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For those of you who may not have come across the latest Tipping Points Annual Report yet, it provides the latest updates from the project. Tipping Points is now entering its fourth year of interdisciplinary research in climate change, the global financial crisis, mathematical tipping points and the tipping point metaphor itself.
Since the project started in summer 2010 it has questioned the fundamental understanding of tipping points in nature and society and has thus far produced a large body of work, with more publications to be uploaded to its website in the near future. This report includes field updates from paleoclimate research in the Arctic, historical bank failures in Britain, health tipping points and the agency of language.
Dr Andrew Baldwin, a Co-Director of IHRR, is Chair of a major multidisciplinary project at Durham University on climate change migration called COST Action 11011 Climate change and migration: knowledge, law and policy and theory. COST Action 11011 is studying the many facets of climate change migration from a legal, political and theoretical perspective. In this interview Andrew explains the racial context of climate change migration and how migration is part of a strategy for adaptation.
What is a climate change migrant?
The obvious answer is that there is no way of identifying a climate change migrant or at least that’s what the existing literature tells us. The most common explanation is that migration is a complex phenomenon.
People migrate for all sorts of different reasons and several reasons at once, so to isolate climate as a determining variable is impossible. You can’t disaggregate climate change from all the other variables that explain why an individual migrates.
Similarly you could say, ‘well, this particular climatic event displaced x number of people’, but then to attribute the event itself to climate change is obviously problematic. That further affects our ability to identify whether someone is a climate migrant.
4th October 2013, 14:00 to 15:00, Seminar Room 010, Dept of Geography, Dr Md. Nadiruzzaman, United Nations University (MRF-UNU) Project
Population movements following an environmental stress can be a huge development challenge if we do not know where people are going and at what number. Without knowledge of the locations of affected people, relief assistance is compromised. No rapid and accurate method exists to track population movements after disasters. This research learns lessons from Haiti and plans to use CDR (call data record) from the Grameen Phone, the largest cellphone operator in Bangladesh, to estimate the magnitude and trends of population movements following the Cyclone Mohasen, which swept across Bangladesh on the 20th May 2013.
Geographic positions of SIM cards were determined by the location of the mobile phone tower through which each SIM card connects when calling. We will follow daily positions of SIM cards for Barisal and Chittagang Division from 01 April to 30 June of 2013. To exclude inactivated SIM cards, we will include SIM cards that made at least one call during the time of our study. Results from the Haiti study suggest that estimates of population movements during disasters and outbreaks can be delivered rapidly and with potentially high validity in areas with high mobile phone use. This research would offer new ways to understand population movements and climate change threshold.
Over the past summer regions of China have also experienced intense heat waves with eastern China setting a record of 40.8 C (105.4 F). Russia (Northern Siberia) has also had harsh rises in temperature over the summer. In China, cities such as Shanghai were particularly vulnerable. These images taken from the NASA Earth Observatory show the concentrations of the heat wave in different parts of China.
The ground breaking film Chasing Ice is now widely available online, on DVD, in cinemas and on TV. In fact, quite a few screenings are scheduled in the UK this autumn. It is also possible for education institutions to host a screening of this amazing film. It is really a film that should be seen on the big screen, but at the same time those who see it should think carefully about what it portrays so elegantly. The disappearance of the Earth’s glaciers in the Arctic has large implications for how it will affect the future of human societies, not to mention the ecosystems we depend on for survival. Read the rest of this entry »