The Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson is in Copenhagen to cover the global warming treaty negotiations. He will be filing daily dispatches. In this post, he underscores the urgent need for action that confronts the international negotiators as they begin their discussions.
As the nations of the world gather in Copenhagen, the Wonk Room has prepared this alphabetical journey of the impacts of climate change around the globe.
East Antarctica, long stable, is now losing ice.B
Bolivia needs $1 billion over the next seven years to build reservoirs, as the glaciers that hold the nation’s water supply are shrinking rapidly.C
Leatherback sea turtles that spawn on the beaches of Costa Rica are threatened with extinction by warmer temperatures and rising seas.D
Denmark joined United States, Norway, Canada, and Russia in identifying climate change as “the most important long-term threat” to future existence of polar bears.E
The rapidly warming highlands of Ethiopia are becoming too hot for its elite athletes, such as local-born Haile Gebrselassie, to train there.F
Noting the unprecedented floods this year in Fiji, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama recently warned that rising sea levels affect not just the islands’ economies, but put into doubt the very existence of his nation.GH
Global warming-fueled hurricanes, intense poverty, and widespread deforestation combine to form a gathering storm of disasters for Haiti.I
The deforested peatlands of Indonesia are drying, disintegrating, and burning.J
The increasingly early arrival of cherry blossoms in Japan reflects rising global temperatures.KL
The incidence of wildfires in the cedar forests of Lebanon has increased tremendously over recent years.M
“If things go business-as-usual, we will not live, we will die,” Maldives President Mohammad Nasheed told the UN General Assembly. “Our country will not exist.”N
The ministers of Nepal have held the world’s highest cabinet meeting on Mount Everest, as rapidly rising temperatures have reduced snowfall over the mountains and caused glaciers to melt.OPQ
Petroleum-soaked Qatar emits 60 tons of carbon dioxide per person, the most of any nation on earth.R
Increased floods and malaria outbreaks from global warming, deforestation, and unsanitary conditions have hit Rwanda hard in the past decade.S
The inhabitants of the Alpine villages of Fieschertal and Fiesch in Switzerland have asked for the Pope to bless their prayers for the restoration of their nation’s glaciers, which shrank by 12 percent over the past decade.T
Newly discovered, exotic species like the fanged frog of Thailand are especially vulnerable as climate change will further shrink their already restricted habitats.U
Agriculture in the United States has been ravaged this year by catastrophic droughts in Texas and California, heat waves in Louisiana and Nebraska, storms across the High Plains and the Midwest, floods in North Dakota and Minnesota, and torrential rains in Illinois and Georgia.V
Speaking from Vatican City on the eve of the Copenhagen conference, Pope Benedict XVI counseled “all people of good will to respect the laws laid down by God in nature and to rediscover the moral dimension of human life.”WX
The nomadic descendents of Kublai Khan in Inner Mongolia, where Xanadu once stood, are being driven from the grasslands as the Chinese government attempts to fight the region’s desertification.Y
Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, may be the first capital city in the world to run out of water, as drought and overuse diminish its supply.Z
On the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the flow of Victoria Falls is far below average, as drought and high temperatures reduce the Zambezi.
Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.