Climate Refugees

By Emmanuel Narokobi

I guess it really is one of the hottest topics of today from Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth‘ to Danger’s post ‘An Interesting Truth‘ The truth be told, the more this topic is being discussed, the more shades it starts taking and combined with it’s now blended mix into politics, business, marketing and just NGO’s, I’ll be honest I am getting a little confused about what truth to believe in.

 

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Well one thing is for sure, our weather is changing and I remember seeing an article earlier this year in the National newspaper about our very own example of the effects of Global Warming. Caterets Island just off the coast from Bouganiville is sinking. Of course this is not breaking news because the island has been sinking for nearly 20 years now, but I have only been more aware of it now because of the focus of the media on the island. I’m actually writing this because I saw a TV report on the island on ABC’s Foreign Correspondent on the weekend.

It is sad that we in PNG will be witnessing one of the first possible examples in the world of ‘Climate Refugees‘. I can imagine that this may become a phrase that we may possibly hear allot of in the next 10 – 15 years (unless something magical happens..)

I’ll be honest though I do not know enough about Global Warming to argue it’s scientific points and I do not know enough about the politics behind it to predict possible policy solutions, and even with the Caterets Island some say it could just be that the island is sinking because it is made of coral. The only truth I know is that the rains in Port Moresby are not falling in the months they used to and the days at Bava Park are getting more humid.

 

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View of Huene from Iolassa Island. Huene used to be one island but has now been bisected by the ocean

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Watch the ABC TV report on your desired internet link below:

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Update 13/09/07

34 thoughts on “Climate Refugees

  1. We the island nations will feel the effect of global warming.

    I grew up in Wewak (1975-1989) when my dad was with the DF at Moem and used to frequent the beach at Moem Point to make use of the waves – surfing!! And I first noticed the sandy beaches being washed way and the shoreline go shorter and shorter.

    In 1989 while at Brandi High I used to make frequent trips to Moem because thats all my friends were (+childhood memories) and noticed the road which runs along the sea was slowly being eaten away because there was no longer a beach! The shoreline had come in over the road.

    At that time, didnt even know what Global warming, or green house effect was, let alone a green house.

    I am not sure how it is today.

  2. There is a hell of a lot of very complicated science invoved in climatology. There is also, unfortunately, almost as much politics. On one side you have pro-environment groups that hold nature and the earth as our most important asset and are often criticized for not valuing human culture and economic development as being our most outstanding acheivment. They have amongst them left wing groups that see climate change as a tool with which to convince the rest of us of the value of their politics. They will often selectively use information to strengthen this message.

    On the other side you have pro-development capitalists. These people see the creation of wealth and unimpeded economic development as being the most important thing. They tend to believe that all the science on climate change is inaccurate and incomplete at best and the result of a vast anti-humanist and socialist conspiracy at worst. They will often falsify or ignore important science in order to strengthen their message. In one notorious example the oil company Exxon-Mobil offered scientists $40,000 dollars to fabricate results that showed climate change was not occurring.

    Stuck in the middle are the poor scientists who continue researching and coming up with pieces of information that do occaisionally contradict each other. This is only to be expected in a field as vast, complicated and little understood as climate science.

    Its often said that we can’t predict the weather a month from now so why are we making all these predictions about the next 100 years. That ignores the fact that we can see long term trends in the earths climate. We may not be able to say how sunny it will be next tuesday but if temperatures have been steadily rising by (for example) half a degree each decade for the past 50 years then we can say that the next ten will probably be warmer rather than cooler.

    But it has got to the point where, as Manu says, even us normal people are beginning to notice diiferences in the climate. Rains not coming when they should, islands sinking, diseases like Malaria being found in highland valleys that were previously too cool for mosquitoes, shrinking glaciers in the Owen Stanley ranges. Taken separately some of these may be able to be explained but together they present a compelling reason to take a look at what is happening to the earths climate and see what, if anything, we can do.

    The consensus at the moment is that the earth is being gradually warmed by a greenhouse effect caused by rising carbon dioxide levels that is mainly emitted by the burning of coal and oil and the cutting down of our forests, the lungs of the earth. There has been some recent interest in solar cycle variations but the science in this is far less compelling than the man-made climate change theory.

