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ASEAN ANALYSIS  20 September 2010

Climate change and Asia

By David Swartzentruber
AseanAffairs   20 September 2010

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With activities such as the meeting in New York this week of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate representing 17 nations responsible for 80 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, the international stage is preparing for the major Cancun global climate meeting in November.

However, the question remains, “Is there enough fervor on the part of the globe’s citizens to push for real climate change rather than meetings?” Many think there is not.

Environmental activist Bill Mekibben, co-founder of environmental group says, “Real change contradicts the business model of the fossil fuel industry,” and he urges a “mass movement” in support of cutting emissions.

Perhaps he should turn his attention to Thailand where a Thai scientist, Ajong Chamsai na Ayudhya, has issued a call to arms with the prediction that “Bangkok may be uninhabitable in seven years”.

The scientist, who has worked with NASA, says temperatures will warm by approximately 4 degrees Celsius and seas would rise by 6 metres.

He said that Thailand, which is located on the Eurasian Plate, will suffer severely from the climate change. The Gulf of Thailand would be hit by tsunamis. With its higher elevations, one would expect Northern Thailand to be free from harm but Dr. Ajong says there will be severe flooding and earthquakes hitting the 6.0 range on the Richter scale in the north.

For southern Thailand, the situation will be even worse with Bangkok, which is 4 kilometres from the sea, under water along with neighboring provinces, Samut Sakon, Samut Songkhram, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi and Ayutthaya.

Along with higher temperatures he noted that the Earth’s axis has shifted, changing weather patterns and the Earth’s crust has displaced resulting in more frequent and severe earthquakes and tsunamis.

Alarmist or realist? Predictive scientist or fear monger? At Asean Affairs we would like to know.

This column can be responded to at We hope to hear from you.

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