the vast majority Precursor of raspberry ketone Benefits of raspberry ketones

No To SKC Incinerator Campaign – update (Forwarded and please share)

When I last wrote on 1 May, the Judicial Review proceedings had a date fixed of 7 June for the judge to hear argument as to whether leave should be granted for the JR to proceed.

You may have already learned from today’s media that at yesterday’s hearing the judge granted leave and fixed dates for a 3 day hearing from 14 to 16 November.

The judge said he only wanted to hear one of the cases, because the issues seemed to him to be essentially the same for each of the four applicants.

The case that will go forward is in the name of Leung Hon Wai (who lives on Cheung Chau), represented by Valentine Yim of counsel instructed by Lee Chan Cheng, solicitors

The other applicants include Mr Kwok Cheuk Kin and Mr Sin Chi Man (who also live on Cheung Chau) and Ms Loy Ho (who lives on Lantau and is chair of the Lantau Buffalo Association).

The judge is Mr Thomas Au.

*

I won’t go into all the arguments for and against the JR. Many are highly technical and/or turn around specific issues of Hong Kong legislation and underpinning administrative law principles.

The crucial points to bear in mind are:

– a JR cannot change government policy. It can at best overrule a government decision as improperly made. So, if the government is determined for the incinerator project to go ahead, this JR, even if successful, merely slows things down.

– at the heart of this JR is an attack on the Environmental Impact Assessment for non-compliance with essential requirements.

– alongside this is an attack on the decision by the Town Planning Board to approve the Outline Zoning Plan for Shek Kwu Chau (as a conservation area alongside a 3K tpd mass burn incinerator on an island 10 metres offshore) which in the view of many (myself included) is irrational to the point of schizophrenia.

– if the JR succeeds, the government can carry out a further EIA which does comply with essential requirements, and it can re-affirm the Outline Zoning Plan in ways which unambigously show there has been a change of government policy towards the conservation status of islands offshore South Lantau.

– the campaign to stop the incinerator therefore won’t be won by the JR alone. It has to be won politically, through continuing pressure on the government to consider and adopt alternative ways and means of addressing Hong Kong’s waste management.

In other words, whilst the JR is running, it seems unlikely Hong Kong’s administration will seek to re-introduce the Shek Kwu Chau incinerator proposal. However, the campaign is far from won until the incoming executive declares an alternative policy.

*

Leaving the JR aside, C.Y. Leung has now announced his ‘cabinet’ to include Mr Kam Sing Wong as the new Secretary for Environmental Affairs, succeeding Edward Yau. K.S. Wong is currently practicing as an architect in Hong Kong. He is chairman of the Professional Green Building Society and vice-chair of the HK Institute of Architects. Friends of the Earth consider him eco-friendly. Like the rest of the cabinet, he will assume his new post from 1 July.

Edward Yau, the current Environment Secretary, may be repositioned as Director of the Chief Executive’s Office in which capacity he may continue to exert significant influence.

*

Thanks to all who wrote to the Lands Department. I was forwarded a fair few of the Lands Department’s standard email response saying they were forwarding everything to the Environment Protection Department. Their way of saying ‘not in my back (or front) yard’.

*

It is worth noting also that Shenzhen, which already operates 7 incinerators with capacity to process 4,875 tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste per day, plans by 2015 to have an additional 3 incinerators, processing up to 6,300 tonnes per day – bringing Shenzhen’s total incinerator capacity to 11,175 tonnes per day. (This was not mentioned in the Environmental Impact Assessment for the SKC incinerator, which seems a bit of an oversight.)

So, whatever the outcome of the current SKC incinerator proposal, there is a broader cross-border battle to be fought to clear Hong Kong’s air for the future.

*

The following report (see http://ipetitions.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c5c0d97bafca87481521cc451&id=66c7ab073c&e=618217fe57 – also reported in the Straits Times) came in earlier this week on one of Singapore’s 3 incinerators:

***

SINGAPORE – An incinerator at a waste management plant in Tuas caught fire early Sunday morning. According to witness statements, three loud bangs were heard before flames were sighted.

