November 2008 Archives

California ordered to prepare for sea-level rise

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday ordered preparations for rising sea levels from global warming, a startling prospect for the most populous U.S. state with a Pacific Ocean coastline stretching more than 800 miles (1,290 km). Recorded sea levels rose 7 inches (18 cm) during the 20th century in San Francisco, Schwarzenegger said in the executive order for study of how much more the sea could rise, what other consequences of global warming were coming and how the state should react. California is considered the environmental vanguard of government in the United States, with its own standards for car pollution and a law to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the main gas contributing to global warming. "The longer that California delays planning and adapting to sea level rise the more expensive and difficult adaptation will be," Schwarzenegger said, ordering a report by the end of 2010. (Reporting by Peter Henderson; Editing by Peter Cooney)

An ailing island in the sun

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By Dev Nadkarni As the jet turns in crisp blue equatorial skies on its approach to Kiribati's capital, Tarawa, the vulnerability of the ribbon of atolls unfolds. It is possible to watch the tide batter the fraying edges of the 30-odd km stretch of little atolls which make up Tarawa - never more than a couple of hundred metres wide. The collapsing state of the remote Pacific nation is clear from a drive along the single road that crosses a string of causeways as it runs through the atoll: crumbling sea walls, coconut trees shorn of fronds and fruit because of encroaching salt water and long droughts, mounds of filth lining the coastline, overcrowding uncharacteristic of Pacific islands and poverty. The alarm bells of climate change, sea level rise and global warming have pitchforked this 33-island nation that straddles the equator on to the front pages of the global media. Experts from all over the world have come in droves in search of answers to its impending submergence. Already two small islets have gone from the map.

Rising sea could flood 700,000 homes

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Ben Doherty
October 17, 2008
MORE than 700,000 Australian homes are vulnerable to rising sea levels, with up to $150 billion worth of homes, property and infrastructure at risk of seawater inundation, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.

Almost all Australians will be affected by rising sea levels, according to the Federal Government's Department of Climate Change.

"Eighty per cent of the Australian population lives in the coastal zone, and approximately 711,000 addresses are within three kilometres of the coast and less than six metres above sea level," the department said in a submission.


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