Ethiopia: Baladera Council leader Eskinder Nega to speak with United Nations officials in New York
This news went viral. Bill McKibben, founder of the environmental organization 350.org, tweeted that “Climate change is shrinking [the] planet, in the scariest possible way.” Climate scientist Peter Kalmus said he was once concerned about “being labeled ‘alarmist,’” but news like this made him embrace the term.
What the media neglected to mention is that the situation in southern Vietnam today is almost identical to the projected situation in 2050.
People in the Mekong River Delta literally live on the water. The area has been inhabited for generations because it is incredibly fertile, and over time, people have protected land with dikes. In southern Vietnam’s An Giang province, almost all non-mountainous land is safeguarded in this way. In fact, it is “underwater” in the same way that much of Holland is: there, large areas of land, including Schiphol, one of the world’s busiest airports, are below sea level at high tide. In London, almost a million people live below the high-tide mark. But nobody in Holland, London, or the Mekong River Delta needs scuba gear to get around, because humanity has adapted with infrastructure that provides flood protection.
The authors of the Climate Central study mention in their introduction that “coastal defenses are not considered” in their approach. That’s fine for an academic paper – but it’s absolutely silly for the media to use the findings to support claims of “20 million people underwater.”