Climate Change and Increased Migration: A Growing Concern for Island Nations

  • The impact of climate change is expected to lead to an increased demand for migration as people seek economic opportunities.
  • Island nations like Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands could have an advantage in dealing with mass migration due to their contingency plans and historical ties with developed countries.
  • There is a lack of proactive action from developed nations in addressing the rising emigration from the region, potentially leaving unskilled and poor islanders at a disadvantage.
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"There's going to be an increased demand for migration, as people look for economic opportunities," said Benjamin Preston, an Australian government scientist in marine and atmospheric research. "And as the impact of climate change becomes more severe, that's going to add urgency into the equation." If there is a mass exodus, countries like Tuvalu - which have contingency plans and close relations with a developed country partner like New Zealand - will have an advantage. The Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, for example, could benefit from closer historical ties with the United States (both are former U.S.-administered trust territories). The biggest losers will be unskilled, poor islanders who cannot easily emigrate - especially in politically turbulent states like the Solomon Islands. Preston and others say that, aside from New Zealand, there are few signs that developed nations are taking an active approach to dealing with rising emigration from the region. That may be in part because the predicated climate change scenarios still seem too alarmist and far away to accept. Even in Tuvalu, many islanders do not see inundation as an urgent problem, said Lono Leneuoti, a Tuvaluan tourism official. "You don't really notice that much of a difference, except during the king tide months," he said. "It's hard to believe that 50 years from now the place is going to be under water."

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人々が経済的機会を求めるにつれて、移住に対する需要は増加するでしょう。」と海洋と大気の研究をするオーストラリア政府の科学者であるベンジャミン・プレストンは言います。「そして、気候変動の影響がさらに厳しくなるにつれて、均等化はますます喫緊の課題となるでしょう。」 もしも大量移民の出国が起これば、ツバルの様に、不測事態対応計画を持ち、ニュージーランドの様な先進国のパートナーと緊密な関係を持つ国々には、有利さがあるでしょう。例えば、マーシャル諸島やミクロネシア連邦は、アメリカとの歴史的に密接な結び付から恩恵を得られるでしょう(両国は、アメリカによって管理される信託統治領です)。最大の負け組となるのは、殊にソロモン諸島の様に政治的混乱の続く国家の容易に国外に移民が出来きず技術も持たない貧しい島民です。 プレストンやその他の人々によれば、ニュージーランドはさておき、先進諸国が同地域から出国する移民の高まりに対処するために積極的な取り組みをしている兆候はほとんどありません。 これは、一つには予測される気候変動のシナリオが、受け入れるには、あまりに人騒がせでずっと先のことにまだ思われるからかも知れません。ツバルでさえ、多くの島民は洪水を喫緊の問題と見なしていませんと、ツバル観光局のロノ・レニュオティは言いました。 「大潮の時期以外、実際あまり違いに気付きません。」と、彼は言いました。「今から50年後にこの場所が水没するとは信じ難いのです。」





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    Environmentalists like Namakin are focused on fight over flight, drawing up adaptation plans and continuing to urge countries like the United States and Australia to take the lead in cutting emissions. Such action "would give us more hope for the future, instead of starting to pack and leave," he said. The Pacific Regional Environment Program has joined other groups in the region to start a $34 million adaptation effort that includes preparing roads for flooding in the Federated States of Micronesia; improving sea walls and drainage systems in the Cook Islands; and relocating gardens, planting salt-resistant crops and reviving the fishing industry in Solomon Islands atolls. But even Takesy, the program's director, says such efforts may be akin to "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" unless strong measures are taken by developing countries to curb emissions. "I do not believe that the world should sit idly by while entire countries are slowly but surely annihilated," Takesy said. "And do you really want five million angry Pacific Islanders to come knocking on your door?"

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    Some countries' economies already depend on remittances from islanders who have gone abroad to find jobs, and climate change could swell those numbers. Meanwhile, villages have already been evacuated from low-lying areas in Vanuatu and the Carteret Islands of Papua New Guinea. Ben Namakin, an environmentalist and native of Kiribati, says that, in his homeland, saltwater intrusion is already ruining taro patches and spoiling well water, houses are being flooded, coastlines are receding, and a causeway whose beauty he had appreciated since he was a child collapsed last October. And, as in many such Pacific island nations, there is little higher, habitable land for people to move to. "I really don't know where they will go," Namakin said in an e-mail interview. "They may move further inland, but the more they do that, they will end up on somebody else's land or reach the ocean on the other side, as the islands are too narrow." The result could be a resource grab that pushes governments to the breaking point, and a clamor to relocate to developed countries on the Pacific Rim or elsewhere.

