There's no mystery to the climate change crisis, as three news articles published this week make clear. Higher oceans threaten disaster, but greenhouse gas emissions continue, because they are lucrative.
The situation in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is the eighth-most populous country in the world, lying just east of India on the Bay of Bengal. Twenty-seven percent of the country's population lives in the country's coastal zone, adjacent to a body of water that's expected to rise as much as a meter by 2100. But it's already seeing the effects of sea level rise, as The New York Times reports on its front page on Friday. The story includes a projection of what sea level rise will do to the country, broad stretches of green land turning blue as rivers and coasts expand.
"Though Bangladesh has contributed little to industrial air pollution," the Times reports, contributing less than half of 1 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, "by 2050, rising sea levels will inundate some 17 percent of the land and displace about 18 million people." Those sea levels are rising because increased atmospheric heat is melting Arctic ice, as well as because warmer ocean temperatures cause ocean water itself to expand. There are other problems complicating Bangladesh's situation: its heavily-polluted rivers mean that cities increasingly use ground water to drink, causing cities to settle and drop lower relative to the sea.
Emissions elsewhere continue to increase
While Bangladesh's situation grows more dire, the countries emitting the other 99.7 percent of greenhouse gases continue to do so without abatement. On Friday, Political Wire noted a graph created by designer Jeremy Boy showing carbon dioxide emissions by country since 1970.