Several days ago, I did a post on how rising ocean levels will affect Florida.
Here is a link to a short but very pointed video on how rising ocean levels will affect the coastlines of southern and eastern Asia: http://www.businessinsider.com/asia-earth-ice-melted-rising-ocean-coastline-china-india-2015-3
I doubt that such forecasting or modeling will be appreciated by those who are ideologically opposed to any shift away from our ongoing dependence on fossil fuels. After all, if the governor of the state of Florida, as well as the governor of the state of Louisiana, are untroubled by the prospect that much of their states may literally dissolve into the rising oceans, how can we expect Far-Right politicians from the Plains and the Mountain states to be concerned about rising ocean levels?
But as even this short video makes clear, rising ocean levels will not simply be a climate catastrophe. They will, instead, be a human catastrophe—that is, a political, an economic, and a social catastrophe. And the failure to make every effort to prevent or to mitigate such a catastrophe is a moral catastrophe.
The several billion people now living in the coastal cities of India and China—that is, in at least half of the major cities of India and China—as well as in the entire country of Bangladesh, will be displaced as those places disappear under the waves. And the extended turmoil that will be caused by that forced migration of several billion of people is not just incalculable but unimaginable—that is, its impact will certainly be felt worldwide.
Despite the economic incentives and the political necessity to continually drive growth, there is much evidence that the combination of unsustainable environmental damage within China and the prospect of the threats posed by climate change are leading to massive Chinese investments in alternative energy sources. Whether those changes are substantial enough or timely enough to make a major difference is very debatable.
But what does it indicate when the government of the nation with the largest economy on the planet is not only doing much less to address this global issue than many other economically advanced and developing nations, but includes many legislators who insist that nothing actually needs to be done or, having decided to do nothing, assert that nothing can be done? (Eventually, the argument that nothing can be done will, of course, become a self-fulfilling prophecy.)
What does it indicate when scientists at many of the finest research universities in the world have reached a consensus of opinion on what is occurring and yet many of that nation’s political leaders have decided to make the case that it is the scientists and not they themselves who are motivated by self-interest?
What does it indicate when the most vocal promoters of “American exceptionalism” seem to be placing short-term corporate profits and partisan political expediency not just above the national interest but above the global interest–above the most fundamental interests of humanity?
Maybe it is a good thing that many of those same politicians have a figurative vision of the United States as a shining city on a hill. Because just everything else is, literally, very likely to be underwater.