An eyewitness told the Straits Times that technicians on duty were transporting oil sludge into a funnel leading to the incinerator when they heard the three loud explosive bangs, followed by the flames.

The technicians then sounded the alarm and left the control room, which reportedly caught fire just seconds later.

The roof also partially collapsed, reported the English daily.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said they were alerted to the fire at around 12.50am at Eco SWM, in Tuas. Deploying three fire engines, SCDF officers put out the fire within 30 minutes of their arrival.

A SCDF spokesperson said that all 25 employees who were onsite when the incident happened are accounted for. No injuries have been reported.

***

No doubt the Hong Kong administration will say this proves just how safe these modern incinerators are.

Best wishes,

Tom

Bycatch- the tuna industry’s dirty little secret- Green peace article..

Posted on October 22nd, 2011 in Beach Clean-up,Food,From You-Articles/Tidbits/Gems by Kate Wade

Hi there DB Green,

Here’s an article passed onto me from Angie. I noted the other day when buying some tuna that I could only find one brand of  tuna at Welcome that I felt I could buy- it was B&F and it says the tuna is skipjack tuna which is currently acceptable. Other brands were too vague or actually admitted using yellowfin tuna which is decreasing in numbers and is considered a type to avoid by Greenpeace. Some said they used good fishing methods but didn’t say what that was or who it was good for. Have a look at the writing on the sides of your cans next time- it’s not always about price- sometimes you need to vote with your purse. In the case of B&F it was pretty much the same price as the others though I don’t know what their fishing methods are.

Cheers, Kate

 

Aussies love canned tuna, but our appetite for it is having a devastating impact.

tuna bycatch greenpeace

Most if not all of the commercial tuna species are now exploited at unsustainable long-term levels after only a few decades of industrial fishing.

Less well-known is the effect tuna fishing is having on other species. As a result of wasteful fishing methods, our tuna catch is causing the widespread death of endangered and threatened marine animals – including sharks, rays, dolphins and turtlas – known collectively as ‘bycatch.’

In tuna purse seine fisheries using Fish Aggregation Devices, or FADs (floating objects, often equipped with satellite tracking, used to attract tuna) for every 10kg catch, up to 1 kg is bycatch and a further 2kg is juvenile tuna – meaning that it is too young to reproduce.

This bycatch is the tuna industry’s dirty little secret.

Greenpeace’s 2011 canned tuna ranking revealed that 8 out of 10 Australian brands continue to source tuna using purse seine nets with FADs resulting in high levels of bycatch. Only one major brand – Safcol – has dropped this practice fully by switching to 100 per cent pole and line caught tuna.

On October 13 2011 we launched our latest oceans report – What a waste: the hidden cost of canned tunaon Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach with a little help from our friends at Bondi Rescue. At the launch, one of Australia’s largest canned tuna brands – Greenseas – announced it will commit to going FAD free by 2015.

What a waste: the hidden cost of canned tuna

In the UK all supermarkets and all major tuna brands have announced they will no longer source tuna caught with purse seines and FADs, making the UK the world’s most sustainable tuna market.

The solution to reducing canned tuna’s bycatch is simple. The first and most urgent step is to ban the use of FADs in purse seine fisheries. Doing so would, at a stroke, reduce this bycatch by up to 90%.

We have a choice. Either we force our favourite brands to change the way they source their fish, or we face the real possibility that our children will be the last generation to have tuna in their sandwiches.

Take action

Tell Australian tuna brands and supermarkets to change their tuna

 

Gratitude

Posted on October 15th, 2011 in Beach Clean-up,From You-Articles/Tidbits/Gems,Outside Hong Kong by Kate Wade
Hi folks,
I recently received this email and though I don’t usually go for too much of this touch your heart type emails I did think this one was relevant to us and what we try to do and might emphasize the fact that there are a range of intelligent species on the planet- not just us- that they don’t have a voice and that we have to be that voice for them.
By the way- a big thank you for the volunteers from our last beach cleanup! There was about 100 of us cleaning the beach and from our numerous beach cleanups to date there was no doubt in my mind that this was the worst. The amount of rubbish was phenomenal and our data and figures were sent to combine with the beach cleanups around the world. I’ll get Tracey to add in some pictures and information.
Have a great midterm break for those of you with schoolies!

