduce carbon emissions, we need to put a price on CO2, and it needs to rise fast. And it will be painful. Will it be more painful than the consequences of global warming? Who knows. More importantly, who wants to bet?

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday October 18, 2009 @08:06AM (#29783351) Homepage Journal

    The reality is that little has happened to the sea level over the past decades.

    Just as a quick math problem, why don't you figure out how many gallons of water are represented by a one inch rise in sea level. Now calculate how many gallons of water will be added to the ocean when the ice on top of Alaska and Greenland finishes melting. A small delta can be extremely relevant.

    P.S. It doesn't matter if the floating ice masses grow during this time, for the same reason that ocean level rise can't be driven by floating ice melting. Don't forget to forget to take that into account.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:15AM (#29783667) Journal
    Right now, everybody is after the west (including the west) to address Climage change and help little nations deal with this. Mostly by putting cap/trad on OUR energy to address this. But will it work?
    it would work if all else remains static. Sadly, that is not the case. China is adding 1-2 NEW COAL PLANTS EACH WEEK. These are .5GW size plants. Worse, the coal is inferior coal. It is very low grade coal with heavy pollutants. Then add in the new cars and oil based transportation that is happening in China.
    Even with the growth in hydro and wind and Solar and Nukes that China is planning, if they continue this course, they will exceed ALL OF AMERICA's emission by 2015. By 2018, they will exceed ALL OF America's AND Western EU. By 2020 (11 very short years), they will account for slightly more than 1/2 of all of the CO2 that man has emitted through history. IOW, all of the cuts that we do, will be worthless.
    But it still get worse. In particular, once we push Cap/trade, other nations will have a strong incentive to grab our manufacturing. And who will be pushing "cheap" coal plants? GE coal and other companies. Many companies will work to take advantage of the difference in prices (labor and energy).
    So, with knowing the above, how do drop the emissions and solve the climate change issues? Here is my idea.
    1. All western countries need to cap their single point emissions right away. IOW, no increase in emissions from Coal, Cement, etc. Obviously, emissions from transportation (which is diffuse emissions and difficult to control). Ideally, other nations would join, but that is not likely. But the west CAN and should cap it.
    2. Put a sliding tax on ALL GOODS at point of retail sale. It must be based on CO2 emissions FROM THE COUNTRY of main assembly AND the main material AND the transportation of item. Base the CO2 emissions from satellite. The tax needs to be applied as a percentage based on the above items. For example, assume something is assembled in Canada, from Canadian oil. Canada has one of the lower emissions in terms of size as well as high efficiency in terms of GDP. In addition, the transportation costs are extremely low, assuming rail. As such, they may have to pay only 5% of whatever the tax is.
      OTH, China has moderate amount of emissions based on size, HOWEVER, is one of the lowest efficiency in emissions/GDP. In addition, it has extremely high transportation costs (rail in China, then boat to here, and then rail around). As such, they would have 90-100% of the tax.
      American goods made here have a moderate emissions per land and moderate efficient emissions. OTH, our transportation emissions are minor. As such, we might see 30-40% of the tax.

    Several points on this:

    • This must be applied to ALL GOODS. If we apply it only to imported goods, then it will be illegal per WTO. Likewise, if we apply it only to local goods, it would simply be the same as the Dem's Cap/Trade; Worthless.
    • It really needs to be a sliding scale to reward those nations that clean up their act.
    • the base tax MUST start low to not kill economies and then INCREASE over time. If a business knows that the tax will increase, it gives them time to adjust their plans. If we hit it fast with high taxes, it will destroy economies.

    Ideally, this same approach is used for a number of pollutants. For example, Mercury is one that is screaming to be controlled. China is the largest polluter of it and it will continue to increase with the coal. Likewise, the same is true of their SO* emissions. By applying a slowly increasing tax on nations based on their emissions, we can encourage ALL NATIONS to change.
    One last point. Many nations will scream that they should be exempt because they are Developing nations. If that is done, it will simply encourage them to have lower costs goods by cheating. In addition, nearly all of the smaller developing nations HAVE low emissions. They would be at the low end of the tax.

  • by Ant P. (974313) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:39AM (#29783795) Homepage

    At least your politicians have the balls to say what they think of each other instead of saccharine-coating everything with fake political correctness.

  • by microbox (704317) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:46AM (#29783837)
    Your source is not evidence at all. McIntyre and McKitrick published their article, it had statistical mistakes in it, and the mistakes were never corrected.

    I applaud McIntyre and McKitrick for making pretty much the only skeptic argument within the scientific discourse. You see, skeptics don't actually practice science, but rather, they write articles like the one above. They sound impressive, but if you dig beneath the surface, you'll find nothing but echoes of already discredited arguments. I highly recommend that you do that for yourself

    As a hint: you can find information about the McIntyre & McKitrick paper here [realclimate.org].

