Daily Archives: July 29, 2017

Coastal zones and urbanization: a wake-up call | Future Earth

Coastal zones have been sites of human settlement for centuries, their ports providing a gateway to the wider world and their fertile soils allowing people and agriculture to thrive. Today as in the past, economic activity and access to water resources continue to attract people to coastal cities, with many of world’s major cities located in ocean coastal zones.

UNU-IHDP. (2015).
Coastal Zones and Urbanization.
Summary for Decision-Makers.
Download the report (pdf)

However, recent research shows that coastal cities are today facing serious and increasing risks associated with climate change, with a 2013 report (Hallegatte et al.) predicting that coastal cities can expect a nine-fold increase in flooding by 2050.

Whilst many reports have focused on the natural risks associated with climate change, such as storm flooding, the impact and destructive potential of these risks is largely driven by social changes, as people and economic activities are increasingly concentrated in coastal cities.

Despite this, there is a lack of action in development policy and planning practices relating to coastal cities, says a report published this month by the Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone Project (LOICZ), and The Urbanization and Global Environmental Change Project (UGEC). Asian coastal cities top the lists of potential losses due to flooding, but a ‘business as usual’ mindset in development and planning persists, say the authors. This report is a wake-up call.

Urbanization in coastal zones is a relatively new area for study, but the ‘future is already being felt’ by those living in cities on the coast, where impacts include accelerated subsidence, diminished water quality, pollution and vulnerability of coastal wetlands and coral reefs.

(read more).


China Sichuan Province Rainstorms Floods Landslide

Jules Rodriguez
Published on Jul 10, 2013

Rainstorms Flood China’s Sichuan Province, Killing Dozens. – 07-10-2013

Rainstorms that are said to be the worst in five decades have flooded large areas of southwest China, washing out bridges, setting off a landslide that buried dozens of people, and destroying a memorial to victims of the devastating 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province that flattened large parts of the same area. The state news media reported Wednesday that heavy rains, which began last weekend, have killed more than 50 people across China and disrupted two million lives.

The worst flooding, in mountainous areas of Sichuan that include some of China’s most spectacular scenery, highlights the challenges of encouraging construction in places that are prone to heavy downpours and seismic activity. Some experts, citing frequent earthquakes and soil erosion caused by deforestation, have argued against the continued development of towns and cities along the Min, Fu and Jian Rivers, which snake through the steep canyons of the region.

The worst damage appeared to be in the city of Dujiangyan, where a rain-soaked mountainside gave way on Wednesday, burying 11 homes and as many as 40 people. Xinhua, the state news agency, said that rescue workers and sniffer dogs from Chengdu, the provincial capital, were rushing to the area, which only recently recovered from the 2008 earthquake. The earthquake left 87,000 dead or missing. On Wednesday evening, the state broadcaster CCTV reported that landslides had also trapped hundreds of people inside a tunnel along the mountain highway that connects Dujiangyan to Wenchuan.

On Tuesday, a bridge across the Tongkou River collapsed, sending six vehicles into the water, the state news media reported. At least 12 people are still missing and presumed dead.

Flooding completely submerged Qushan, the former county seat of Beichuan, once a bustling city of 20,000 that was destroyed by the earthquake five years ago. The state news media said 23 feet of water had inundated a recently opened museum to earthquake victims. Survivors have long since been moved to a new town center, and officials set aside about 10 square miles as a memorial.

The Oriental Morning Post, a newspaper based in Shanghai, urged the government to better protect the memorial area, which contains the buried remains of hundreds of people whose bodies were never recovered from the rubble.

“If we don’t take effective measures,” the editorial said, “in another 10 or 20 years the ruins might not be there at all.”

To the north, in Shanxi Province, 12 workers were killed Tuesday night when a violent rainstorm caused the collapse of an unfinished coal mine workshop they were building, according to People’s Daily, citing a statement from the city government of Jinzhong, where the accident occurred. The mine collapsed amid heavy rain that has drenched much of northern China, including the capital, Beijing, for much of the week.