Kate

“…The Whale… If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spiderweb of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.
 

 

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. 

 

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them. 

 

Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same. 

 

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude. 

 

I pass this on to you, my friends, in the same spirit.
Life is good.”

TED tv- We don’t want to believe what we know!

Posted on August 21st, 2009 in From You-Articles/Tidbits/Gems by Kate Wade

From one of our members check out the link to this talk- makes you want to shake everyone by the shoulders and say “WAKE UP!- can’t you see what we are doing???” Also I believe you can buy Home at HMV- well worth seeing- the photography is amazing! K

“Dear All.
A friend send me the link to this talk :
http://www.ted.com/talks/yann_arthus_bertrand_captures_fragile_earth_in_wide_angle.html

There is also his movie called home that came out on 5th of June. I do not know how to download it yet. It’s for free. The only copy I got was the youtube version but really bad.

Regards,
Merry”

Low Carbon Living- Computers- WWF newsletter 8 aug 09

Posted on August 8th, 2009 in From You-Articles/Tidbits/Gems by Kate Wade

Smart tips for Low Carbon Living: computers
http://www.wwf.org.hk/images/emailer/200908_1/3.jpgcomp
Reducing our impact on the environment doesn’t mean that you have to change your daily habits entirely. What we need is just a few tips and some adjustments.

For example, when you use your computer, please consider the following:

1. Do not use screen saver as it does not help save energy.
2. Set the system to standby/ sleep mode if it is idle for 30 minutes or more.
3. Turn the brightness of your screen lower as the brightest setting can double the power use of the dimmest setting.
4. Plug all your electronics onto one power strip and turn the strip off when you finish using your computer.
Click here for more tips for Low Carbon Living.

Say No To Tuna- from WWF newsletter 8th Aug 09

Posted on August 8th, 2009 in Food,From You-Articles/Tidbits/Gems by Kate Wade

Hi folks- I love tuna but I am not sure I can eat it now considering the following info. I have sent an email to my friends at Zaks who have 2 tuna dishes I love to see if they know whether the source of their tuna is sustainable. Until then for me it is off the menu. Likewise as sushi at any restaurants. k

      Seafood Choice Initiative

Bluefin Tuna in Crisis
Tuna

In Hong Kong, bluefin tuna is better known as a luxurious sushi delicacy than a fish actually on the verge of extinction, due to uncontrolled and indiscriminate exploitation of this migratory mariner including its juveniles. Driven by the fast-growing pursuit of fine-dining globally, all three species of this oceanic giant: southern bluefin tuna (global Southern Ocean), Pacific bluefin tuna (Indo-Pacific Ocean), northern bluefin tuna (Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea) have been largely fished out to satisfy our insatiable taste buds. The rarer they are, the more expensive they become and the closer they are to commercial extinction – which will mean fish will be hard to find for commercial consumption.

There is no alternative to bluefin tuna, as is the case for any other species which is unique on earth. Besides eating it, let’s learn more about this species, one of the fastest swimmers.
tuna © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF
Biology
It takes about 8 to 14 years for northern and southern bluefin tuna to mature and about 3 to 5 years for Pacific tuna. These fishes reproduce and feed in big groups, which makes them particular vulnerable to fishing pressure.

Problems of overfishing
© Michel GUNTHER /WWF-Canon
Of the three bluefin tuna species, northern and southern are currently listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, while the Pacific population is considered overfished as suggested by circumstantial evidences and limited information on stock status. Overall, populations have declined dramatically in the last few decades. Since the 1970s, populations of the northern bluefin tuna have declined by almost 90% while southern bluefin tuna have declined by about 85%.

There is currently no quota system and no way of controlling Pacific bluefin tuna fishing in international waters. A large number of immature Pacific bluefin tuna are caught by small, local fisheries in Japan, pushing this population close to the endangered category.