    The people who will suffer the most in any climate change scenario are the worlds poor and developing countries. The rich western countries have the money and infrastructure to deal with all but the most disastrous changes in weather but poor people with little resources such as Carteret islanders or the hundreds of millions who live in flood prone regions of Bangladesh have little option and any rise in sea levels will affect them disproportionately.

    The earth is at a tipping point where if current trends continue then we will be seeing vast changes in the climate that will affect everyone everywhere. We must make choices now that will cut our CO2 emmissions and stabilize their levels at under 550 parts per million. Currently we are at about 420 ppm and rising. Fast. This effect could be also be sped up even quicker by processes known as positive feedback loops. In short; the warmer it gets the quicker the warming will occur. If we get into a positive feedback loop it may be impossible to control the warming. We have 10, perhaps 15 years to get this under control. To wait any longer could be disastrous.

  3. @Rodney
    I think Moem is about the same, I haven’t been there in a while myself. But on the Dagua side it seems like it’s more erosion rather than sea levels rising, (but it could be both).

    Wow, thanks Danger for summing it up so well…I definately have a better picture now of the whole issue.

    While you guys are there, below is an email from some friends of mine at the PNG Sustainable Development Program. It’s about emissions trading,
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    International trade in biofuels: good for development? and good for environment?

    Authors: Dufey, A.

    Produced by: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) (2007)

    This briefing argues that biofuels can help tackle climate change problems and improve rural employment and livelihoods. They may also help diversify energy portfolios, ameliorate trade balances and improve air quality. There are however limitations and problems with biofuels. These include expansion of agricultural frontiers, the impacts of biofuel production on food security, labour practices and on the distribution of costs and benefits along the trade chain. Suggestions are made on how national governments and the international community can address these issues to realise opportunities and minimise risks:

    At the national level:

    developing-country governments need to identify the types of biofuels and feedstock that are most suitable for the achievement of their sustainable development goals the international community could assist by providing evidence on the sustainable development impacts of different types of biofuels and energy crops through analyses of the entire chain from production to consumption national governments need to have a clear understanding of the potential sustainable development benefits; identify the right policies for the industry to take off; invest in environmentally suitable farming practices and technologies; policies should enable the fair participation of small farmers in the supply chain social consequences of the move to biofuels must be considered, as must the potential trade-offs with food security.

    At the international level:

    identify key barriers affecting trade, and the best ways and arenas in which to address them analyse the impacts of policies in industrial countries on biofuel trade and on the sustainable development of developing countries apply evidence from other areas (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions) to build on the experience of certification schemes in the agriculture and forestry sectors a better understanding of how these schemes can be beneficial to small producers proliferation of certification systems in the North, with insufficient consideration of conditions in producer countries, could be detrimental to sustainable trade and place a significant burden on small producers develop a coherent international trading system that is well equipped to facilitate the industry’s contribution to sustainable development, and for mechanisms that can deal with the negative aspects.

    Available online at: http://www.eldis.org/cf/rdr/rdr.cfm?doc=DOC23793

  4. Also on emissions trading, another friend at PNGSDP, also told me that in PNG, Lihir Gold have engaged in using emissions trading for a Geothermal plant which is now working on the island. I think my friend rightly highlights that this is the best way for PNG to contribute to reducing our CO2 emissions in our part of the world.

    An excerpt from the mining company’s website reads:
    …This project is a first for Papua New Guinea and will provide an opportunity for Lihir, and indeed Papua New Guinea to deliver substantial environmental gains imagined but not yet realised when the government of Papua New Guinea ratified the Kyoto protocol in 2000.

    The project will replace electricity currently generated on Lihir island through the combustion of heavy fuel oil in diesel engines. Heavy fuel oil has a high carbon emission factor, which means that about 700 kilograms of carbon dioxide, commonly referred to as a greenhouse gas, are emitted for each megawatt hour of power produced.

    In 2004, Lihir Gold burnt over 88,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, equivalent to 280,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, or about 6% of PNG’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    The addition of this facility alone will halve the current greenhouse emissions, and we have another 20 MW planned for the immediate future, on top of the 6 MW plant commissioned in 2003.

