From 3 Sep 2012
From 3 Sep 2012
By Emily Smith and Ebony Bowden, PageSix.com
Aug 1, 2019
The world’s rich and famous have flocked to a posh Italian resort to talk about saving Mother Earth — but they sure are punishing her in the process.
The billionaire creators of Google have invited a who’s who of A-list names — including former President Barack Obama, Prince Harry, Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry — to the Sicilian seaside for a mega-party they’ve dubbed Google Camp.
The three-day event will focus on fighting climate change — though it’s unknown how much time the attendees will spend discussing their own effect on the environment, such as the scores of private jets they arrived in and the mega yachts many have been staying on.
“Everything is about global warming, that is the major topic this year,” a source told The Post.
Their three-day summer camp will cost the tech giant some $20 million, sources said.
Many of the guests, including Obama and DiCaprio — who has his own climate change foundation — have described global warming as the biggest threat to future generations.
But according to Italian press reports, the attendees were expected to show up in 114 private jets, and 40 had arrived by Sunday.
The Post crunched the numbers and found that 114 flights from Los Angeles to Palermo, Italy, where Camp guests landed, would spew an estimated 100,000 kilograms of CO2 into the air.
“Google Camp is meant to be a place where influential people get together to discuss how to make the world better,” one regular attendee told The Post.
“There will likely be discussions about online privacy, politics, human rights, and of course, the environment, which makes it highly ironic that this event requires 114 private jets to happen,” they said.
Attendees pay for their own travel to Sicily, but then Google foots the bill for everything at the opulent Verdura Resort, which reportedly features two golf courses and where rooms start at $903 a night.
Sources tell The Post that guests were personally invited by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Stars there also include Harry Styles, Orlando Bloom, Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller, who arrived on their enormous $200 million yacht Eos, which has both sails and two 2,300-horsepower diesel engines.
Billionaire Dreamworks founder David Geffen, meanwhile, gave Perry and Bloom a ride on his $400 million yacht, Rising Sun.
Also on hand for the environmental gabfest was the megayacht Andromeda, a 351-foot behemoth owned by a New Zealand billionaire and which features its own helipad.
Many of the attendees were seen in photos tooling around the island in high-speed sports vehicles, including Perry, who has made videos for UNICEF about climate change and was seen in a Maserati SUV that gets about 15 mpg city.
Stella McCartney, Bradley Cooper, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra plus Gayle King will also be on hand. Even Mark Zuckerberg of Google’s rival, Facebook, was invited, according to local reports.
Guests dine among ancient temples and are treated to performances by the likes of Sting, Elton John and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, before retiring to their suites at the Verdura Resort.
The tech company goes to extreme measures to keep its camp a secret — all hotel staff and security have to sign non-disclosure agreements, a source told the Daily Mail in 2018.
Pics added by Tales
With permission from
December 21, 2018
So…here we are, only a year away from 2020 and contemplating another year in the struggle for survival. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says we’ve got about 12 years to turn this climate change thing around and that’s just to avoid catastrophe, never mind guaranteeing a healthy planet in the future. Such a catastrophe could well involve the extinction of human beings, which would reveal just how dumb we are. Is there anything more stupid that the most intelligently-evolved species on the planet could do than commit mass suicide?
I am astounded at the tenacity, resilience and persistence of folks such as climate scientist James Hansen who, on behalf of future generations, have been shouting about the environmental threat since the late 1980s. And, since those days of his Congressional testimony Hansen, who worked for many years at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has courageously spread the word about climate change to fulfill part of NASA’s mission statement: To Understand and Protect the Home Planet.
Indeed, this was part of the mission statement of NASA until 2006 when those fateful words were quietly and very symbolically removed. Organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists were very disturbed about this development, noting at the time that research and funding opportunities related to earth science and climate change would be much harder to justify with NASA’s new focus solely on space exploration. Some may say it’s a bloody good job that we are learning more about life on other planets and how we can get there, given that a privileged bunch of us may have to flee this one at some point in the not-to-distant future. And, given the inequalities inherent in our current economic order, it will be only the rich that are saved. As for the poor and marginalized, they would be left behind to endure some sort of Mad Max-style barbarism and death.
