Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sea Wall Proposal For Torres Strait Island

 THE Torres Strait Island Regional Council’s application to the Federal Government’s Regional Development Australia Fund for money for sea walls has cleared the first stage of the approval process. 
On Wednesday, January 11, the RDAF announced the proposal was one of three in the Far North still with a shot at securing a share of $200 million in Commonwealth cash for new projects in regional Australia. Last December, TSIRC applied for $5 million through round two of the RDAF to help rebuild seawalls on Boigu and Saibai to protect those communities from flooding in king tides.

However required works for all six islands in the Torres Strait affected by rising sea levels have been costed at $22.4 million. A TSIRC spokesperson said the council was pleased its expression of interest had made it through the first round.
“Obviously we hope our submission will be successful so we can move on with the necessary upgrades to community infrastructure on Boigu and Saibai,” the spokesperson said.
RDA Far North Queensland and Torres Strait chairman Allan Dale said the announcement of the projects going to full application provided an opportunity to further demonstrate how the projects would meet the needs of the region.
“The quality of the projects received in our region was very high, making it a difficult choice between many worthy options,” Dr Dale said. 
“Many of the projects submitted make a great contribution to progression of the Far North Queensland and Torres Strait Roadmap and we will be continuing to work with both Governments to see them progressed over time.”
He said TSIRC’s sea walls project was just one of three projects “critically important for our region”. 
The two other Far North projects chosen to proceed to the next stage include a proposal to upgrade the Hann Highway, and a proposal to rebuild the Malanda visitors and interpretive centre.
“While providing a lifeline for new mining, agricultural and pastoral development in the Gulf, the Hann Highway proposal also improves the region’s overall freight reliability,” Dr Dale said. 
“Equally, after much feasibility work, the Torres Strait sea walls proposal would provide much needed infrastructure to secure the future of island communities now at risk from sea level rise.  More

Monday, January 23, 2012

Climate Change: A Serious Threat

 This short video was produced by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre for viewing at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Durban, South Africa.

It underscores the gravity of the threat of climate change to the Caribbean region and the role that the CARICOM Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) plays in preparing the region for these threats. 

More specifically, it outlines the impending threats to tourism, agriculture, public health and other sectors while also explaining, through interviews with senior staff, the extensive achievements of past and current regional projects and initiatives. 
The video ends on a cautionary note, pointing to the urgency of policy to commit to a reduction in emissions in order to stem the tide of climate related impacts.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Study: global warming related sea level rise poses big threat to Washington, D.C.

 Global warming-related sea level rise constitutes a major threat to the nation’s capital, with the potential to inundate national monuments, museums, military bases, and parts of the Metro Rail system during the next several decades and beyond, according to a recent study published in the journal “Risk Analysis.” 

The study helps localize a problem that is more typically discussed at the global level, and makes clear that public officials must make decisions in the near-term in order to minimize future losses. Considering the city’s history, it should come as no surprise to learn that Washington, D.C. is vulnerable to sea level rise. 

The National Mall and Foggy Bottom were originally marshland, and the area between the Anacostia River and I-295 used to be open water. What is rather disturbing and less well known, though, is just how vulnerable D.C. is to even minor amounts of sea level rise, which according to some studies is virtually guaranteed as the amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to climb, temperatures rise, and mountain glaciers and ice caps melt. 

 The study, led by Bilal Ayyub of the University of Maryland, found that even if sea level rise turns out to be at the very low end of projections, it would still cause significant damage in Washington. For example, if the local sea level were to rise by just 0.1 meter, or about 4 inches, by 2043, nearly 68,000 people would be affected, and property damage would total upwards of $2 billion - without including damage to military bases and government property. The study points out the vulnerability of the military installations the line the Potomac River, particularly Bolling Air Force Base, which would lose 23 buildings to inundation by 2043 if sea level rise proceeds at its recent rate, and many more if it speeds up. More


Thursday, January 12, 2012

ECLAC Report Examines Climate Change Impacts on Latin America and Caribbean Coasts

 ECLAC Report Examines Climate Change Impacts on Latin America and Caribbean Coasts

The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has published a report that examines current and future trends in climate variability and their likely impacts on the region's extensive coastline.The report, prepared by the Environmental Hydraulics Institute of the University of Cantabria, Spain, analyzes and provides an atlas of the current physical conditions and changes detected in key coastal variables in 44,851 miles of LAC coastline, such as average sea level, surface temperature of the sea, salinity, swells, astronomical tides, air temperature anomalies, wind changes and hurricanes. The report further looks at how these variables might be affected by 2040, 2050 and 2070. 

