The president of the Republic of Maldives tries to explain that the physical existence of his country is threatened. What kind of danger are they in now?
It’s the first country on Earth that completely disappears as a nation if the worst-case scenarios are correct. Greenhouse effect is not theoretical to them.
When could this happen?
The Maldives are so low-lying that a storm could put them underwater. It’s not a question of whether the ocean goes up a fraction of a milliliter per year and at some point in the future the Maldives are underwater. Rather, it’s that one day, they will be underwater. That happened in 1987. The president woke up and the capital, which is only one square mile, was underwater. There was no storm going on. But there was a foot of water over the capital and the airport. Coral was washing back and forth across the runaway. It’s not like in the Carolinas where you load up the car and drive away. In the Maldives there’s no place to go.
While doing research 12 or 13 years ago, I met Jim Hansen, the scientist who in 1988 predicted the greenhouse effect before Congress. I went over to the window with him and looked out on Broadway in New York City and said, “If what you’re saying about the greenhouse effect is true, is anything going to look different down there in 20 years?” He looked for a while and was quiet and didn’t say anything for a couple seconds. Then he said, “Well, there will be more traffic.” I, of course, didn’t think he heard the question right. Then he explained, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.” Then he said, “There will be more police cars.” Why? “Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.”
And so far, over the last 10 years, we’ve had 10 of the hottest years on record.
Didn’t he also say that restaurants would have signs in their windows that read, “Water by request only.”
Under the greenhouse effect, extreme weather increases. Depending on where you are in terms of the hydrological cycle, you get more of whatever you’re prone to get. New York can get droughts, the droughts can get more severe and you’ll have signs in restaurants saying “Water by request only.”
When did he say this will happen?
Within 20 or 30 years. And remember we had this conversation in 1988 or 1989.
Does he still believe these things?
Yes, he still believes everything. I talked to him a few months ago and he said he wouldn’t change anything that he said then.
Disrupting the Borg is expensive and time consuming!
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