Thursday, 25 January 2007

More Pieces In The Jig-Saw

Sometimes I find it useful to consider the future as a large unmade jigsaw puzzle. A puzzle where we currently do not have all of the pieces, and where, in the course of our travels, we find the odd piece here and there. Generally, the pieces that we find are relatively small and do not always link with other pieces that we have found. Every now and then, however, we do find a couple of interlinked pieces that help to reveal a good part of the overall picture.

Last week was a bit like that - we have acquired two important and linked pieces in our puzzle. The first was a very small piece on ITV News (ITV is the tabloid TV Channel in the UK) on the fate of the Carteret Islands. Click here to access the piece. I spent a little while trying to find out more about the islands. The Wiki entry is the best I have found so far (click here to see this). Anyway, it appears that the residents of the carteret Islands are about to become the first climate refugees.

The second piece to my jigsaw came from a piece on Yahoo News about Carbon Footprints (click here to access the piece). It always struck me as odd that Dubai, whilst being as hot as the desert, has the worlds longest indoor ski-slope. An estimate by the WWF now suggests that the UAE (of which Dubai forms a part) has the largest per capita Carbon Footprint in the world. What will surprise many in Europe is that it even larger than the US.

We can argue that the small population of Dubai rather limits the impact of this per capita footprint, but that is not the point. The point is the degree to which the indoor ski-slope impacts on the climate refugees. We are soon to reach an important milestone in global warming - the point at which we can no longer say that our activity (or inactivity in some cases) does not impact on the plant as a whole. Far from being a victimless phenomenon, global warming is now becoming personal, starting with the Carteret Islanders.

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