As California Governor Jerry Brown sounds the alarm today over the rising expenses of dealing with extreme weather events caused by climate change, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in attendance at the Petersberg Climate Conference,  also emphasized the economic  consequences of  failing to address rising levels of atmospheric GHGs.  

“Doing nothing means that is will be much, much more costly for us all,” Merkel said.

Brown, addressing the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s aviation management unit in Sacramento, said early firestorms are likely to become the norm in the southern part of the state. This year, firefighters have battled over 1,100 fires, twice the average number at this time of year.

“Our climate is changing, the weather is becoming more intense,” Brown said in an airplane hangar filled with trucks, airplanes and helicopters used by the state
to fight fires. “It’s going to cost a lot of money and a lot of lives.

“The big issue (is) how do we adapt,” Brown said ,“because it doesn’t look like the people who are in charge are going to do what it takes to really slow down this climate change, so we are going to have to adapt. And adapting is going to be very, very expensive.” ThinkProgress

Meanwhile, reports of climate change impacts in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDIs), continue to escalate as predicted with an alacrity and automaticity akin to filling in a paint-by-number scenario.

Cases in point: Bangladesh, where extreme weather has increased the salinity in the coastal waters of Daka,  causing a serious shortage of safe drinking water, and the Solomon Islands,where farmers are increasingly battling severe floods and saturated soil to address food security issues.

According to the Pacific Climate Change Science Programme, global  sea-level rise averages  2.8 to 3.6 mm annually, whereas the Solomon Islands is experiencing an annual rise of eight millimetres.

In Bangladesh, where sea-levels are currently rising 8mm a year, a World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) report estimates a total of 1 million residents of the delta region will become climate refuges by 2050.

The issue of climate justice continues to dominate conversations among stakeholders vying for equal development rights and remedies for populations most vulnerable to extreme weather caused by global climate change.

The need for a collaborative effort of all stakeholders  to promote adaptation to climate change at the community level was a core issue at last month's 7th annual Community-Based Adaptation Conference (CBA7), hosted by theInternational Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the Bangladesh Center for International Studies. The conference launched a two-year Climate Justice Dialogue between WRI and the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice (MRFCJ which will focus on climate justice and equity in issues related to climate change adaptation.

“When people realize they have human rights, it energizes them, they begin to participate, and they feel empowered,” said Mrs. Robinson in an interview with IIED. “It’s an extraordinarily important part of being very sure that communities themselves are able to cope with increasing weather shocks and increasing climate change.”

2:21 PM PT: Rising seas in southern Caribbean offer dark preview of future amid climate change

Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Tue May 07, 2013 at 01:27 PM PDT.

Also republished by Deborah Phelan.

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