    Utilisation of this natural resource for electricity generation will significantly reduce the company’s heavy fuel oil costs, and therefore our operating costs…

  5. Biofuels are a useful interim technology for powering our liquid fuelled cars. Ultimately though, we’d all be better off switching to all-electric vehicles. But it will take ~20 years to completely overturn the vehicle fleet so biofuels are a good potential step befoe electric cars are available to the mass market. Howevere there are serious questions currently being raised over just how greenhouse friendly biofuels are:

    From: http://www.climateark.org/blog/2007/02/alert_indonesias_biofuel_expan.asp

    The Indonesian government has endorsed a massive biofuel program which foresees an increase in oil palm plantations [search] to eventually over 26 million hectares. Far from reducing climate change emissions, it will rapidly release up to 50 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. This is the equivalent of over 6 years of global fossil fuel emissions and could well make the generally accepted 2C degree of warming that is considered “dangerous” unavoidable. A recent study has found that one ton of biodiesel made from palm oil grown on Southeast Asia’s peatlands is linked to the emission of 10-30 tons of carbon dioxide. Shockingly, this is 2-8 times as much carbon released as in production of a ton of fossil fuel diesel.

    One option that has been suggested is the farming of Giant kelp for use as a biofuel. This grows underwater at a phenomenal rate (up to 50cm per day). It would reduce stress on forest clearing and land biodiversity though appropriate sea reserves for growing it would need to be found.

  6. Looks like there is no silver bullet here…so the most practical solutions in the short to medium term so far, would be to:

    1. Encourage emissions trading development for PNG’s mining and industrial sector

    2. Invest in the least environmentally stressful bio-diesel methods, like Kelp.

    Any other options or could those be a good start?

  7. Agreed. Using a variety of options are our best bet. If we invest too heavily in one single or group of technologies we face disproportionate penalty if they turn out to be unviable.

    By that logic we should be looking at a combination of Bio-Fuels, Solar, Wind, Hydro, Geothermal. The application of such technology will depend on the location and application to an extent. Ie: Solar in desert areas, windmills near the coast, Geothermal in geologically suitable regions (as in Lihir) etc..

    These technologies will become much more attractive if emissions trading is widely embraced. Until then they are still capital intensive and have rates of return that are not as competitive.

  8. Okay seeing that the technologies are already around and ready, I guess the next step is to assess what natural energy resources we have and in what locations and how the technologies should be employed there.

    Also I was wondering whether it would be worthwhile for a type of finance company to become involved in broking/marketing/consulting of big businesses in PNG on the investment opportunities for emissions trading.

    I’m thinking that if it can be widely publicised that there is money in it (or savings), it may get some traction as an investment vehicle first and an environmental investment second. Primarily because ‘money talks!’

    One company I found on the net is CantorCO2e, here’s their spiel on their website:

    CantorCO2e is a leading global provider of financial services to the world’s environmental and energy markets, offering finance, advice, technology and transaction services to clients engaged in using energy and managing emissions across the world. We are headquartered in London and San Francisco, and have fourteen offices across five continents. This global, yet local presence across the world, together with the unique experience of our staff, enables us to provide a level of service that few can match.

    CantorCO2e helps people across the world to manage the financial aspects of their energy and environmental choices. In North America and Europe, this means providing professional brokerage services to the energy and environmental commodity markets, and elsewhere around the world this means bringing our expertise, money and technology, to projects that reduce emissions.

    CantorCO2e serves all of the world’s principal emissions markets, including the Kyoto markets (CDM, JI and European emissions trading), the USA compliance markets, and the voluntary carbon market. We help companies transact via electronic trading screens, recorded telephone lines, auctions and negotiated contracts. As well as emissions, we broker traditional energy products, and ‘new’ energy, such as renewable energy, ethanol and biodiesel. We advise equity investment funds on carbon finance, introduce investors to projects, and structure forward sales to enable project developers to fund their investments. We help ‘clean-tech’ technology developers to manage their intellectual property, to develop their licensing strategies, and to roll out their technologies through our global network. All in all, an integrated set of services to bring environmental commodities to market, and to help our clients manage their energy and environmental risks world-wide.