At the recent climate summit in Poland, UN Secretary General António Guterres warned the plenary that ignoring the science is not just immoral, it’s “suicidal.” While we can feel some hope that the “High Ambition Coalition” of global North and several global South countries are committed to cutting their emissions in line with the 1.5 C temperature rise limit, there are some disturbing realities that must be confronted. Not to put too fine a point on it but achieving the 1.5C limit will require a global revolution. And it is not just about a revolution in technology. And it is certainly not about clever carbon emissions juggling and some tweaking of existing policy. It is fundamentally about recognizing that fossil capitalism, as Ian Angus calls it, is literally killing us.
This is not a new message for those on the environmental left, but for the global North mainstream, and perhaps particularly the Anglo-American portion of that mainstream, it is not an especially welcome message. Downsizing the “American way of life” implies not only radical changes to our daily consumption habits, including what we put on our plates, it also requires a radical ethos of solidarity and compassion that come into direct conflict with the individualist, competitive, growth-obsessed economic culture that dominates our societies. We are talking about a cultural shift that puts the health and welfare of people, communities and nature before profit and access to cheap “stuff.” It has almost become common place in environmental circles to point out that for everyone on the planet to live as we do in North America would require 3-5 planets. Last time I checked we only had one.
We need to directly confront the structural violence of contemporary capitalist institutional frameworks and processes brought to you by the world’s largest corporations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the various not so “free” trade agreements dotting the planet (have you seen any workers freely crossing borders lately while capital springs around boundary-less?).
These institutions provide the stage and grease the wheels (literally!) for rampant overconsumption in the global North while promising this lifestyle for increasing numbers in the global South. As living a life of dignity becomes less possible in many countries of the global South and inequality reaches what Oxfam has called “obscene” levels, the ghosts of our failed economic model appear in the form of economic refugees knocking increasingly loudly on our door only to discover tear gas or a wall. It is crucial that we recognize the connections between our Monty Python-sized ecological footprint and the economic and environmental marginalization of a significant majority of humanity. Increasing numbers of people are simply becoming irrelevant to the global economy.
Remember when we used to have dreams about technological developments meaning that time could be freed up for human beings to more deeply pursue their potential by having more of the mundane, dirty and necessary jobs done by machines? But as authors such as Garry Leech note, the “logic of capital” means that these greater efficiencies are often simply about increasing rates of profit while providing access to cheap stuff. Still reeling from “Black Friday” and heading into the holiday buying season, it is all too clear how much we like our stuff.
From a political perspective, maybe the good news is that climate change could be the great equalizer. While the effects are being and will continue to be disproportionately experienced by the poor, women, and people of colour, ultimately none of us can escape its consequences. However, in rich capitalist countries, while we face neoliberal austerity and rising inequality, we still have enough material comfort to pacify most of the population and to blind many of us to the realities of capitalism at a global level, from which we cannot separate ourselves.
I recently spent some time living in Cuba, the only country in the world, according to the World Wildlife Foundation, to have achieved “sustainable development” and where the question of what a future relationship with the capitalist world will look like is being asked very intentionally. It occurred to me while there, that from the perspective of climate change, it is perhaps even more important for usto ask what kind of relationship we will have with capitalism in the future. While our immediate issues and priorities may be different from Cuba’s, the question of what kind of values we want to live by and stand for is something that we can decide consciously, and this may be the most significant question we have to ask in contemporary politics.
So, what is to be done? What are we not doing that we should be doing? When I asked Cuban permaculture expert Roberto Perez what we need to do and what we need to talk about in the current moment to create social change in the global North that would contribute to a more socially just and ecologically sustainable global order, he replied: “When creating a political movement, I always think that things have to be attractive and sexy. The end of the world is not sexy.” We have learned the hard way that simply presenting people with the hard facts of global poverty, unjust wars and environmental degradation does not always lead to behavioral changes. This work is important and needs to happen but there is more to the picture.
The difficult thing to digest is that all of us in the global North are implicated in the continuation of the current economic model. And not because we are bad people. In actual fact, that we are all “guilty” is also good news in the sense that it highlights how we are all interdependent because our activities, purchases and general lifestyles are intimately connected to the fates of other human beings both within our own countries and around the world. In other words, changing our ways can save lives and the planet.
It is due to the everyday lifestyle choices of those in the North, and increasing numbers in China and India, along with the “threat” of those aspiring to live like us, that the capitalist growth machine keeps going. Even when we “know” what the consequences will be, it is difficult to get off the consumption train because everything we do from driving a car, to buying a pair of shoes, to flying to visit our sick grandmother, to eating a cheeseburger turns the wheels. Some people bike to work, shop ethically, and boycott factory farms, among other things, but there is still an underlying awareness that none of us can completely step off the train unless perhaps we decide to live isolated in the middle of the woods. But even living in the woods won’t work because not taking action to stop the train is also a form of accepting it—and the consequences of climate change will still be felt, even in the woods.
