Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

a season of salt

Expect a dislocation of 17 million people soon:

...The vast, humid expanse of the delta is home to more than 17 million people, who have relied for generations on its thousands of river arteries. But rising sea water caused by global warming is now increasing the salt content of the river water and threatening the livelihoods of millions of poor farmers and fishermen.

Vietnam is listed by the World Bank among the countries most threatened by rising waters brought about by higher global temperatures, with only the Bahamas more vulnerable to a one-metre rise in sea levels. Such a rise could leave a third of the Mekong Delta underwater and lead to mass internal migration and devastation in a region that produces nearly half of Vietnam's rice.

"If there was a one-metre rise, we estimate 40% of the delta will be submerged," says Tran Thuc, director general of the Vietnam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment. "There is also the threat of cyclones and storms linked to climate change. The people in this area are not prepared for any of this."

Already affected by regular flooding, those who live in the low-lying delta are focusing on the rising salt content of water in land that has for thousands of years been used for rice paddies, coconut groves and other crops which locals rely on for their livelihood.

According to the Ben Tre department of agriculture and rural development, salt water at four parts per thousand has, as of April, reached as far as 35 miles inland, causing significant damage to crops and livestock, with rice production particularly affected.

"Salination will become higher and higher and the salt season will last longer and be worse," predicts Thuc...

The dislocation is slow now, but an event precipitating a sudden rise will trigger a movement of peoples and a cascade of violence that civilization has never before seen. Because it won't only be the Mekong. It will be Shanghai, it will be Bangladesh, it will the Egypt and Louisiana. It will be the low warm fertile coastal areas around the world where the greater proportion of humanity lives.

Of course, we know how Grover Norquist and the Tea Partiers will deal with that.

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