Burma: What Climate Change Devastation Looks Like

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myanmar-hurricane-damage.jpgThe tropical storm that kicked off the Pacific monsoon season Saturday has now officially killed 22,000 (expect a much larger death toll, perhaps more than 100,000) and left an estimated 1 million homeless.

How much of the event's intensity was caused by global climate change can be debated, but I was struck by the "before" and "after" satellite view of the region.

This is what future climate-change caused sea-level rise projections look like in low-lying regions all over, not just in the Irrawaddy Delta--The Mississippi Delta, Chesapeake Bay, throughout earth.

Look at the difference between the photo on the right, after Cyclone Nargis, and on the left before the cyclone. On the right, hundreds of square miles are now under water as can be seen by the expanded blue at the bottom of the photo.

The frightening part is that this photo is not a projection. It's real, and it's what one million or more people are struggling to survive in at this very moment. Tens of millions more will be impacted by the resulting famine that results from the loss of not only farmers and their rice crops, but the permanently impacted center of the nation's agriculture.

With climate change there will be slow changes to some coastlines and low lying areas.

Climate change may also literally submerge overnight coastlines and river deltas, such as these densely populated areas just outside Burma's largest city, Yangon, which are now more part of the Indian Ocean than mainland Asia.

Photo: AP/Yahoo

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About the Author

    Warren Karlenzig
Warren Karlenzig, Common Current founder and president, has worked with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (lead co-author United Nations Shanghai Manual: A Guide to Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century, 2011); United Nations Center for Regional Development (training of mayors from 13 Asian nations on city sustainable economic development and technology); provinces of Guizhou and Guangdong, China (urban sustainability master planning and green city standards); the United States White House and Environmental Protection Agency (Eco-Industrial Park planning and Industrial Ecology primer); the nation of South Korea ("New Cities Green Metrics"); The European Union ("Green and Connected Cities Initiative"); the State of California ("Comprehensive Recycling Communities" and "Sustainable Community Plans"); major cities; and the world's largest corporations developing policy, strategy, financing and critical operational capacities for 20 years.

Present and recent clients include the Guangzhou Planning Agency; the Global Forum on Human Settlements; the Shanghai 2010 World Expo Bureau; the US Department of State; the Asian Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the non-governmental organization Ecocity Builders; a major mixed-use real estate development corporation; an educational sustainability non-profit; and global corporations. Read more here.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Warren Karlenzig published on May 6, 2008 11:16 AM.

Shell: "Oil Supply Will Struggle to Keep Pace" and "Environmental (CO2) Stresses are Increasing" was the previous entry in this blog.

Aid for Burma/ Myanmar: Where to send it is the next entry in this blog.

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