Ten Feet High and Rising

Are the Bangladeshi plains in danger of increased flooding as a result of Western carbon emissions alone?

The Times suggests that Western carbon emissions is one of many factors amongst many, all contributing to a “perfect storm” of environmental forces which will submerge a quarter of Bangladesh by 2100. In population terms, that means 30 to 40 million people displaced.

When Iman Ali Gain first heard about climate change a couple of years ago, he thought that it was a joke.

How could the habits of people in the West affect him, a 65-year-old shrimp farmer in southwestern Bangladesh?

He still has no concept of the science behind global warming, which will be outlined in a United Nations report today. But he does not need the 2,500 experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to prove that his world is under threat. Climate change here is a day-to-day reality that scientists say could make 17 million Bangladeshis homeless by 2030.

Over three decades Mr Gain has seen the waters around his mud house in the coastal region of Munshiganj, where silt-laden rivers meet the sea, rise 3m (10ft). He has been battered by increasingly violent floods, tornadoes and cyclones, and tasted the salt seeping relentlessly into his drinking water.

There are other factors, not mentioned in the Times article, that are adding to Mr Gain’s perdition:

First there is the increasingly higher levels of river water from melted snow in the Himalayas because of the increased summer temperatures in Nepal.

Then there is the increased deforestation along the banks of the Ganga-Brahmaputra river systems in upstream Nepal and India.

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    Bangladesh on the brink: a video pod on GW and Bangladesh, how Bhola island is getting washed away with river and coastal erosion, Current TV:

    http://www.current.tv/video/?id=4718577

  2. Sid H Arthur Says:

    That’s an eye opening film TK, thanks for sending the link.

  3. Sid H Arthur Says:

    There’s also this fascinating article on the Himal site, called ‘Meghalaya, not Himalaya’ which seems to go against all the usual stories that flooding in Bangladesh is caused by increased rainfall in Nepal caused by warmer summers.

    http://www.himalmag.com/sep97/features.htm

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