So, if providing people with the terrifying “facts” does not necessarily change behavior then what are we missing? Are we all just increasingly depressed and feeling more and more impotent? It turns out that the idea of the world ending really isn’t sexy after all because the changes required of us mean confronting many of our daily habits and comforts—and the less politically-minded may ask, for what? Some vague hope that paying more for my locally-produced organic veggies will make a dent in industrial monoculture crop production? Or that not buying an iPad may contribute to improvements in human rights for Chinese workers? Or not going through the fast food drive-thru may contribute to ending the systematic cruelty of factory farms? Or biking to work (if that is even possible) may mean I don’t contribute so much to fossil fuel emissions? Or putting up solar panels, getting a windmill, exploring geothermal heating etc.? And which f—king toothpaste should I buy? Why are there 20 choices?
Is it surprising that 21st century activists, and those simply aspiring to be good citizens, are a tad neurotic? The list of places and moments where ethical choices present themselves is endless. And is it any coincidence that it seems to be largely the middle and upper classes that have these options? Living ethically in North America not only requires a budget but to some degree it requires the privilege of social capital. Again, it is no coincidence that lifestyle diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes are disproportionately prevalent along race and class lines in North America.
Buddhist scholar and philosopher Joanna Macy suggests that what many of us see as apathy in our fellow citizens is actually pain avoidance. We don’t want to face our own pain and sadness and neither do we want to confront the collective pain of the broader culture we are a part of. While indigenous cultures can’t imagine seeing themselves as separate from nature and each other, those influenced by Western culture and Enlightenment thinking seem determined to see themselves as separate. This has allowed us to justify all kinds of exploitation of people, non-human animals and nature.
Yet at an existential level it saddens many of us deeply that football fields of deforestation are happening every several minutes in the Amazon, that millions of children unnecessarily go hungry every day, that increasing numbers of people are facing floods, heatwaves, forest fires, and that so many non-human animals face cruelty and torture, not to mention extinction on a daily basis, and so on. Roberto Perez believes that “people in the global North know that something is very wrong, they just don’t know where to start.”
Macy suggests that creating spaces to acknowledge this pain and building active hope are at least part of the solution. By active hope she means a hope that does not depend on believing you will meet your goal. It is a hope that believes in the process, in what we do together today. The point being that this is not an individual journey. Interdependence means that we can’t really get out of this mess without collectively shifting the culture and without coming to terms with the fact that many of us feel sadness about the various effects of our consumer capitalist culture from climate change to species extinction to glaring inequality to human rights abuses. And as Roberto reminded me, there are many of us around the world feeling this way. But if we are to avoid stupidly killing ourselves off, then we need to begin asking ourselves: What kind of revolution is required to ensure our continued existence on this planet?
The consequences of global climate change will be less severe for our planet if countries across the world managed to curb the rising of temperatures to 1.5 º C above pre-industrial levels, instead of the 2º C benchmark targeted today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday. Reaching this objective is possible, the study noted, but will require revolutionary changes to power generation methods and the phasing out of fossil fuels, coal in particular. A major transformation will also be required to the transportation network, as well as to human lifestyles, especially when it comes to growing food.
The half-degree difference could stop the almost complete eradication of corals and would ease pressure on the Arctic, which is seeing a steady meltdown. Sea level rises would be 10 cm lower with a 1.5º C rise compared to 2º C by 2100. “Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.
To achieve the desired goal, carbon dioxide emissions across the planet would need to fall by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and to reach “net zero” around 2050 to avoid catastrophic impacts, the scientists said.
The report, based on more than 6,000 scientific works, noted that consequences such as water scarcity, extreme weather, the spread of diseases and food shortages will be less severe at 1.5 º C rather than 2 ºC. If humanity passes the 1.5º C threshold, humans will need to rely on technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere. However, “the effectiveness of such techniques is unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development,” the report notes.
Monday’s report is a follow-up to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, under which 195 nations pledged to hold global temperatures “well below” 2º C above pre-industrial levels. Whether or not the goal is still attainable remains questionable after President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement, claiming it was unfair to his country. So far the planet has witnessed a 1º C rise in temperature compared to pre-industrial levels. National commitments to cut emissions will not limit global warming to 1.5 º C, the report warns, stressing that 1.5 º C warming will be witnessed sometimes between 2030 and 2052 if the current trends continue.
