Call for anti-greenhouse action. 26 Jan 1989 Another utterly preposterous and failed prediction from 30 years ago. “sea levels would rise by between one and four metres, by the year 2030.”

Call for anti-greenhouse action (1989, January 26). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), p. 7. Retrieved November 25, 2020, from https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/120906718?searchTerm=call%20for%20anti%20greenhouse%20action&searchLimits=#

From JOHN ARDILL,
in London. (What are the chances John Ardill or Sir Shridath have done a single thing to make themselves less comfortable?)
GOVERNMENTS must yield national sovereignty to multilateral authorities able to enforce laws “across environmentally invisible frontiers” if the greenhouse effect, which threatens the
future of whole nations, is to be overcome, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Sir Shridath
Ramphal, said on Tuesday.
A Commonwealth Expert Group set up to look at climate change estimated there was a 90 per cent certainty that the planet would become warmer by at least 1-2 degrees, perhaps much more, and that sea levels would rise by between one and four metres, by the year 2030.
Global warming and sea level rises would continue for decades, perhaps centuries.
There was a prospect of wide-spread, perhaps catastrophic flooding across large areas of Egypt, India, China, the United States, Britain and Holland, and atolls in the Indian
and Pacific oceans.
“Surveys of some of these areas conducted for the Commonwealth Group suggest brutal options.
One is the large scale abandonment of land; conceivably whole countries,” Sir Shridath said.
Who would house the displaced populations of low lying areas like the Maldives, a chain of 1200 islands barely above sea level? Current attitudes to refugees and immigrants in most countries did not suggest that large population movements were feasible.
Acceptance of an enhanced risk of large scale drowning was clearly not an option. Building de-
fences was simply beyond the means of most poor countries.
“The cost of doing nothing to prevent climate change is simply unacceptable,” he said. “But the
problems of progressing from collective study to collective action are immense.
“The need to curb emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, has prompted many environmentalists to advocate a world of slower economic growth. So long as large-scale poverty and rapid population growth remained, this was no solution.”
He added, “A large and growing number of environmental issues are cross-border problems which simply cannot be solved nationally. Unless there is a regional or global framework for handling such issues we will see them escalating dangerously, in some cases to conflict”
Sir Shridath was giving the first of a series of Cambridge lectures on the theme of the Brundtland Report on environment and development. He was a member of the UN commis-
sion headed by the Norwegian Premier, Gro Harlem Brundtland, whose 1987 report argued that environmental problems could be tackled successfully only in parallel with economic growth.
“Underlining the report’s message of a common future,” he said, “Is the unspoken premise… that we must be ready to nurture tomorrow’s concepts of global governance.”
This required a change of habit by some of the major powers, which were undermining embryonic forms of multilateral control.