  9. The Catarets are beautiful islands, its a pity they are sinking.

    I watched the documentary about them on the weekend. The people are limited of food and natural resource, the live mostly on fish,coconuts and once in a while food rations of rice, sugar etc…which last for about a day.

    I personally would like to see the atolls before they sadly go and I suggest everyone else does so as well.

  10. Thanks Jen and Great Work with your initiatives at Save PNG!

    Sorry was tied up with some urgent work and didn’t come out to help you do the Mangroving. How did that go?

    Yeah, when I was watching the TV program I was thinking the same, in that I would like to visit there soon before it dissappears.

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    Update:

    Sorry realised you’re a different Jen, but thanks for the comments.

  11. Hey guys, great discussion going here.

    I just want to point out that there is alot environment friendly technology available from emission reduction devices in cars to eco-friendly style house.

    From the PNG point of view, what should we be doing?..to get things in to perspective, scientist predict that september of year 2060, the whole artic ice sheet will be no longer there….i thought heck!…is this true?..well calculation say its true and stats say its true…so my point is that we need rapid impact action. If we replant port moresby with forest, it will take about 15years to reach rainforest status provided the rainfall and soil conditions are right. As soon as we plant these forest, carbon emission will not be reduced as soon as the plant go in…mother nature has a “reaction time”, we call it the earths sensitivity. What we are witnessing today is not the result of carbon emission this year or last year. It is the concequence of our action 15years ago.

    To highlight what happened in the past. Currently U.S. fossil-fuel emissions are 28% higher than those of the world’s second largest emitter, the People’s Republic of China. Emissions in 2003 were down slightly (0.1%) from 2002 but have DOUBLE since the mid-1950s….Please note that the important information is that…”although the U.S. share of global emissions declined from 44% to 23%…its not that they cut emission, it is because other countries emission rates grew…scarry isn’t!

    So back to the question, what PNG should do?
    PNG interms of carbon emission is insignificant, however, in terms of carbon sink, we are VERY significant on par with Amazon rainforest, Congo etc..So what should we do…

    1. We should all voice together to tell the developed countries to reduce their emission for our island and atoll will be sources of the first global climate refugee.

    2. Stop deforestation.

    cheers
    Badira
    Tokyo Tech/Tokyo Uni
    Global Climatic Simulations

  12. “Think Globally, Act Locally”

    My take on the forest/carbon trading/climatic changes issue em mi ting olsem we cannot start pointing fingers without cleaning up our own back yard first.

    Reforestation, afforestation, environmental conservation…must be taken seriously.

    There’s still a lot to be done seriously on forest issues in the country. Not only the rampaging of our forests by logging companies but also blatant human rights abuses associated with the exploitation of our forests and other natural resources.

    Mi ting these issues are inextricably tied to global climatic changes na also the extinction of unique species of flora and fauna (most still undiscovered in PNG), landslide avalanches, pollution of waterways, destruction of reefs na mangroves etc. The forest and the environment provide inventories for cultural production. If we lose all these, we lose our identity and ultimately will cost us our existence long disla planet.

  13. Regarding Carbon Trading I got this interesting email today, Its an offer for young Aussies (Youth Ambassadors specifically, I think we may even have a few lurking round PNG) but the basic framework looks like it could be applied to PNG:

    Subject: WANTED: Young Eco-preneur to join Mekong Carbon Business

    Hello!

    If you know of anyone who would be interested in diving into the international carbon market, from the CDM end of the pool (the interesting bit!), can you please pass this on?

    Carbon Bridge is a small carbon company specialised in helping bring projects to the market from Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. We find local project opportunities that reduce carbon emissions, and work with the projects’ developers to realise the carbon revenue that makes the projects feasible. We create and sell their carbon credits and often find technology suppliers and investors for projects at early stages. It’s very rewarding – we deal directly with the decision makers, and they often see clear and fast benefits for their business. We find that getting business here to take on projects is much easier than Australia.

