Thursday, June 14, 2018

Climate change: Melting faster

Bad news on the climate change front: Antarctica is melting much faster than we expected, and the rate of melting has tripled in the last five years:

Ice in the Antarctic is melting at a record-breaking rate and the subsequent sea rises could have catastrophic consequences for cities around the world, according to two new studies.

A report led by scientists in the UK and US found the rate of melting from the Antarctic ice sheet has accelerated threefold in the last five years and is now vanishing faster than at any previously recorded time.

A separate study warns that unless urgent action is taken in the next decade the melting ice could contribute more than 25cm to a total global sea level rise of more than a metre by 2070. This could lead eventually to the collapse of the entire west Antarctic ice sheet, and around 3.5m of sea-level rise.

This is bad enough as it is. New Zealand has $19 billion worth of property, and billions more of infrastructure, under threat from sea-level rise. Its already a half-billion dollar a year crisis, and that's on the old estimates. A higher rate of sea-level rise will blow that out even further.

And meanwhile, the government is still sticking its fingers in its ears and trying to pander to farmers by letting them off for their pollution (again). Despite calling this "my generation's nuclear-free moment", I don't think they've really grasped either the urgency or the magnitude of the problem. Sea-level rise is going to impose huge costs on New Zealand. Changes in climate are going to impose even more. This is not something we can piss about on any longer. The crisis is here, and we need to stop it. Or learn to fucking swim.