Oct 4, 2018
must be sky-high, given all the relentless guilt-tripping propaganda we are fed about how humanity is the cause of global warming. The agenda to push AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) or manmade global warming started around the 1980s and has been gaining momentum for decades, fooling many people along the way. Yet, despite all the publicity it has gotten, it has still failed to make clear a very fundamental point: exactly how much and what percentage of carbon or specifically CO2 (carbon dioxide) does humanity contribute to the atmosphere? If man is really driving global warming (now conveniently called “climate change”), surely this level must be pretty high or at least significant, right? The answer may shock you … and give new meaning to the term global warming hoax.
One of the difficult things about ascertaining the truth in the climate change debate is that there are so many different sets of measurements. Which one do you trust? How can you tell the truth when one side uses one set of data to prove its point, and the other side uses another set of data to prove its (diametrically opposed) point?
To bypass this dilemma, we are going to get the figures straight of the horse’s mouth so to speak by using data from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The IPCC is not a scientific body as you may imagine but rather a political one with a very clear bias towards promoting AGW and climate change alarmism. It’s their job to push the AGW agenda onto the public, even though they disguise that with claims that they “provide rigorous and balanced scientific information.” Here’s what Wim Rost had to say in his article IPCC ≠ SCIENCE ↔ IPCC = GOVERNMENT:
“IPCC is government and not science. And the workers of the IPCC prepare the work in accordance with the rules and procedures established by the IPCC.
In order to be scientific the scientific method has to be adhered. The use of many scientists to fill important parts of IPCC reports does not mean that everything is science. A report is just a report. In this case, a report from the IPCC. And the IPCC is (inter-) government. Scientists involved can produce their own scientific papers about their own specialised part of science, but a small group of writers writes the summaries and the conclusions – for the IPCC. And IPCC is government.
The IPCC’s stated mission is not to discover what accounts for climate change, but to assess “the risk of human-induced climate change.” Consequently, there is almost no discussion in its lengthy reports of other theories of climate change. Policymakers and journalists took this to mean the AGW theory was the only credible theory of climate change, and the IPCC’s sponsors and spokespersons had no incentive to correct the mistake.”
Here are the simple facts. Earth’s atmosphere consists of the following gases at the following levels:
Nitrogen (N) – 78%
Oxygen (O) – 21%
Argon (Ar) – 0.9%
Trace Gases – 0.1%
So far, so good. CO2 is a gas in such small concentrations that it hasn’t yet entered the picture. So, the next step is to break down the composition of trace gases (which are also the greenhouse gases) in our atmosphere:
Water Vapor (H2O) – 95% of trace gases / 0.95% of overall atmosphere
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – 3-4% of trace gases / 0.03 or 0.04% of overall atmosphere
Neon (Ne) – 0.1% of trace gases / 0.001% of overall atmosphere
There are also some gases at tiny concentrations, including helium (He), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and ozone (O3), as well as halogenated gases (CFCs) released by mankind which have damaged ozone.
Water vapor is far and away the largest greenhouse gas, but the IPCC chooses to ignore it! Check out these tables below where you can see that water vapor is excluded from the percentages. The IPCC and other AGW proponents claim they need to exclude water vapor from their calculations because it varies so much from region to region. Yes, it does vary greatly all over the Earth, but to just exclude the largest greenhouse gas (and a massive driver of temperature too) from your calculations because it’s inconvenient or varies too much is grossly misleading and unscientific.
To recap: trace gases are 0.1% of the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide makes up 3-4% of these trace gases, so therefore CO2 is 3-4% of 0.1%. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call it 3%, so CO2 comprises 0.003% of the atmosphere. That’s pretty damn small, but we can’t stop there, because the next question to ask is: how much of this is caused by human activity? The IPCC has conflicting sets of data here, but both are within a small range of each other, either 3.0% (using the 2007 figures) or 3.6% (using the 2001 figures):
No matter which set of data you use, the IPCC data shows that manmade CO2 output levels are ~3%. How do you figure this out? The 2001 data shows the total amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere (119 + 88 + 6.3 = 213.3) and the human portion as 6.3. Divide 6.3 by 213.3 and you get 2.95%. The 2007 data shows the total amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere (29 + 439 + 332 = 800) and the human portion as 29. Divide 29 by 800 and you get 3.63%.