    Read the paper. Look at the references, so that you can see that they really are what they say they are. Look at the dates of the refutation. Note the date of your linked article is 3 years after McIntyre & McKitrick were shown to be wrong.

    Here is an excellent page by David Suzuki [davidsuzuki.org], which might help you make sense of what's going on with this debate.
  • Re:Showboating (Score:3, Interesting)

    by foobsr (693224) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @10:36AM (#29784141) Homepage Journal
    All in all, the sea level rise is the same pace for over 150 years.

    Nonsense.

    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_few_hundred.html [csiro.au] (The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is Australia's national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.)

    Quote: "We have used a combination of historical tide-gauge data and satellite-altimeter data to estimate global averaged sea level change from 1870 to 2004. During this period, global-averaged sea level rose almost 20 cm, with an average rate of rise of about 1.7 mm/yr over the 20th Century. The sea level record indicates a statistically significant increase in the rate of rise between 1870 to 2004." (emphasis mine)

    CC.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @02:02PM (#29785471) Homepage Journal
    Sorry I meant people who could actually do something about the problem. I'm not convinced that anyone they've talked to thus far can, anyway. To be perfectly serious for a moment, it would be a bad idea for Maldives to rely on anyone else to solve this problem or to prevent the potential catastrophe they're facing. The whole "We're going to buy as a new homeland" thing is a good start, but they're talking about moving a nation of people and it's possibly only a couple of decades before things start going downhill.

    Have they even scoped out a new homeland yet? If not, may I suggest Utah? No one's using it at the moment, if my last drive through there is any indication...

  • by Burnhard (1031106) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @02:37PM (#29785727)

    Troll. Absolute nonsense. Scientist have pretty good ideas of what the PH levels have been based on oceanic deposits over time. It may not give the finest granularity but it provides insights into how the ocean chemistry has changed over the planet's history. Tie that into the fossil record and it's not hard to make some decent approximations to how life forms evolved with the oceans over long time scales.

    Remember, a troll is not someone who disagrees with you. The fact of the matter is that although pH in seawater has been measured for many decades, a reliable long- term trend of ocean water pH cannot be established due to data quality issues, in particular the lack of strict and stable calibration procedures and standards. Moreover, seawater pH is very sensitive to temperature, and temperature is not always recorded or measured at sufficient accuracy to constrain the pH measurement. (reference: a "pro" AGW paper here [us-ocb.org]).

    And more to the point, there is no "ideal" anything. There are ideal conditions for humans to survive. There are ideal conditions for keeping our food chain alive. There are ideal conditions for this, that, and the other. But there is no grand ideal for life on this planet (hence evolution). No one is arguing that the planet doesn't change over time.

    Sure they are. That's why they had to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period [telegraph.co.uk]. No there isn't an ideal anything. That being the case what the fuck is this whole argument about?

    As far as human impacts are concerned, only a complete idiot with no understanding of dynamics would argue that we are having no impact. We've have acid rain. We've have the ozone hole. These two incidents alone demonstrate how our activities directly influence the planet on large scales.

    Have I at any point said we are having no impact on the Environment? No, I haven't. I'm sorry for your straw man here but your point has absolutely nothing to do with anything I've said. It's certainly true that this whole ridiculous scare over CO2 is distracting attention and resources from those very causes you may hold close to your heart. Shoot yourself in the foot, if you like.

    Now the extent of our impact, the results of said impact, and what we should do about it are all open for debate. The scientists job is to figure this out and help inform those who make decisions. This is not a few "activist" scientist, my Glen Beck worshiping ignoramus. This is the global scientific community who happen to be the best experts on the subject. I'm far more inclined to listen to them than some self-important internet troll with an agenda to feed.

    As I have no idea who Glen Beck is, I'm afraid I have to avoid answering this point, except to say that the best experts on the subject of, say, stomach ulcers, or Geology, some time ago, were not believers in plate tectonics or the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. Yes, Scientists can be wrong. Yes, they often are wrong. Yes, it's very hard to get papers published that counter the current scare. Wegman showed why (hint: those same people promoting the paradigm are the same people who will have to comment on your paper before it's published).

    You can disagree with a scientific conclusion, but you'd better have something more than Hannity sound bites to back up your claim. To date, there has not been any reputable group of scientists that can explain away our current observations without taking into account human factors. There's no shortage of critics and skeptics, but you don't disprove a scientific theory by mere criticism nor do it show it's false just because you think so. That's the great thing about science.

    Again, I don't know Hannity and ye

  • Re:Cue the puns... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vegiVamp (518171) on Monday October 19, 2009 @05:51AM (#29791577) Homepage
    "Good long-term planning" ? The Maldives have been inhabited since around 300BC. Nobody could have predicted that we, the future, would be crazy stupid enough to cause global warming.

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