    The international carbon market is moving fast, driving lots of demand, and we need another set of hands! Carbon Bridge has been selected to take on an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development position. The AYAD selected will be directly involved in finding new projects and making them happen. At the same time they would be helping to build local capacity to expand the opportunities for these developing countries to capture the benefits of the carbon market. The volunteer would be based in Laos, with some travel to Cambodia and Thailand. The Carbon Bridge main office is in tranquil Vientiane, a wonderful place to live and a great region to explore.

    For more info on the position, visit http://www.ayad.com.au/web/public/displayAssignment07.aspx?assignmentID=4555

    People can contact me directly if they’re interested and want to discuss it.

    For a brief intro to Carbon Bridge– visit http://www.carbon-bridge.com

    Applications close on 30th March – of course the life changing/career altering decision to move over here doesn’t need to be made by then … but take a chance and see where it leads!

    Cheers … Bridget

  14. Okay thanks Solo and Badira.

    Well lets compile a list of what various approaches need to be done and in order of practically. Here is a rough start:

    1. I see Jen’s efforts at Save PNG, with her Mangrove re-vegetation efforts as a very good example of starting something. To gain interest and publicity more of these type of efforts need to start and continue. NCDC and other town councils need to get in on these type of activities.

    2. Identifying and exploiting business potential for green businesses. For example waste management systems, or supply and installation of renewalable energy systems.

    3. Pushing government policy and big businesses to make emissions trading financially attractive and part of government policies and laws. (I firmly beleive that if an idea makes business sense then it will move further ..)

    @Danger

    That’s awesome, exactly what we need and what I was thinking, will check out the link.

  15. Solo, I totally agree..we have to act locally in the most effecieny manner possible as time is not on our side…Environment conservation is the key…that leads me to comment on Carbon Trade applicable to PNG

    In the 1997 Kyoto agreement the flaw on carbon trade is that carbon can only be bought from reforested areas, that means that our natural rainforest is useless for carbon credit. This is why somare started the coalition of Natural Rainforest Nations….he wanted Kyoto to include natural rainforest in the scheme of Carbon trade…however, to date we are still trying to get that included..btw..GEF, IMF have allocated funding for Carbon trade (reforestation) supporting the Credit initative. So in PNG for us to benefit, we have to chop our rainforest down and plant new forest…only option is to look for deforested land and benefit from carbon credit by planting trees there..(hills of POM might be a good place to start)…the dilemma is choping forest just for carbon credits is not conservation of natural flora and fauna.

    cheers

  16. Thanks badira.

    Just a twist, climate change and global warming is also changing the pattern of malaria transmission. Malaria transmitting mossies are now being slowly established in the highlands of PNG.

    More money will spent for buying anti-malarial drugs!

  17. Badira, interesting point about the carbon credits only being applicable for reforestation.

    Could it apply to Mangroves?

    And we have huge tracts of land being logged which would benefit from this. So would this be the same in the issue of Lihir Golds’ Geothermal Plant? In the sense that they get paid for initiating green activities.

  18. As far as I’m concern, mangroves are forest so yes…replanting mangroves should work.

    For the lihir plant, they used to run diesel to power the plant..mekim na ol save emittim planti CO2, they decided to build a Geothermal plant and registered it to PNG government as Clean Developement Mechanism(CDM) under kyoto agreement. So e.g the government gave them a quote that lihir should only emit 1000tonnes of CO2/yr, if they exceed, they have to buy carbon credits..if they emit less then 1000tCO2/yr, they accumalate credits and can sell their credits through the Climate Exchange Centers (similar to POMSOX…etc) based in Canada or Amsterdam. Thats how they make money..something like…I hope 🙂
    cheers

  19. Funding rainforest conservation activities is fundamental to the abatement of global warming. With carbon trading PNG can reap huge dividends. The current world market prices fluctuate between $US6-25 per tC/ha (tonne of Carbon per hectare). A simple example can be calculated using the available data:

    This is an estimation of the value of our natural rainforests if natural rainforests are considered under the Kyoto Protocol.

    30 tC/ha (PNG natural forests baseline) x $US6 (conservative rate) = $US180 per ha x 1.7 million ha of natural forests in Protected Areas on land in PNG = $US306 million worth (timeframe will be negotiated with investor).