20 Signs China’s Pollution Has Reached Apocalyptic Levels | China Uncensored

China Uncensored

Published on Feb 4, 2015

9 out 10 cities in China have failed government pollution standards according to China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection. A quarter of million Chinese die every year from pollution, rivers turn blood red, and by 2030, China will be COMPLETELY OUT OF WATER! These are just a few of the signs that China’s pollution has reached apocalyptic levels, and it’s having a global effect on climate change. To find out the rest, watch this episode of China Uncensored.

China’s Water Crisis | China Uncensored

China Uncensored

Published on Jan 13, 2014

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about Chinese air pollution; smog so thick, you can barely see the streets of Beijing. But what you might not know is that China is facing a major water crisis. Rivers are drying up and there’s not enough water to go around. And what little water there is has been so polluted by chemical and industrial run off, it’s undrinkable. And if the Three Gorges Dam didn’t cause enough trouble, the next great public work sure will. It’s called The South-North Diversion Project, and will link up the Yellow River with the Yangtze River, hopefully funneling water from the south to the water starved North. All it takes is drilling through the Himalayas.




Videographic. The largest migration in history

The Economist

Published on Mar 1, 2012

An animated infographic about China’s migrant workers. Migration from inland villages to coastal cities has transformed China. Now that is changing, as regional cities inland become the new focus of migration patterns.

Mapping Choices: Carbon, Climate, and Rising Seas — Our Global Legacy | Surging Seas: Sea level rise analysis by Climate Central

Description: This report assesses and lists global nations and urban agglomerations at risk by projected total population exposure, percent exposure, and differences in exposure to locked-in long-term sea level rise under warming scenarios.

Date: November 2015

Full PDF of Report | Click here to download city and national data from the analysis >>

Executive Summary

Carbon emissions causing 4 degrees Celsius of warming (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) — a business-as- usual scenario — could lock in enough eventual sea level rise to submerge land currently home to 470 to 760 million people globally. Carbon cuts resulting in the proposed international target of 2 °C warming (3.6 °F) would reduce the rise locked in so that it would threaten areas now occupied by as few as 130 million people. This contrast is one expression of what is at stake in the December 2015 global climate talks in Paris.

This report builds closely on a paper first published online in October 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America by the same authors. That research used relationships between cumulative carbon emissions, warming, and the future global sea level rise they lock in to assess implications for the United States and its cities. What distinguishes the current report is its application of sea level projections to global elevation, tidal, population, and administrative boundary data, instead of U.S. data only.

Among all nations, this report finds that China has the most to lose from business as usual, with 145 million citizens today on implicated land. China also has the most to gain from limiting warming to 2 °C, which would cut the total to 64 million. Twelve other nations have more than 10 million people living on implicated land under 4 °C warming — India, Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Japan, the United States, Philippines, Egypt, Brazil, Thailand, Myanmar, and the Netherlands, in descending order of total threats. A carbon path that limits warming to 2 °C would reduce exposure by more than 10 million in each listed nation except the last two, and by half or more in all listed nations but Viet Nam (still achieving 44% reduction), Brazil (45%) and the Netherlands (13%). Global megacities with the top ten populations in the balance include Shanghai, Hong Kong, Calcutta, Mumbai, Dhaka, Jakarta, and Hanoi. 4 °C warming could lead to submergence of land inhabited by more than half the population of Shanghai, Mumbai and Hanoi, among these.

These results are based on median sea level rise projections. They are also based on global elevation data with a tendency to understate exposure.

Carbon emissions this century can lock in these projected threats, but the associated sea level rise is expected to play out over a longer period, likely centuries.

This report assesses and lists global nations and urban agglomerations at risk by projected total population exposure, percent exposure, and differences in exposure under warming scenarios of 1.5, 2, 3 and 4 °C (2.7, 3.6, 5.4 and 7.2 °F). Results do not account for present or future shoreline defenses, such as levees, that might be built, nor for future population growth, decline or relocation.

In conjunction with this report, Climate Central has extended its interactive and embeddable Mapping Choices platform globally (choices.climatecentral.org). Users can now type in any coastal city name or postal code worldwide, and visually compare the potential consequences of different warming or emissions scenarios on a local map. Climate Central is also serving Google Earth layers for visualizing sea levels associated with 2 °C or 4 °C warming in areas with 3-D building data, available here; and offering spreadsheets for download with analytic results for comprehensive lists of global nations and coastal urban agglomerations, available here.

(read more).

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