It’s now or never to save bluefin tuna

Bluefin tuna will soon disappear unless urgent action is taken. Members of the public in Hong Kong care, as shown by a survey commissioned by WWF in 2005 where 97% of Cantonese speakers said that they would stop consuming a species if they found out it was endangered. Living in a city that loves seafood, we should be aware of the environmental cost of our incessant and irresponsible pursuit of fine but rare food.

What you can do

As a Hotel/Restaurant, you can…
As a corporate consumer, you can…
As an individual consumer, you can…

Sunscreen, Lip Balm, Moisturiser tests- EWG newsletter

Posted on August 8th, 2009 in From You-Articles/Tidbits/Gems,Resources by Kate Wade

Another email I get regularly is from the Environmental Working Group in USA. They often do surveys on various products and are doing a lot of good work lobbying governments and making businesses more accountable. A couple of sources of safe sunscreen I can think of in DB is one of our members Angie who supplies a product form Australia ‘miessence‘- email her on angbucu@pacific.net.hk. And Gaelle at Kinoa also has safe sunscreen.K

Planning to enjoy an August beach vacation or a weekend outdoors before the school bus starts its rounds again? If you haven’t already, check out our 2009 Sunscreen Guide and make sure your sunscreen is safe and works for your family.

Click here to view EWG’s 2009 Sunscreen Guide.

Did you know our guide also evaluates lip balms and moisturizers that claim to offer sun protection? We’ve been known as a resource for consumers seeking quality, safe sunscreens, but now we offer even more information on better choices for your family.

Make sure you’re prepared for those steaming August days.

Use EWG’s Sunscreen Guide to find a safe, sun-protective lip balm or moisturizer.

Hemp plastic and prophetic article written in 1991

Posted on June 28th, 2009 in From You-Articles/Tidbits/Gems by Kate Wade

Forwarded interesting tidbit and gem- see particularly the article below about America going to war – written in 1991-

Hemp is the answer to our woes
http://www.hempplastic.com/newSite/index.htm
Please forward to all your friends – Hemp will save the world
Eat it, wear it, can replace ALL oil based products
We are working on it in Cambodia – catch up or be left behind

“All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

–excerpt from Herer, “Emperor Wears No Clothes,” 1991 edition, p. 136
HEMP IS THE NUMBER ONE biomass producer on planet earth: 10 tons per acre in approximately four months. It is a woody plant containing 77% cellulose. Wood produces 60% cellulose. This energy crop can be harvested with equipment readily available. It can be “cubed” by modifying hay cubing equipment. This method condenses the bulk, reducing trucking costs from the field to the pyrolysis reactor. And the biomass cubes are ready for conversion with no further treatment.
Hemp is drought resistant, making it an ideal crop in the dry western regions of the country. Hemp is the only biomass resource capable of making America energy independent. And our government outlawed it in 1938.
Remember, in 10 years, by the year 2000, America will have exhausted 80% of her petroleum reserves. Will we then go to war with the Arabs for the privilege of driving our cars; will we stripmine our land for coal, and poison our air so we can drive our autos an extra 100 years; will we raze our forests for our energy needs?
During World War II, our supply of hemp was cut off by the Japanese. The federal government responded to the emergency by suspending marijuana prohibition. Patriotic American farmers were encouraged to apply for a license to cultivate hemp and responded enthusiastically. Hundreds of thousands of acres of hemp were grown.
The argument against hemp production does not hold up to scrutiny: hemp grown for biomass makes very poor grade marijuana. The 20 to 40 million Americans who smoke marijuana would loath to smoke hemp grown for biomass, so a farmer’s hemp biomass crop is worthless as marijuana.
It is time the government once again respond to our economic emergency as they did in WWII to permit our farmers to grow American hemp so this mighty nation can once again become energy independent and smog free.
For more information on the many uses of hemp, contact BACH, the Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp, Box 71093, LA, CA 90071-0093, 213/288-4152.

BOTTLED WATER- cancer connection

Posted on June 28th, 2009 in Air and Water Quality,From You-Articles/Tidbits/Gems by Kate Wade

Received this email that has been passed around….. just remember too that before you buy bottled water you have no idea how many times it has already been heated up in it’s journey to the shop shelves……

Cancer Update from Johns-Hopkins

Bottled water in your car is very dangerous!

