Saturday, May 09, 2009

Top 10 African countries most threatened by sea storm surges


Photo: Keith Marais/IRIN

Sea storm surges could affect more and more people

NAIROBI, 7 May 2009 (IRIN) - World Bank researchers have crunched population, economic, and elevation maps to analyse which countries are most at risk from storm surges, assuming a one metre rise in sea level (due to climate change).
An April 2009 report, Sea-Level Rise and Storm Surges - A Comparative Analysis of Impacts in Developing Countries, reveals "very heavy potential losses… [which] further strengthen the case for rapid action to protect endangered coastal populations".
The 10 countries with the largest increases in at-risk land area are:
Mozambique
Madagascar
Nigeria
Mauritania
Senegal
Guinea-Bissau
Cote d'Ivoire
Gabon
South Africa
Somalia

Blogger Note: Interesting how this World Bank report does not include any island state due to ‘lack of data’. 

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Govt plans to sell inhabited islands to foreign countries

Blogger Note: I think the author means uninhabited instead of inhabited.

From: The Jakarta Post

Adianto P. Simamora ,  The Jakarta Post   |  Mon, 05/04/2009 9:42 PM

Indonesia is mulling some plans to “put up for sale” its inhabited small islands as shelters for environmental refugees thanks to the climate change which was likely to disappear some of Small Island States.
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi raised the idea over concern of sea level rise due to climate change which would end up under water low-lying countries.
“Pak Freddy still needs to consult the idea with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono before going into detailed plans,” the ministry’s director general for coastal and small islands Syamsul Maarif told reporters on Monday.
“But, it is smart plans if we see severe impacts of sea level rise.”
He said that a number of countries, including Maldives, had started purchasing new homeland in India as shelters for its citizens if the sea level disappear the island.
The United Nations has warned that the climate change could raise the sea level up to 59 centimeters by 2100 unless the world countries take actions to cut huge scale of greenhouse gas emissions.

Most parts of Maldives are currently just about 1.5 meters above the water with the highest land point is 2.4 meter above sea level.
He said that Indonesia currently has 17,480 small islands across the archipelago.
“We find so far only 20 islands which have lost due to environmental problems including sea level rises of climate change,” he said.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

UK Carbon tax a blow to Small Island States Development

Blogger Note: President Michel of the Seychelles has highlighted this issue most recently in his speech delivered at the World Future Energy Summit, held in Abu Dhabi on the 19th January 2009 – full speech here, excerpt:

 

“Unfair trade practices also impact on our ability to generate sufficient resources to maintain our economy. Consider the following. Of the total value of tuna – our “blue gold” – caught and transshipped in our waters by foreign fishing vessels every year, Seychelles receives only seven percent in revenue, comprising license and transshipment fees. Is this right? Is this fair?

As if to add insult to injury, we are now faced with the prospect of a long-haul airline tax which will significantly hurt tourism destinations like Seychelles! It is an unfair tax, as it has been shown that short-haul air travel generates more carbon emissions than long-haul journeys per passenger/kilometer. People on the continents have trains and other transport options; small islands have only air and maritime links to connect to the rest of the world. Once again, I ask: is this fair? We are now being punished in the name of climate change!

Despite the challenges of unfair trade practices and globalisation we make every effort to provide our people with a quality environment, a good education, decent housing and more than adequate access to health care. We try to take advantage of every opportunity to show that is it indeed possible to be sustainable. We have even partnered with investors in tourism to establish independent conservation trusts to support and further consolidate our conservation goals. Yet, we are denied the resources required to reduce our economic and environmental vulnerability. When the large economies sneeze, the small islands do not catch a cold, but a fever. Small Island State endures the pain, first and hard.” President James Michel, 2009.

May 01, 2009 (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) From Tradingmarkets.com (link)

The carbon tax for British travelers proposed by the UK Labour Government is a major blow to anti-poverty programmes in the developing world, a Samoan development expert has asserted, reports Samoa Observer.

At a time when we are encouraging European tourists to boost the economies of developing countries with their tourism resources, the UK government in a single move will deal a body blow to those of us trying to use sustainable tourism to alleviate poverty, said Lelei LeLaulu, president of the Island Nations Climate and Oceans Programme and director of the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx).

Tourism is the largest voluntary flow of resources from the haves to the have-nots of the world, asserted Mr LeLaulu, and the UKs Air Passenger Duty is about to choke that flow.

Tourism plays a crucial role in the creation of employment, which is especially important during the current economic crisis, he added.

If they wanted to help, the UK should give those levies to the poorer countries who are twisting and turning to feed their people during the global financial crisis, suggested Mr LeLaulu, who is also a founding director of the World Tourism Forum for Peace and Sustainable Development.

As it is, we have no idea where these monies will end up. Most likely in Treasury bail-outs of UK banks - so why are we in the developing world paying for the excessive greed of Europes richest? he queried.

If they want to help boost the UK economy as well as help to fight poverty in faraway lands, Prime Minister Brown should offer cash incentives to British citizens to encourage them to dig into their savings accounts and buy tickets on UK airlines and with UK-owned travel agents.

By so doing UK travelers will use their savings accounts to help revive the UK economy and those of destination countries, rather than smothering the travel urge with this huge wet blanket of a tax, asserted Mr LeLaulu.

Furthermore, in addition to stemming the flow of much needed tourism revenues for the island nations of the Pacific and Asia, the UK tax will adversely affect the attempts by long-haul carriers like Qantas, Virgin and Air New Zealand to cut their emissions through innovative technologies, contended LeLaulu who is also chairman of the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International.

In the (mostly former British) Caribbean countries, the UK Air Passenger Duty will hike air ticket costs from Britain to the Caribbean.

This is discrimination against the Caribbean region and illogically allocates it to a higher tax band than other major competing destinations. Latin American and Caribbean leaders should make a joint stand against these punishing levies, urged Mr LeLaulu.

The targeting of Caribbean flights suggests that the replenishment of the UK treasury coffers - and not the lowering of carbon emissions - is the primary aim of these punitive taxes, he opined.

Mr LeLaulu asserted the tourism industry continues to be amongst the most dynamic economic sectors generating a wide range of benefits, including a growing contribution to GDP and substantial foreign exchange earnings for all countries.

The UK has become one the industrys largest source markets.