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Editorial: A Warning We Can’T Ignore

ON a day when President Donald Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, there is a stark reality on show for The Bahamas.

Most of Grand Bahama. Abaco. Spanish Wells. Much of Crooked Island. Swathes of New Providence. Acklins. Andros. Cat Island. All will face increasing amounts of flood water – or be completely submerged in areas – according to predictions by experts at non-profit organisation Climate Central.

You can see for yourself. The organisation – which reports climate science news – has created an interactive website at https://coastal.climatecentral.org. You can adjust sliding scales to see how The Bahamas – and the rest of the world – would be affected from 2030 through to 2100. You can adjust for how much action is taken to tackle climate change – or how little – and even account for good or bad luck. Zoom in on where your house is right now – and see how the waters change around it in both the best and worst case scenarios.

It’s not a pretty picture.

“The residents of small island states could face particularly devastating losses,” report Climate Central. As the areas marked red for danger increase as you watch the effects over the years on the map, that is anything but an understatement.

The impact could be worse still. That Paris climate agreement that President Trump is so eager to pull the US out of? The Climate Central team base their projections on the planet warming no more than two degrees Celsius – the main target of that agreement. With the US pulling out – and goodness knows if others will follow – these predictions are already looking optimistic.

We have already seen the devastation wrought by a single hurricane – Hurricane Dorian – on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco. If the frequency of hurricanes increases due to climate change, what costs will we and our children have to bear in the future?

We should not pretend either that this is a warning we have not heard before. In September this year, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis asked at the UN: “How will we continue to exist?”

His predecessors have sounded similar alarms. In 2009, then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said climate change was a “serious threat to our economic viability, our social development and our territorial integrity”. In 2015, his successor, Prime Minister Perry Christie said climate change was an “existential threat” and warned we had to fight for “countries like The Bahamas to stay on the map into the next century”.

Bahamian geographer Dr Adelle Thomas told this newspaper there cannot be “business as usual” and urged that the country should adapt to the changing times ahead – including re-zoning and a coherent plan for rebuilding.

Sadly when asked about whether residents will be allowed to rebuild in vulnerable areas on Sunday, Dr Minnis brushed the answer off onto Iram Lewis, the newly minted Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Reconstruction.

There are hard questions facing The Bahamas as a result of climate change – and the time to act is not five, ten or 20 years down the line. It is now.

So what are the hard answers? And why do our leaders find it so easy to go away to international gatherings and warn of the danger to our nation but never seem ready to talk about what that means when they return home?

Go and look at whether your home is in danger according to these projections. Go look at whether your brother’s home, your sister’s home, your cousins are at risk of rising waters.

Ask yourself if it’s time we were having this conversation more forcefully in The Bahamas.

The answer is that it isn’t time. It’s already too late to start the conversation. We have time to make up – and demands to make of those who would lead our Bahamas towards that uncertain future.

Comments

birdiestrachan 1 week, 6 days ago

The FNM Government is busy banning plastic bags. The poor will be affected and the rich merchants will gain

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BahamaPundit 1 week, 6 days ago

Stop this nonsense. It's time to rid this country of styrofoam containers for grits and sausage and plastic bags for corned beef that take thousands of years to discintegrate. How dare anyone blame the poor as being uncaring about the enviroent!

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John 1 week, 6 days ago

Do you know illegal drug smuggling was going on in the 1800’s when most Bahamians were still slaves? Coca Cola had Cocaine in it and cost 5 cents but most Bahamians were slaves and had no money. Today they still have The Bahamas posted as a drug trafficking nation (state) but 80 Million tonnes of Cocaine enters the United States annually and less than 1% or it passes through the Bahamas. Not to speak for other drugs from the Far East like opoium and Fentanyl. Yet we have a sellout pimp like Marvin Dames who is organizing raids and killing his own people under the pretense that he is fighting a drug law. They see you as a cheaply bought idiot and the Bahamian people think even less of ya

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Chucky 1 week, 6 days ago

80 million tons? Lol.

Think you had better check your facts.

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Chucky 1 week, 5 days ago

Ok. There’s less than 350 million people in USA. A ton is 2000 lbs. 80 million tons x 2000 lbs = 160, 000,000,000 lbs which also equals about 450 lbs for every man woman and child in USA per year. Over 1 lbs per person per day. If that were true they would all long be dead. Noteworthy, 160 000 000 000 lbs of coke, is enough for every man woman and child to have 20 lbs per year. Or 20 lbs x 454 grams / lbs = 9080 grams or about 25 grams per person ( every man woman and child) on this earth per day. Do you still need more proof? Think before you type. Just because you think something, or even read it, neither necessarily makes it true.

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Porcupine 1 week, 6 days ago

Editor, Quite right on all accounts. Now, who will start the conversation, the issues that must be discussed? Will we allow our political leaders to shut down these conversations because they are not politically expedient to their re-election or political goals?

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milesair 1 week, 6 days ago

Typical Trump B.S. This is "making America great again?" I think not. Remember, the Christian perverts in the U.S. think Trump was "chosen by God!" More like the devil him self! This is however, what so-called "conservative thinking" will do for you! Leading the world to disaster! Trump = America's world famous racist, among other things, BUFFOON! Once again, Democratic election victories in the U.S. yesterday are giving Trump the finger!