On the Ellen show, Sheryl Crow said this is what caused her breast
cancer. It has been identified as the most common cause
of the high levels of dioxin in breast cancer tissue.

Sheryl Crow’s oncologist told her:
women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.
The heat reacts with the chemicals in the plastic of the
bottle which releases dioxin into the water. Dioxin is
a toxin increasingly found in breast cancer tissue.
So please be careful and do not drink bottled water that has
been left in a car. Pass this on to all the women in your life.
This information is the kind we need to know that just might save
us! Use a stainless steel canteen or a glass bottle
instead of plastic!

LET EVERYONE WHO HAS A WIFE / GIRLFRIEND /
DAUGHTER KNOW PLEASE!

This information is also being circulated at Walter Reed
Army Medical Center
No plastic containers in microwave.

No water bottles in freezer

No plastic wrap in microwave.

A dioxin chemical causes cancer, especially breast cancer.
Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies.
Don’t freeze your plastic bottles with water in them
as this releases dioxins from the plastic.

Recently, Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital ,
was on a TV program to explain this health hazard.
He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us.
He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using
plastic containers…
This especially applies to foods that contain fat.

He said that the combination of fat, high heat,=2 0and plastic releases
dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body…

Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex
or ceramic containers for heating food…
You get the same results, only without the dioxin.

So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and
soups, etc., should be removed from the container
and heated in something else.

Paper isn’t bad but you don’t know what is in the paper.
It’s just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc.
He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food
restaurants moved away from the foam containers to
paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons..
Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran wrap,
is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave.
As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food.

Cover food with a paper towel instead.
This is an article that should be sent
To anyone important in Your life!

MELTING ICE COULD LEAD TO MASSIVE WAVES OF CLIMATE REFUGEES

Posted on June 4th, 2009 in From You-Articles/Tidbits/Gems by Kate Wade

MELTING ICE COULD LEAD TO MASSIVE WAVES OF CLIMATE REFUGEES

http://www.earthpolicy.org/Books/Seg/PB3ch03_ss5.htm

Lester R. Brown

As the earth warms, the melting of the earth’s two massive ice sheets–Antarctica and Greenland–could raise sea level enormously. If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt, it would raise sea level 7 meters (23 feet). Melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet would raise sea level 5 meters (16 feet). But even just partial melting of these ice sheets will have a dramatic effect on sea level rise. Senior scientists are noting that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections of sea level rise during this century of 18 to 59 centimeters are already obsolete and that a rise of 2 meters during this time is within range.

Assessing the prospects for the Greenland ice sheet begins with looking at the warming of the Arctic region. A 2005 study, conducted by the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) team, an international group of 300 scientists, concluded that the Arctic is warming almost twice as fast as the rest of the planet. It found that in the regions surrounding the Arctic, including Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia, winter temperatures have already climbed by 3-4 degrees Celsius (4–7 degrees Fahrenheit) over the last half-century.

In testimony before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuit speaking on behalf of the 155,000 Inuits who live in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and the Russian Federation, described their struggle to survive in the fast-changing Arctic climate as “a snapshot of what is happening to the planet.” She called the warming of the Arctic “a defining event in the history of this planet.”

The ACIA report described how the retreat of the sea ice has devastating consequences for polar bears, whose very survival may be at stake. A subsequent report indicated that polar bears, struggling to survive, are turning to cannibalism. Also threatened are ice-dwelling seals, a basic food source for the Inuit.

Since this 2005 report, there is new evidence that the problem is worse than previously thought. A team of scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the National Center for Atmospheric Research concluded that the ice is melting much faster than climate models had predicted. They found that from 1979 to 2006 the summer sea ice shrinkage accelerated to 9.1 percent a decade. In 2007, Arctic sea ice shrank some 20 percent below the previous record set in 2005. This suggests that the sea could be ice-free well before 2050, the earliest date projected by the IPCC in its 2007 report. Some scientists now think that the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in the summer by 2030, if not earlier. Arctic scientist Julienne Stroeve observed that shrinking Arctic sea ice may have reached “a tipping point that could trigger a cascade of climate change reaching into Earth’s temperate regions.”

