Saturday, October 27, 2007

Global Warming Claims Island Community, Displaces 2,000 in Papua New Guinea

The 2,000 residents of the Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea are now some of the world's first climate change refuges, as rising sea levels driven by global warming have claimed their island homes. The residents of the low-lying South Pacific atolls have given up their 20-year losing fight against rising seas and will be resettled elsewhere in Papua New Guinea.

[From Pacific Islands Report:]

The Carteret Islands are almost invisible on a map of the South Pacific, but the horseshoe scattering of atolls in eastern-most Papua New Guinea is on the front line of climate change, as rising sea levels and storm surges eat away at their existence.

For 20 years, the 2,000 islanders living there have fought a losing battle against the ocean, building sea walls and trying to plant mangroves. Each year, the waves surge in higher, destroying vegetable gardens, washing away homes and contaminating fresh water supplies.

[Image: View of Huene Island in the Carteret's. Huene used to be one island but has now been bisected by rising seas. Fallen coconut trees in the foreground (on Iolassa Island) are also caused by the erosion of the coastline. Han Island, the largest in the group is in the distance.]

Recently, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare appropriated PGK4.1 million [US$1.4 million] to resettle PNG villagers affected by global warming.

The funding was part of a PGK1.6 billion [US$569 million] supplementary budget handed down by Treasury and Finance Minister Patrick Pruaitch.

Out of the PGK4.1 million funding, PGK2 million [US$712,000] will go to the Bougainville Autonomous Region’s Carteret Islanders.

The local Bougainville government has an ongoing resettlement program which it hopes to complete by the end of the year.

Rising sea levels will not only displace human populations. Coral reefs are expected to be affected by changes in ocean levels and sea surface temperatures.

As a result, the communities that depend upon these marine resources will be affected as well.

PNG’s Carteret islanders are destined to become some of the world’s first climate change refugees. Their islands are becoming uninhabitable, and may soon disappear below the waves.

A decision has been made to move the islanders to the larger nearby Bougainville Island, a four-hour boat ride to the southwest.

Ten families at a time will be moved once funds are released for the resettlement program.

An IPCC has predicted that average sea levels are likely to rise between 9cm and 88cm (3.5 to 35 inches) by 2100.


Anonymous said...


The islands are SINKING, not being inundated by rising seas.

This is another example of warm-mongers using a disaster for propaganda.

Anonymous said...

These islands are coral atolls kept at sea level by a magical symbiosis between algae and the coral animal. Tropical storms modify them and redistribute coral and spread 'seed' branches around to keep the island at sea level. The islands and atolls can keep pace with subsidence if man does not foul the water by blasting. Turbidity from human activity can smother the coral animals. Oh and by the way, sea level has risen an arithmetic average of 6 - 8 mm a year (125 m) since the end of the ice age. The islands and the people there rose with them. On the broader siliciclastic continental shelves, there were an infinite number of aboriginal 'Noahs'.
Relax, the planet is fine except for totalitarian politics.

Jean said...

Coral is at serious risk from two things:
- Warming sea temperature will kill the coral polyps and there is irrefutable evidence that sea temperature is rising and
- Increased Carbon dioxide dissolved in the sea in raising the pH or making it mare acidic and this is close to the level that will kill coral.

This is NOT warm-mongers and the level of scientific doubt about humans being responsible for global warming no significant.

99% of scientists support the contention that human activity is responsible for global warming and we ignore this at our peril.

Jean Cannon You can Green Your Business and increase your profits

Anonymous said...

CO2 has an unusual property called retrograde solubility. CO2 dissolves in cold water and bubbles out of warm water. Increasing the temperature of sea water (70% of the planet)causes seawater CO2 to evolve out and makes sea water more ACID. It is balanced at a point in chemistry called equilibrium. Local pH measurements may vary; this is called the normal variatio of a regionalized variable.

Coral animals and coral-algal reefs have existed since the Cambrian, about 500 million years ago. Coral have been thriving, particularly in warm tropical seas through thick and thin climate change since then. Their symbiosis with algae is a subtlty missed by an inconvenient and embarassingly wrong Power Point presentation by an American vice-president and some hollywood celebrity scientists. Pacific island atolls and Florida cannot dissappear if sea level were to rise. On the contrary, atolls (and Florida, Bermuda) have kept pace with 125 metres of sea level rise over the past 12,000 years during the interglacial episode we are now enjoying. Run for your lives alarmists; you have not done your homework.

Oh and by the way, Antarctica is growing colder and the ice cap,is growing; Greenland is below zero and the ice load has depressed the island mundreds of metres below sea level so the ice would need to flow uphill to slide off.