  20. Now we’re getting some where! And thanks guys this is really educational…

    So Badira who in the government would a company in PNG see to do what Lihir did? Who administers this CDM in PNG?

    And Solo, who could we get to to do these calculations for PNG?

  21. Got this from Danger’s blog, thought it was a good read:

    If only gay sex caused global warming – Why we’re more scared of gay marriage and terrorism than a much deadlier threat.
    By Daniel Gilbert, Daniel Gilbert is a professor of psychology at Harvard University and the author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” published in May by Knopf. – July 2, 2006

    NO ONE seems to care about the upcoming attack on the World Trade Center site. Why? Because it won’t involve villains with box cutters. Instead, it will involve melting ice sheets that swell the oceans and turn that particular block of lower Manhattan into an aquarium.

    The odds of this happening in the next few decades are better than the odds that a disgruntled Saudi will sneak onto an airplane and detonate a shoe bomb. And yet our government will spend billions of dollars this year to prevent global terrorism and … well, essentially nothing to prevent global warming.

    Why are we less worried about the more likely disaster? Because the human brain evolved to respond to threats that have four features — features that terrorism has and that global warming lacks.

    First, global warming lacks a mustache. No, really. We are social mammals whose brains are highly specialized for thinking about others. Understanding what others are up to — what they know and want, what they are doing and planning — has been so crucial to the survival of our species that our brains have developed an obsession with all things human. We think about people and their intentions; talk about them; look for and remember them.

    That’s why we worry more about anthrax (with an annual death toll of roughly zero) than influenza (with an annual death toll of a quarter-million to a half-million people). Influenza is a natural accident, anthrax is an intentional action, and the smallest action captures our attention in a way that the largest accident doesn’t. If two airplanes had been hit by lightning and crashed into a New York skyscraper, few of us would be able to name the date on which it happened.

    Global warming isn’t trying to kill us, and that’s a shame. If climate change had been visited on us by a brutal dictator or an evil empire, the war on warming would be this nation’s top priority.

    The second reason why global warming doesn’t put our brains on orange alert is that it doesn’t violate our moral sensibilities. It doesn’t cause our blood to boil (at least not figuratively) because it doesn’t force us to entertain thoughts that we find indecent, impious or repulsive. When people feel insulted or disgusted, they generally do something about it, such as whacking each other over the head, or voting. Moral emotions are the brain’s call to action.

    Although all human societies have moral rules about food and sex, none has a moral rule about atmospheric chemistry. And so we are outraged about every breach of protocol except Kyoto. Yes, global warming is bad, but it doesn’t make us feel nauseated or angry or disgraced, and thus we don’t feel compelled to rail against it as we do against other momentous threats to our species, such as flag burning. The fact is that if climate change were caused by gay sex, or by the practice of eating kittens, millions of protesters would be massing in the streets.

    The third reason why global warming doesn’t trigger our concern is that we see it as a threat to our futures — not our afternoons. Like all animals, people are quick to respond to clear and present danger, which is why it takes us just a few milliseconds to duck when a wayward baseball comes speeding toward our eyes.

    The brain is a beautifully engineered get-out-of-the-way machine that constantly scans the environment for things out of whose way it should right now get. That’s what brains did for several hundred million years — and then, just a few million years ago, the mammalian brain learned a new trick: to predict the timing and location of dangers before they actually happened.

    Our ability to duck that which is not yet coming is one of the brain’s most stunning innovations, and we wouldn’t have dental floss or 401(k) plans without it. But this innovation is in the early stages of development. The application that allows us to respond to visible baseballs is ancient and reliable, but the add-on utility that allows us to respond to threats that loom in an unseen future is still in beta testing.

    We haven’t quite gotten the knack of treating the future like the present it will soon become because we’ve only been practicing for a few million years. If global warming took out an eye every now and then, OSHA would regulate it into nonexistence.

    There is a fourth reason why we just can’t seem to get worked up about global warming. The human brain is exquisitely sensitive to changes in light, sound, temperature, pressure, size, weight and just about everything else. But if the rate of change is slow enough, the change will go undetected. If the low hum of a refrigerator were to increase in pitch over the course of several weeks, the appliance could be singing soprano by the end of the month and no one would be the wiser.