 The analysis divides results into four basic geographic areas: North America; Central America; South America; and Caribbean islands. Where possible, the report tries to identify subregional differences in the variables. For example, it notes that the fastest sea level rise (three centimeters per year) is in Northern Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia's Caribbean coast and some Caribbean islands, and the slowest in Ecuador.The report is the first in a series of four, which are planned to be released in 2012 as part of an ECLAC project on climate change and LAC coastal regions financed by the Government of Spain. The second will look in greater detail at the vulnerability and exposure to climate change of LAC coasts, the third will detail probable climate change impacts, and the fourth will evaluate the climate change risks faced by LAC coasts. ECLAC also plans to release support documents on the theories and methodology used to project climate change impacts on LAC's coastal regions and analyze their risks. 

[ECLAC Press Release] [Publication: Climate Change Impacts in the Latin American and Caribbean Coastal Regions: Changes, Trends and Climate Variability (in Spanish)] More


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Working with nature in and for islands

 What can we learn from islands on ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) in a changing climate: from practice to policy? Read the summary and download presentations of the event on the topic convened at the Rio Conventions Pavilion during the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 17), in Durban, South Africa. 

During the event on Ecosystem-based Adaptation in a Changing Climate: From Practice to Policy? Lessons learnt from islands Ambassador Ronald Jumeau, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Seychelles to the United Nations reminded that Islands are places of high biodiversity and that local economies and identity are highly dependent on islands ecosystems and associated natural resources. Yet islands are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts and least able to address them effectively. ‘Working with nature’ as EbA proposes is an attractive and cost-effective measure to build the resilience of island environments in the face of climate change. 


The event outlined the complexity of developing effective EbA responses from problem identification through to policy, strategic partnerships, good practice guidelines and the need for strategic adaptation of plans. These plans should be supported by good science and vulnerability assessment and lead to implementation, political advocacy and the need for innovative financial mechanisms.The full summary of the event can be accessed here. It includes the key messages on:Implementing climate change adaptation programmes in island regions: A European Union perspective on the role of EbA;What can we learn from implementing EbA in islands and island territories: From practice to policy;Principles and guidelines for mainstreaming EbA in policy making and project development;Debt-for-Adaptation-Swaps in SIDS.All presentations can be downloaded from the links on the the right-hand side of this page.The event was organized by IUCN and the European Commission as partners to the Rio Conventions Pavilion, with participation of the Global Islands Partnership (GLISPA), IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), and IUCN Members: BirdLife International and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). For more information on this session, please contact Dominique Benzaken, IUCN.For information on other adaptation-related events at the UNFCCC COP 17, please write to the Adaptation Hub or visit the Adaptation Hub online. More


Monday, January 9, 2012

That sinking feeling

An Australian surfing tourism hot spot, the Maldives battles to keep its head above water. Ben Doherty talks to the country's President, Mohamed Nasheed.

Mohamed Nasheed carries the air of a man without much time. ''How did it go? Did we win?'' he asks an aide as he sweeps, almost at a run, down the marbled corridors of the presidential office. 

Told yes, the vote on the reappointment of his Minister of Islamic Affairs had succeeded in his country's fractious parliament, he is pleased: ''That's good, our minister keeps his job. Now, what's next?'' The offhand manner is no affectation. Nasheed is a man running out of time.

As the President of the Maldives, the string of paradisiacal Indian Ocean islands that could become the first nation lost - entirely - to climate change, there are not many minutes to waste for Nasheed. ''We've already lost it in so many senses,'' he tells the Herald during a rare moment of peace in a meeting room. His country is losing three inhabited islands a year, swallowed by the ocean, he explains. More