So here’s the bottom line. According to the IPCC’s own data, manmade CO2 output levels are 3% of 3% of 0.1% of the total Earth’s atmosphere. That’s 0.000009%! That’s 9 millionths. CO2 is measured in ppm (parts per million) because it is such a tiny and insignificant gas, yet somehow, the propaganda has been so successful that is has sprouted into what some state is a US$1.5 trillion industry.
The IPCC is basically stuck on water vapor. It can’t actually measure it, since the variability across the world is so high, H2O vapor changes so quickly, and it takes place above a variety of different landscapes/topographies. There are too many variables to calculate to produce a good model. So it just shuffles it to the side and states it has no “confidence.” Here’s exactly what the IPCC says:
“Modelling the vertical structure of water vapour is subject to greater uncertainty since the humidity profile is governed by a variety of processes … because of large variability and relatively short data records, confidence in stratospheric H2O vapour trends is low.”
It doesn’t suit the IPCC’s agenda to really dive in and better understand the role of water vapor as the key greenhouse gas driving climate temperature. It’s far easier to just pretend it doesn’t exist and only focus on the tiny amount of CO2 in the atmosphere instead.
The idea that manmade CO2 output levels is a big problem, in the scheme of all of Earth’s eco problems, is a giant hoax. It diverts environmentalists’ attention away from the true issues that need addressing. Does it make any logical sense to spend so much money, energy and attention on 0.000009% of CO2, when there are very palpable, tangible and dangerous threats to our environment? What about geoengineering, the aerial chemtrail spraying of barium, aluminum and strontium all over us, and the flora and fauna of the Earth? What about the release of synthetic self-aware fibers that cause Morgellons’ Disease, in line with the NWO synthetic agenda? What about unstoppable environmental genetic pollution caused by the release of GMOs? What about the contamination of waterways with industrial chemicals, pesticides like glyphosate and atrazine, poisons like dioxin and DDT, heavy metals and pharmaceutical residues? Why are people wasting their energy on 3% of 3% of 0.1% when we have real MASSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL issues facing us as a species?
Respected theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson said:
“The possibly harmful climatic effects of carbon dioxide have been greatly exaggerated … the benefits clearly outweigh the possible damage.”
Despite all the politicians, celebrities and soul-for-sale scientists AGW has recruited to its cause, there is no real basis for the fearmongering. At the very top, those pushing the manmade global warming hoax know that’s its a scam, so rather than focusing on the facts, they appeal to emotion with fake images of starving polar bears (to arouse anger) and underwater cities (to arouse fear). The truth is that the green movement has long been hijacked by the very same NWO manipulators who helped to ruin the environment in the first place, through their ownership of oil, chemical and pharmaceutical multinational corporations. These manipulators rely on the average person being too busy or lazy to check the facts or think critically. They promote scientific illiteracy via their control of the MSM, the educational curriculum and their numerous think tanks.
Finally – if you dare – dig into the birth of the modern environmental movement, and you may be shocked to find how deeply it is steeped in eugenics and depopulation. It’s time to realize that those pushing this gigantic scam aren’t interesting in saving the environment – but rather depopulating it.
Makia Freeman is the editor of alternative media / independent news site The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com, writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the worldwide conspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance. Makia is on Minds, Steemit and FB.
After her house flooded for the third year in a row, Elizabeth Boineau was ready to flee. She packed her possessions into dozens of boxes, tried not to think of the mold and mildew-covered furniture and retreated to a second-floor condo that should be beyond the reach of pounding rains and swelling seas.
Boineau is leaving behind a handsome, early 20th-century house in Charleston, South Carolina, the shutters painted in the city’s eponymous shade of deep green. Last year, after Hurricane Irma introduced 8in of water into a home Boineau was still patching up from the last flood, local authorities agreed this historic slice of Charleston could be torn down.
“I was sloshing through the water with my puppy dog, debris was everywhere,” she said. “I feel completely sunken. It would cost me around $500,000 to raise the house, demolish the first floor. I’m going to rent a place instead, on higher ground.”
Millions of Americans will confront similarly hard choices as climate change conjures up brutal storms, flooding rains, receding coastlines and punishing heat. Many are already opting to shift to less perilous areas of the same city, or to havens in other states. Whole towns from Alaska to Louisiana are looking to relocate, in their entirety, to safer ground.