    Because we barely notice changes that happen gradually, we accept gradual changes that we would reject if they happened abruptly. The density of Los Angeles traffic has increased dramatically in the last few decades, and citizens have tolerated it with only the obligatory grumbling. Had that change happened on a single day last summer, Angelenos would have shut down the city, called in the National Guard and lynched every politician they could get their hands on.

    Environmentalists despair that global warming is happening so fast. In fact, it isn’t happening fast enough. If President Bush could jump in a time machine and experience a single day in 2056, he’d return to the present shocked and awed, prepared to do anything it took to solve the problem..

    The human brain is a remarkable device that was designed to rise to special occasions. We are the progeny of people who hunted and gathered, whose lives were brief and whose greatest threat was a man with a stick. When terrorists attack, we respond with crushing force and firm resolve, just as our ancestors would have. Global warming is a deadly threat precisely because it fails to trip the brain’s alarm, leaving us soundly asleep in a burning bed.

    It remains to be seen whether we can learn to rise to new occasions.

  22. Manu…The Dept. of Environment and Conservation (DEC) is spearheading the carbon trading proposal in PNG and has already done the ground work. The calculations I got was from DEC.

    The irony is that natural rainforests are not considered under the Kyoto Protocol. Only afforested areas i.e. plantation forests…other countries grow their own forests to be included in the Kyoto Protocol in order to be eligible for carbon trading…that’s what I get from the Carbon Trading thing…

    Badira can correct me on that.

    That is why PNG is leading the coalition of rainforest nations (group of 10 countries) to push for the Kyoto Protocol to recognize natural rainforests under the carbon trading arrangement.

    Isn’t it unfair? only plantation forests and not natural rainforests. Perhaps bcos of the difficulty in calculating carbon sinks from natural forests..

    The argument is that we should be compensated for the role our forests play in mitigating the effects of global warming i.e. by acting as carbon sinks in reducing carbon emissions from industrialized countries.

    I wrote a paper on that from a political ecology perspective if you want to have a read and understand more about the politics of carbon trading.

  23. The piece by Daniel Gilbert is hilarious…but I guess that explains the psychological perspective of the problem..

  24. Thanks Solo for that info…

    Who at DEC is responsible for this?

    I heard that things had died down with carbon trading, is that true?

    Is your paper online somewhere, so you can give us a link? If not can you email it to me?

  25. From Todays Australian Newspaper:

    PNG may become test case for plan
    Greg Roberts
    March 30, 2007

    A CONTROVERSIAL plan to bulldoze a million hectares of virgin rainforest in Papua New Guinea is emerging as a test case for the Howard Government’s $200million initiative to fight illegal logging.
    Logging is expected to begin soon in Kamula Dosa, an extension of the Wawoi Guavi forestry concession held by Malaysian company Rimbunan Hijau.
    The Papua New Guinea Ombudsman Commission has deemed the extension to be illegal because, although it was approved by Port Moresby, it had been allowed to bypass the forestry approval process.

    Papua New Guinea lawyer and prominent anti-logging campaigner Annie Kajir said yesterday that Canberra’s initiative was welcome.

    “This is a very positive development and an important step for the region,” she said.

    Ms Kajir said she hoped that, as part of the initiative, John Howard would urge his Papua New Guinea counterpart, Michael Somare, to stop logging in Kamula Dosa.

    Rimbunan Hijau declined to comment yesterday.

    Ms Kajir said another nine Papua New Guinea logging concessions covering four million hectares of rainforest – held mainly by Malaysian interests – were at various stages of approval.

    “Papua New Guinea has lost 65 per cent of its forests and the rest is going fast,” she said.

    The World Bank estimates that 70 per cent of logging in Papua New Guinea is illegal.

    The forestry industries of Papua New Guinea and neighbouring Solomon Islands have long been dogged by evidence of corruption, illegal practices and human rights abuses.

    The Papua New Guinea Government loses an estimated $100million in revenue a year through log-export scams.

    Federal Forestry Minister Eric Abetz said Canberra would consider how money from the new fund could address issues raised in the debate over Kamula Dosa and other Papua New Guinea forestry concessions.

