SeCoM: adaptation to climate change
2°C (minimum) rise in global temperature now seems unavoidable.
Policy decisions must be made1,2,3, and novel technologies4,5
developed as soon as possible if we hope to mitigate the severity
of the societal dislocations6 and conflicts that a warming
planet is expected to engender 7,8,9,10,11.
1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted12
that ...the greatest single impact of climate change could
be on human migration....And in 2005 Myers predicted13
that the issue of environmental refugees promises to rank
as one of the foremost human crises of our times..[that]..could
readily become a cause of turmoil and confrontation, leading to
conflict and violence. Yet... environmental refugees have still
to be officially recognized as a problem at all.
technologies for (re)generation of potable water, and reliable methods
of sanitation, that are suitable for high density populations will
be of paramount importance. Providing drinking water and sanitation
is already a major problem for refugee and emergency camps and for
many developing nations. Extending such services to the unprecedented
numbers of mobile14, semi-nomadic climate refugees
of uncertain legal status expected to be moving within and across
national borders, migrating away from continuously evolving ..climate
change scenarios that, directly or indirectly, cause human displacement15,16,
presents a challenge that will likely be impossible to overcome
with current technologies.
central plant - fixed infrastructure (CPFI) model provides
a reliable means of delivering sanitation and drinking water to
stable communities that live on stable land, and that have populations
that change slowly over time. It Is neither resilient enough, cheap
enough, nor flexible enough however to respond to sudden, large
changes in regional population density either in established communities
or in previously unoccupied areas some of which may also be difficult
CPFI is a labor intensive, expensive, system that consumes large
amounts of energy for its maintenance and operation (in the USA
pumping aqueous fluids through the watsan networks currently accounts
for ~3% of the total power generated). The CPFI is also slow to
construct, especially over difficult terrain, difficult to reconfigure,
and cannot be extended across national borders without approval
of the destination governments -- unpredictable during times of
mass migration, especially if denial of essential services is used
as way to discourage stabilization, or accomplish mass evictions
from impromptu settlements.
2012 the IPCC SREX17 re-emphasized the vulnerability
of existing infrastructure and how this lack of resillience virtually
ensures catastrophic collapse of function in the face of even current
extremes of weather.
continuous physical networks of the CPFI are vulnerable to disruption
by earthquakes, floods, extremes of weather, and physical or cyber-sabotage.
Underground piping is also chronically leaky; fresh water pipes
waste water, and sewers are a source of chronic microbial and chemical
effective remedy would be to eliminate the infrastructure -- replace
the CPFI with intra-residential repurification and recycling of
used water and mineralization of sewage at its point of production.
1. Nature; doi:10.1038/445597a 'Climate change 2007: Lifting the
taboo on adaptation'
2. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.; doi:10.1073/pnas.1007887107 'A framework
to diagnose barriers to climate change adaptation'
3. EIA: Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 2012, 33(1):32-40;
'Mind the gap in SEA: An institutional perspective on why assessment
of synergies amongst climate change mitigation, adaptation and other
policy areas are missing'
5. Nature 463, 2010, doi:10.1038/nature08823 'The next generation
of scenarios for climate change research and assessment'
6. Engineering the Future 'Infrastructure, Engineering and Climate
Change Adaptation - ensuring services in an uncertain future' Feb.
2011. Available online at: www.raeng.org.uk/adaptation
7. IASC Highlights the Humanitarian Impacts of Climate Change http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/iasc/pageloader.aspx?page=content-news-newsdetails&newsid=134
8. UNHCR 'The Storm Ahead' http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e4a5096.html
9. Environment and Urbanization; doi:10.1177/0956247807076960 'The
rising tide: assessing the risks of climate change and human settlements
in low elevation coastal zones'
10. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.; doi/10.1073/pnas.1104268108 'The causality
analysis of climate change and large-scale human crisis'
11. http://www.PreventionWeb.net/english/themes/climate/,; hosted
by http://www.unISDR.org/ UN International Strategy for Disaster
12. Brown, O. 2007. 'Climate change and forced migration: Observations,
projections and implications,' a background paper for Human Development
Report 2007/2008. Geneva: United Nations Development Program )
13. Myers, N. 2005. 'Environmental Refugees: An Emergent Security
Issue.' Presented at the 13th Economic Forum, Prague, 23-27 May)
14. 'Crisis or adaptation? Migration and climate change in a context
of high mobility' http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/users/schensul/public/CCPD/papers/Tacoli%20Paper.pdf
15.'The Climate Change - Displacement Nexus' http://www.brookings.edu/speeches/2008/0716_climate_change_kalin.aspx
16. 'Population and Environment'; doi: 10.1007/s11111-011-0136-2
'Understanding the demographic implications of climate change: estimates
of localized population predictions under future scenarios of sea-level
17. http://ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/ "Managing the Risks of Extreme
Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX)"