Wednesday, October 14, 2009

UNESCO General Conference - Ocean and Climate Change

Theme 3: Ocean and Climate Change – the impacts on and from the Ocean: Adapting coastal communities to sea-level rise

Keynote Speech – Dr Rolph Payet, Special Advisor to the President of Seychelles.

UNESCO General Conference 13 September 2009

Distinguished Delegates

Millions of people on the planet now live on the edge of the abyss. The polar people and polar bears are seeing the ice melt before their very own eyes, and island people are seeing their land swallowed up by the sea, sometimes in a blink of an eye.

The ocean is the window to present and future climate change. To predict the onset of the cyclonic seasons, El Nino and other natural phenomenon, scientists turn to the oceans. The oceans are the earth’s barometer and heartbeat. We need to take heed of its signals. Recent studies strongly indicates that sea levels are rising much faster than estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We are now looking at a rise of more than 1.4 meters by 2100, assuming that the melting glaciers of Antarctica and Greenland do not accelerate. The World Bank estimates that a 10% increase in storm surge intensity would place 52 million people at risk of inundation. More >>>