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Climate Change Economics

by Climate Change Economics LLC

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Our glaciers are shrinking


By Barry Piacenza

May 14, 2013

Educational Purposes only

Recent studies by the Center for American Progress and the Center for Climate and Security are showing dramatic changes affecting approximately 215,000,000 people in the northern portions of Africa. Recent studies are showing increased desertification across all of northern Africa and the Horn of Africa which are decreasing aquifer capability, food production, which is leading to increased destabilization and migration. These threat multipliers are putting extreme pressure on the new governments in Libya and Egypt as well as other nation states aligning the increased desertification areas in the Sahara. This aligned with the recent drops in food production particularly grains in Russia, and portions of South America are leading to increased worldwide prices for wheat, and other grains. The problems illustrated here are exacerbated by unemployment and skill set to employment opportunity dis-functionality. This is placing pressures on those who can least afford these increases in prices leading to political destabilization and the fall of governments hence the Arab Spring.1

With the poorest countries being the most vulnerable to rising food prices, the World Bank is concerned about possible unrest in Central America and the Caribbean—particularly in El Salvador, Haiti, Grenada, and Jamaica. Adbolreza Abbassian (a senior economist at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization) thinks the Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are in a precarious position, as well as African states such as Uganda, Mali, Niger, and Mozambique, which had food riots in September 2010. Nomura’s Food Vulnerability Index, which assesses the impact of food-price fluctuations controlling for relative wealth and the share of food in household consumption, puts Asian countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at the top of its list, alongside Middle East and North Africa countries already affected.2

The recent CO2 readings at Mauna Loa are increasing beyond the 400 ppm level this is leading to climate closer to the Pliocene era (3 million years ago). This could increase global average temperatures 3 or 4°C (5.4 – 7.2°F) this would also increase temperatures as much as 10°C (18°F) warmer at the poles. This could increase sea levels between 5 and 40 m (16 to 131 feet) higher than today. These dramatic increases in changes in temperature and ocean levels would be devastating to civilizations all over the globe who are on oceans.

One thing is for sure the relentless climb beyond 400 ppm will continue. Even though the yearly absorption of CO2 levels by the greening of the North Hemisphere will absorb approximately 10,000,000,000 tons of carbon out of the air. This is a brief reprieve, the moment is approaching when no measurement of ambient air anywhere on Earth, in any season, will produce a reading below 400 ppm.3

Bottom line is that as change continues the destabilization of populations in most sensitive areas of the planet where desertification is occurring and water supplies are over utilized we are seeing governmental destabilization, migration of populations, decreased food production which results in increases in food prices, simultaneously rising temperatures in the polar regions will see the continuation of sea level rise on a dramatic scale. Carbon dioxide levels reaching the Pliocene era levels places all of mankind in dangerous territory. Time is running short and some believe it has run out.

The time is now for governments around the globe in conjunction with multinational corporations, business systems to implement low carbon solutions exposed by this website. The time to act is now not later.


1 The Arab Spring and Climate Change , Center for American Progress, Center for Climate and Security, Edited by Caitlin E. Werrell and Francesco Femia February 2013

2 The Coming Surge in Food Prices P.26 Johnstone and Mazo, “Global Warming and the Arab Spring.” This chapter is a revised and updated version of that commentary.

3 New York Times, heat trapping gases passes milestone, raising fears, Justin Gillis, may 10, 2013.