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    Policy makers and environmentalists argue that, alongside the task of cutting carbon dioxide emissions, governments must prepare for drastic changes which will result from the inevitable rise in temperatures. "What we are seeing now are the early signs of climate change as a result of the emissions produced in the 1960s and 1970s," said Tom Burke, visiting professor at Imperial and University Colleges, London. "There is a 40 year lag between carbon entering the atmosphere and its effects starting to show." He added that the report "is a wake-up call, and what is tricky about this is that we are going to have to spend billions preparing and adapting, and that is going to compete for money to stop climate change getting worse." The draft of the European Commission's Green Paper "Adapting to Climate Change in Europe - Options for EU Action," underlines the scale of the challenge. The document warns that, unless there is advance planning, European countries will be left to respond "to increasingly frequent crises and disasters which will prove much more costly and also threaten Europe's social and economic systems and its security." It adds: "For impacts where we have enough confidence in the forecasts, adaptation must therefore start now."

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    以下の文の和訳をお願いします。 The slowdown is a bit of a mystery to climate scientists. True, the basic theory that predicts a warming of the planet in response to human emissions does not suggest that warming should be smooth and continuous. To the contrary, in a climate system still dominated by natural variability, there is every reason to think the warming will proceed in fits and starts. But given how much is riding on the scientific forecast, the practitioners of climate science would like to understand exactly what is going on. They admit that they do not, even though some potential mechanisms of the slowdown have been suggested. The situation highlights important gaps in our knowledge of the climate system, some of which cannot be closed until we get better measurements from high in space and from deep in the ocean.

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    I ran into Al Gore at a climate/energy conference this month, and he vibrates with passion about this issue — recognizing that we should confront mortal threats even when they don’t emanate from Al Qaeda. “We are now treating the Earth’s atmosphere as an open sewer,” he said, and (perhaps because my teenage son was beside me) he encouraged young people to engage in peaceful protests to block major new carbon sources. "I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers,” Mr. Gore said, “and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.”

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    That is a lifeline that many similarly threatened island nations - including Kiribati, Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, the Cook Islands, Fiji and the Solomon Islands - do not yet have. While their stories may not be as compelling as Tuvalu's, such nations include atolls that may also vanish. And they depend on vulnerable, low-lying coastal areas for living space, cropland and tourism. For them, even conservative estimates of rising waters look set to make life on once-idyllic islands increasingly nasty, crowded and very, very wet. "Entire Pacific islands disappearing from inundation is indeed dramatic," said Asterio Takesy, director of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, an intergovernmental organization based in Apia, Samoa. "But a complete loss of livelihoods from decreased fisheries, damaged coral reefs, tourism affected by dengue epidemics, and agriculture destroyed because of changing rain patterns - surely these are just as worthy of our attention."

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    This just in: Looks like there's going to be some Tommy Solo Band touring in Nov and Dec. East coast and South America. Hope to see you all out there.

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    I ran into AL Gore at a climate/energy conference this month,and he vibrates with passion about this issue-recognization that we should confront mortal threats even when they don't emarate from AIQaeda. ''We are now treating the Earth's atmosphere as an open sewer'',he said,and(perhaps because my teenage son was beside me)he encouraged young people to engage protests to block maior new carbon sources. ''I can't understand why there aren't rings of young people blocking bulldozers,''Mr.Gore said,''and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.''

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    Biofuels are heavily subsidized throughout the developed world , including the European Union and the United States, and enjoy tax breaks that are given because they are more expensive to produce than conventional fuel. In the United States and Brazil most biofuel is ethanol , derived from corn and, used to power vehicles . In Europe it is mostly local rapeseed and sunflower oil, used to make diesel fuel. But as many European countries push for more green energy, they are increasingly importing plant oils from the tropics, since there is simply not enough biomass at home. On the surface, the environmental equation that supports biofuels is simple: Since they are derived from plants, biofuels absorb carbon while they are grown and release it when they are burned. In theory that neutralizes their emissions. But the industry was promoted long before there was adequate research, said Reanne Creyghton, who runs Friends of the Earth’s campaign against palm oil here.

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    " Thus it is that philosophy can supply no demonstrative refutation of idealism, even of the most extravagant form. Common sense, however, universally feels that analogy is here a safer guide to truth than the sceptical demand for impossible evidence; so that if the objective existence of other organisms and their activities is granted — without which postulate comparative psychology, like all the other sciences, would be an unsubstantial dream— common sense will always and without question conclude that the activities of organisms other than our own, when analogous to those activities of our own which we know to be accompanied by certain mental states, are in them accompanied by analogous mental states."