Maldives – the first nation to disappear because of global warming ?

The BBC News service is reporting that the Maldives may disappear as a nation due to global warming.

Sea rise there is just under 1cm a year and: "Since 80% of its 1,200 islands are no more than 1m above sea level, within 100 years the Maldives could become uninhabitable".

The Maldives was the first country to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol and has since written to President Bush in an attempt to get the US to sign up (as they’re a major source of greenhouse gases), but the US hasn’t even bothered to reply.

What makes this more disturbing is growing evidence (as reported in New Scientist magazine of 24th July) that the effects of clouds have probably been underestimated in global warming as a feedback mechanism. The latest moves by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to weed out poor models that fail to predict climate change seems to be removing those that predict lower increases in temperature and do not take good account of cloud change.

The remaining models which do take better account of clouds are generally predicting higher temperatures, some predicting up to a 10C rise in global temperature for a doubling in carbon dioxide, rather than the currently accepted 3C rise. Now this can only make the future even more bleak for the Maldives and other low lying countries.

The BBC report doesn’t address the rather obvious question of what happens to the population of a country that disappears under the waves, through no fault of their own. Do the major polluters have a moral responsibility to take them in, and/or to make reparations ?