    Senator Abetz said that, in an important breakthrough supported by Australia, the Papua New Guinea Forest Industries Association had agreed to adopt a system that independently verified the legality of logged timber.

    Under the system, Papua New Guinea timber producers will be required to provide evidence of the origin of logs and of logging permits.

    Swiss certification company SGS will audit the authenticity of documents.

    “This will provide the necessary assurances to markets that timber exports from Papua New Guinea are legally sourced,” Senator Abetz said.

    He said Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands were the main targets of Australia’s campaign against illegal logging.

  26. Interesting Danger…one note guys, take note of Annie Kajir, she is an amazing woman who went to UPNG here in PNG. She’s very active in these sort of fights and is someone with allot guts for what she does.

    It is no suprise that she was a recipient for the prestigious Goldman Environmental Award.

    See some of the links about her here:
    http://www.goldmanprize.org/node/440

    http://www.elaw.org/custom/custompages/partnerDetail.asp?Profile_id=272

    http://www.elaw.org/custom/custompages/partnerDetail.asp?Profile_id=272

    http://www.newint.org/columns/makingwaves/2006/07/01/annie-kajir/

  27. Guys, I am “Flabbergasted” about the whole issue (re: PNG become test case for plan).

    Instead of putting money on how to measure and quantify carbon intakes from natural rainforest, here, people are just doing a shortcut.

    I am absolutely, totally and positively sure that test have been done elsewhere in world.

    Guys, I’m sure between us, we have many contacts on our email addy list. I propose an email petition.

  28. 🙂 Sorry ladies and gentleman that was the case of “I need glasses syndrome” 🙂 Manu, all is well.

  29. I think there is a hope here from Ms Kajir, which is good, we hope that Aus$200m will help combat against illegal logging and assist in boosting our CRN efforts, eventually leading to viable carbon credits from natural rainforest to trade. However, with all due respect to her amazing efforts, Ms Kajir’s assumption that 65% of our forest lost is inaccurate. PNG deforestion rates between 1990 and 2005 continue to hold at 1% even now. Our environment is still very prestine, however, we have lost 6.6% of our rainforest.

    From the official press document, the main aim of the fund is a contribution to kick-start a global fund to combat deforestation.

    The fund will primarily engaged to half the rate of deforestation worldwide by helping developing nations with programs to preserve their forests and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 times the reduction targets in the Kyoto Protocol.

    Australia Federal government will sit down with NZ, Britian, US and Germany in the next three months and hope to buildup on the fund, which is expected to be managed by the World Bank.

    I believe this is the result of dialog between CRN (coalition of rainforest nations). I congratulate our PM for the initiative and personally I see many benefits to PNG on sustainable logging and preservation of our national rainforest.

  30. **From Solo**

    …I don’t know if you have watched the documentary “Who killed the electric car?” I thought it was a facinating invention that the world never knew.

    “Who killed the electric car” is one of the most moving documentaries of the future that I’ve seen about the onset of a pollution free world with the invention of “electric cars” but its production was hijacked by the alleged suspects: the oil industry, the US Government, General Motors, the C.A.R.B. (California Air Resource Board) and the consumers – as most consumers never knew or did little to save it and its immense benefits. It is not a “dream”. We were already in the future, until…

    It was among the fastest, most efficient production cars ever built. It ran on electricity, produced no emissions and catapulted American technology to the forefront of the automotive industry. The lucky few who drove it never wanted to give it up. So why did General Motors crush its fleet of EV1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert? “Who Killed the Electric car” chronicles the life and mysterious death of the GM EV1, examining its cultural and economic ripple effects and how they reverberated through the halls of government and big business. An official 2006 Sundance Festival Selection.

    You can learn more about this documentary by visiting: http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/

  31. **From Danger**

    Solo, I have not seen the movie but I have been following the topic. It may interest you to find out that GM has (allegedly) not completely given up on the electric car. They have been doing research into the field that has resulted in a new model called the Chevrolet Volt.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt

    Futurist David Houle has been following the process and chronicles it here:

    http://www.evolutionshift.com/blog/category/cars/

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