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ColumbusPillow 1 week, 6 days ago

Climate Central is not a reputable source of information on sea level change. Tidal gauges show almost NO SEA LEVEL CHANGE. Please no more fear-mongering!

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 6 days ago

Well Dems won Kentucky governor race, looks like trump will be out of a job come next November. No doubt the new Dem POTUS will sign right back on....

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The_Oracle 1 week, 6 days ago

I just wonder where we would be without the single use plastics, bottles for drinking water and bags of all description for clean up and relief food distribution and food toting in the aftermath of Dorian. All imported. Perhaps next time we could roll it all up in Banana leaves. Of course there is climate change. The planet is a revolving evolving sphere which is ever changing and subject to its position in relation to the sun moon and stars. We aught to be better stewards of our world, but we are often pathetic stewards of our individual selves.

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joeblow 1 week, 6 days ago

Anyone who takes the time to investigate will find that in many areas coastal erosion and land reclaimed by the sea has been a phenomenon recorded for many centuries. In this count, in spite of all the talk, the government still permits cutting down of hills for fill (that shows their true level of concern). In addition I never hear anyone talk about new islands that have formed and are being formed as a part of the natural processes that occur on the earth. The climate is changing, it has always been changing! What is new is the mass hysteria and propagandizing of the process by the UN and others!

If Bahamians really want to fight "climate change" then they should stop buying products made in China. That one act will do far more than other hair brained schemes being proposed to fight this 'great evil'!

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Chucky 1 week, 4 days ago

You are so wrong saying stop buying goods from China. Painting China as the boggieman does nothing for the cause. Sure china is the worlds largest polluter.
But the responsibility for pollution lies in consumption, i.e. the consumer. China could close all the factories, which would greatly reduce their emissions; though the goods would just have to be made somewhere else, shifting the location of the pollution. But it is the demand and consumption of goods that creates the manufacture/pollution.

Noteworthy, china has about 18% of world population , and pollutes with 7.1 metric tons of co2 per capita, usa has 5% of world population at pollutes at 16.2 metric tons per capita. Noteworthy, if pollution /emissions were allocated based on consumption, USA's pollution would be far greater per capita than china. As is, and would our's be here in the Bahamas. If you want to complaint about environmental issues,we need to start by being hones, and accepting that consumption is the cause, not point of manufacture. I.e. would relocating our power generation 100% to Andros , and running a big extension cord to New Providence make new providence a greener Island??? Obviously not.

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John 1 week, 5 days ago

Can increase in solar energy, decrease in fossil fuels and air conditioning slow down global warming? What is the real reason Trump is pulling out from the Global Climate Agreement? He claims it is too expensive for US companies.

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 5 days ago

The real reason is trump is an ignorant moron and his supporters are even dumber. No other reason...

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yeahyasee 1 week, 5 days ago

Pretty much and to add on he's a retard of the highest order but yeah what proud said...

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Chucky 1 week, 5 days ago

If climate change is true, governments would be acting. Ie, if it was thought that Florida and other places ( maybe Bahamas) would be under water at the turn of the century, private jets, yachts, gas guzzling cars, bonfires etc etc etc would already be banned.

Obviously not 1 single government in this world genuinely believes this story.

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Porcupine 1 week, 5 days ago

Obviously not one single government in the world is honest. Every government has been captured by the rich business and corporate interests. To not see this is an excellent example of a poor education.

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Chucky 1 week, 4 days ago

Perhaps if you improve your education, you can look into some of countries in the world that do exist and have homes government. Just one example for you would be Switzerland, and it’s direct democracy. I’m sure you can’t be aware or can’t comprehend what a direct democracy is, but one it can not be is dishonest. After all, every major issue is required by law to be settled via referendum, doesn’t seem to permit dishonesty over the public.

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concerned799 1 week, 5 days ago

Since we can not meet our targets under the Paris Agreement as we are going ahead with LNG development, and 30 year odd contracts, when is the Bahamas going to pull out of the agreement too?

Why is there no debate how in the wake of Dorian we can still move ahead with LNG plants? Shouldn't everything be solar or wind from this point on?

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Chucky 1 week, 5 days ago

As I said, no government believes in climate change.

Your guess is as good as anyone’s as far as what the “climate change” scenario is all about, but I’d say follow the money.

If the Bahamian government really thought the islands were going to be lost to climate change at the end of the century, they wouldn’t be worried about adding more power. They’d tell us to take out our air conditioner, use less, not more.

Obviously, if we consider government action around the world regarding climate change, we can only come to one conclusion, that climate change is just not true, or the anthropogenic part of it.

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Porcupine 1 week, 5 days ago

Find me a truly thinking, honest politician anywhere and I'll buy your premise.

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Chucky 1 week, 4 days ago

Do you really believe all politicians are that bad? You suggest that all believe in climate change, but won’t act due to business interests? That’s a fools argument. They could ban so many things to help reduce emissions without any impact to business. Ie large gas guzzler suvs. Burning yard waste. Etc

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