Tuesday, April 24, 2012

As the poles melt, we drown

At the “International Polar Year 2012 Conference” in Montreal Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change for the Government of the Seychelles, talked about “Poles and Global Linkages”. I want to document his remarkable presentation with this Iceblog. It shows that climate changes isn´t something abstract, but touches the lifes of many people. I thank Mr. Jumeau for allowing me to document his speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sitting here listening to the different speeches and presentations since this morning, I wonder whether I came to this conference just to be terrified.

You see, the worse the situation gets at the two poles, in the Arctic and the Antarctic, the more worried we islanders get — and the more frantic we are going to get — on the islands of the globe, including the SIDS, the small island developing states, of the tropics like Seychelles.

For the more your ice melts in the north and the south, and on the mountain tops and in the glaciers of the world, the more our world, in tiny Seychelles just 4 degrees south of the Equator and in the rest of the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Caribbean as well, the more our world goes under.

You see, ladies and gentlemen, as the poles melt, we drown…

And it’s not just about sea level rise being made worse and worse the more land ice melts at the poles and from the mountains and glaciers of the world and flows into the sea. Too often when people think of small islands and climate change, they think only of sea level rise…

But it is not just about that, as serious and as frightening it indeed is: the melting ice at the poles is not just contributing to sea level rise, it is affecting the oceans as drivers of the world’s climate as well. And don’t forget, while we may be the smallest countries in the world, many of us make up huge ocean territories.

So true, the seas around our islands, some of which are the lowest land on Earth, are rising, and coastal erosion is getting worse and worse to the extent that some islands may be swept away before the waves cover them and wipe them off the face of the Earth…

But it is also true that our own climate and weather, a world away from the polar regions, are changing because of what is happening to the oceans.

Let me give you an example from my own country Seychelles, where incidentally we are blowing up the granite of our mountains to get rocks to protect and save our beaches so bad is the coastal erosion. More