Scientists are concerned that “positive feedback loops” may be starting to kick in. This term refers to a situation where a trend already under way begins to reinforce itself. Two of these potential feedback mechanisms are of particular concern to scientists. The first, in the Arctic, is the albedo effect. When incoming sunlight strikes the ice in the Arctic Ocean, up to 70 percent of it is reflected back into space. Only 30 percent is absorbed as heat. As the Arctic sea ice melts, however, and the incoming sunlight hits the much darker open water, only 6 percent is reflected back into space and 94 percent is converted into heat. This may account for the accelerating shrinkage of the Arctic sea ice and the rising regional temperature that directly affects the Greenland ice sheet.

If all the ice in the Arctic Ocean melts, it will not affect sea level because the ice is already in the water. But it will lead to a much warmer Arctic region as more of the incoming sunlight is absorbed as heat. This is of particular concern because Greenland lies largely within the Arctic Circle. As the Arctic region warms, the island’s ice sheet–up to 1 mile thick in places–is beginning to melt.

The second positive feedback mechanism also has to do with ice melting. As an ice sheet’s surface begins to melt, some of the water filters down through cracks in the glacier, lubricating the surface between the glacier and the rock beneath it. This accelerates the glacial flow and the calving of icebergs into the surrounding ocean. The relatively warm water flowing through the glacier also carries surface heat deep inside the ice sheet far faster than would simple conduction.

Several recent studies report that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet is accelerating. A study published in Science in September 2006 reported that the rate of ice melt on the vast island has tripled over the last several years. In October 2006, a team of NASA scientists reported that the flow of glaciers into the sea was accelerating. Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said, “None of this has been predicted by numerical models, and therefore all projections of the contribution of Greenland to sea level [rise] are way below reality.”

At the other end of the earth, the 2-kilometer-thick Antarctic ice sheet, which covers a continent about twice the size of Australia and contains 70 percent of the world’s fresh water, is also beginning to melt. Ice shelves that extend from the continent into the surrounding seas are starting to break up at an alarming pace.

In May 2007, a team of scientists from NASA and the University of Colorado reported satellite data showing widespread snow-melt on the interior of the Antarctic ice sheet over an area the size of California. Konrad Steffen, one of the scientists involved, observed, “Antarctica has shown little to no warming in the recent past with the exception of the Antarctic Peninsula, but now large regions are showing the first signs of the impacts of warming.”

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has analyzed the effect of a 10-meter rise in sea level, providing a sense of what the melting of the world’s largest ice sheets could mean. The IIED study begins by pointing out that 634 million people live along coasts at or below 10 meters above sea level, in what they call the Low Elevation Coastal Zone. This massive vulnerable group includes one eighth of the world’s urban population.

One of the countries most vulnerable is China, with 144 million potential climate refugees. India and Bangladesh are next, with 63 and 62 million respectively. Viet Nam has 43 million vulnerable people, and Indonesia, 42 million. Others in the top 10 include Japan with 30 million, Egypt with 26 million, and the United States with 23 million.

The world has never seen such a massive potential displacement of people. Some refugees could simply retreat to higher ground within their own country. Others–facing extreme crowding in the interior regions of their homeland–would seek refuge elsewhere. Bangladesh, already one of the world’s most densely populated countries, would face a far greater concentration: in effect, 62 million of its people would be forced to move in with the 97 million living on higher ground.

Not only would some of the world’s largest cities, such as Shanghai, Kolkata, London, and New York, be partly or entirely inundated, but vast areas of productive farmland would also be lost. The rice-growing river deltas and floodplains of Asia would be covered with salt water, depriving Asia of part of its food supply.

In the end, the question is whether governments are strong enough to withstand the political and economic stress of relocating large numbers of people while suffering losses of housing and industrial facilities. The relocation is not only an internal matter, as a large share of the displaced people will want to move to other countries. Can governments withstand these stresses, or will more and more states fail?

# # #

Adapted from Chapter 3, “Rising Temperatures and Rising Seas ,” in Lester R. Brown, Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008), available for free downloading and purchase at www.earthpolicy.org/Books/PB3/index.htm.

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