The population shift gathering pace is so sprawling that it may rival anything in US history. “Including all climate impacts it isn’t too far-fetched to imagine something twice as large as the Dustbowl,” said Jesse Keenan, a climate adaptation expert at Harvard University, referencing the 1930s upheaval in which 2.5 million people moved from the dusty, drought-ridden plains to California.
This enormous migration will probably take place over a longer period than the Dustbowl but its implications are both profound and opaque. It will plunge the US into an utterly alien reality. “It is very difficult to model human behaviour under such extreme and historically unprecedented circumstances,” Keenan admits.
The closest analogue could be the Great Migration – a period spanning a large chunk of the 20th century when about 6 million black people departed the Jim Crow south for cities in the north, midwest and west.
By the end of this century, sea level rise alone could displace 13 million people, according to one study, including 6 million in Florida. States including Louisiana, California, New York and New Jersey will also have to grapple with hordes of residents seeking dry ground.
“There’s not a state unaffected by this,” said demographer Mat Hauer, lead author of the research, which is predicated on a severe 6ft sea level increase. There are established migration preferences for some places – south Florida to Georgia, New York to Colorado – but in many cases people would uproot to the closest inland city, if they have the means.
“The Great Migration was out of the south into the industrialized north, whereas this is from every coastal place in the US to every other place in the US,” said Hauer. “Not everyone can afford to move, so we could end up with trapped populations that would be in a downward spiral. I have a hard time imagining what that future would be like.”
Within just a few decades, hundreds of thousands of homes on US coasts will be chronically flooded. By the end of the century, 6ft of sea level rise would redraw the coastline with familiar parts – such as southern Florida, chunks of North Carolina and Virginia, much of Boston, all but a sliver of New Orleans – missing. Warming temperatures will fuel monstrous hurricanes – like the devastating triumvirate of Irma, Maria and Harvey in 2017, followed by Florence this year – that will scatter survivors in jarring, uncertain ways.
The projections are starting to materialize in parts of the US, forming the contours of the climate migration to come.
“I don’t see the slightest evidence that anyone is seriously thinking about what to do with the future climate refugee stream,” said Orrin Pilkey, professor emeritus of coastal geology at Duke University. “It boggles the mind to see crowds of climate refugees arriving in town and looking for work and food.”
Pilkey’s new book – Sea Level Rise Along Americas Shores: The Slow Tsunami – envisions apocalyptic scenes where millions of people, largely from south Florida, will become “a stream of refugees moving to higher ground”.
“They will not be the bedraggled families carrying their few possessions on their backs as we have seen in countless photos of people fleeing wars and ethnic cleansing, most recently in Myanmar and Syria,” Pilkey states in his book. “Instead, they will be well-off Americans driving to a new life in their cars, with moving trucks behind, carrying a lifetime of memories and possessions.”
Dejected with frigid New York winters, Chase Twichell and her husband purchased a four-bedroom apartment in Miami Beach in 2011, with the plan of spending at least a decade basking in the sunshine. At first, keeping a pair of flip-flops on hand to deal with the flooded streets seemed an acceptable quirk, until the magnitude of the encroaching seas became apparent when the city spent $400m to elevate streets near Twichell’s abode.
Twichell began to notice water pumps were spewing plastic bags, condoms and chip packets into the bay. Friends’ balconies started getting submerged. Twichell, a poet, found apocalyptic themes creeping into her work. Last year, she sold the apartment to a French businessman and moved back to upstate New York.
“It was like end of the world stuff,” she said. “It was crazy for us to have such a big investment in such a dangerous situation.” Her neighbours initially scolded her but now several are also selling up, fretting that the real estate and insurance markets for properties like theirs will seize up.
“It was horrible but fascinating to see it,” Twichell said. “It’s like we got to see the future and it wasn’t pretty. It’s like a movie where there’s a terrible volcano that is destroying everything, only it’s much slower than that.”
A sense of fatalism is also starting to grip some local officials. Philip Stoddard, mayor of South Miami, has seen a colleague, spooked by sea level rise, move to California and some neighbours sell their houses before an expected slump in prices. Stoddard and his wife regularly discuss buying a fallback property, perhaps in Washington DC.
“Most people will wait for the problem to be bad to take action, that’s what I worry about,” he said. “We can buy a lot of time, but in the end we lose. The sea level will go over the tops of our buildings.”