Tuesday, March 20, 2012



In the October 2011 issue of National Geographic there was an article titled, Hothouse Earth, describing an event in the geological record 56 million years ago known as the PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum). It happened long before there were humans, at a time when Earth was warm enough that there was no glacial ice. In a relatively short time (geologically speaking) there were large increases in carbon dioxide concentration and global average temperature, and the oceans became so acidic that calcium carbonate (the stuff that makes sea shells and coral reefs and gives structure to one-celled phytoplankton) became chemically unstable. There was an oceanic extinction event because phytoplankton are at the base of the oceanic food chain. Scientists have concluded that the major source of the new carbon was the release of perhaps 3,000 gigatons of methane from the thermal decomposition of methane hydrate – a crystalline form of methane surrounded by molecules of water ice. The methane was formed as a waste product from the digestion of plant carbohydrates by methanogenic bacteria on the sea floor, then later oxidized to CO2 by oxygen in the atmosphere. The biogenic origin of the methane is indicated by the very low ratio of 13C to 12C in the calcium carbonate (CaCO3) formed as the seas became less acidic. The amount of carbon added to the atmosphere by the methane over thousands of years is comparable to the amount we could add in a few hundred years if we burn all the fossil fuel (coal, oil and natural gas) we can lay our hands on. Philip Gingerich, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Michigan, says that the PETM "is a model for what we're staring at—a model for what we're doing by playing with the atmosphere. It's the idea of triggering something that runs away from you and takes a hundred thousand years to reequilibrate." At:

On Feb. 15 the Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN) aired interviews with David Marshall and Peter Slovinsky before their meeting that evening with the Portland City Council to discuss what to do about rising sea levels associated with global warming. The piece is titled, Portland Seeks Ways to Cope with Rising Sea Levels. Slovinsky is with the Maine Geological Survey, and I highly recommend listening to the ca. 13 minute audio clip of his interview. Portland, like a number of other coastal communities, already experiences some flooding at very high tides. Planning ahead and investing now can save damage in the short term during storm surges and in the longer term from rising sea levels. Slovinsky says,
"One of the key phrases that I like to use is that we're planning for today's storms and tomorrow's tides."
Sam Merrill, Director of the New England Environmental Finance Center, estimates that investing $100 million now can save Portland $400 million by 2050. At: http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineNewsArchive/tabid/181/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3475/ItemId/20307/Default.aspx

The Feb. 17 issue of Canada.com has an article by Margaret Munro titled, Climate-change naysayers drowning out scientific research, expert says. The article quotes Nina Federoff, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who says she is “scared to death” by the growing influence of well financed climate change deniers, who have spread misinformation and had a big effect on American public attitudes toward climate change. The deniers are now pushing to undermine global warming education in U.S. schools. At: http://www.canada.com/technology/Climate+change+naysayers+drowning+scientific+research+expert+says/6165986/story.html#ixzz1n1sJDtiu

In the Feb. 20 issue of Chemical and Engineering News, Jeff Johnson has an article titled, Nuclear Returns – License is issued for first new U.S. nuclear power plant in 34 years. In it he reported that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has granted a license to Southern Company to build and operate twin 1,100 MW nuclear reactors at their nuclear facility near Waynesboro, GA. Financing for the reactors, expected to cost $14 billion, is yet to be secured, but the Department of Energy (DOE) has already approved an $8.3 billion government-backed loan guarantee. At: http://cen.acs.org/articles/90/i8/Nuclear-Returns.html
Why are large loan guarantees available for nuclear power plants but not for U.S. offshore wind farms?

The NY Times for Feb. 21 ran an article by Mireya Navarro titled, New York Judge Rules Town Can Ban Gas Hydrofracking. In it she reported that an upstate judge in the town of Dryden in Tompkins County ruled that the town can ban natural gas drilling within its boundaries, if it chooses to. The decision is important because the town sits on part of the Marcellus Shale formation, which is being rapidly developed for natural gas in the PA – NY region by hydofracking – breaking up of the shale to release methane by injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the shale at high pressure. The technique is causing a lot of concern because of possible groundwater contamination and the leakage of flammable methane gas – without adequate environmental regulations or safeguards. At: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/nyregion/town-can-ban-hydrofracking-ny-judge-rules.html?seid=auto&smid=tw-nytimes&pagewanted=all

Electric Light and Power announced on March 1 that Senator Bingaman has introduced a bill know as the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 to promote development of electricity generation that produces fewer tons of CO2 per MWh of electricity produced. At: http://www.elp.com/index/display/article-display/5794401237/articles/electric-light-power/policy-and_regulation/2012/March/Sen__Bingaman_introduces_Clean_Energy_Standard_Act_of_2012.html
The Chronicle for Higher Education had an article on March 2 by Paul Baskin titled, Virginia Supreme Court Rejects Attorney General's Demand for Climate Documents. The Attorney General, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, a high-profile Republican now running for governor, said he wanted the thousands of pages of emails and other documents to search for evidence of research fraud in the work of Dr. Michael Mann. Dr. Mann is a well-known climate scientist who once worked at UVA but is now at Penn State University. In a written statement he said, “I’m pleased that this particular episode is over." "It's sad, though, that so much money and resources had to be wasted on Cuccinelli's witch hunt against me and the University of Virginia when it could have been invested, for example, in measures to protect Virginia's coastline from the damaging effects of sea-level rise it is already seeing." Mann recently finished writing a book titled, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, about the coordinated industry-financed campaign to raise doubts about the science of global warming. At: http://chronicle.com/article/Virginia-Supreme-Court-Rejects/131063/
Dr. Michael Mann appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation with Ira Flato on March 2 in a program titled, Michael Mann, From The Trenches Of The 'Climate War’. “In his book The Hockey Stick And The Climate Wars, Michael Mann discusses what he calls a well-funded campaign to discredit climate change. He describes efforts by opponents with ties to the fossil fuel industry to harass climate scientists and create doubt about climate change.” You can listen to the nearly 18-minute audio recording of the broadcast at: http://www.npr.org/2012/03/02/147815862/michael-mann-from-the-trenches-of-the-climate-war?ft=1&f=5&sc=17

The March 6 issue of the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media has an article by Lisa Palmer titled, Episcopalians Confronting Climate Change. It mentions a pastoral letter sent to Episcopalian clergy worldwide, part of which says,
“Christians cannot be indifferent to global warming, pollution, natural resource depletion, species extinctions, and habitat destruction, all of which threaten life on our planet. Because so many of these threats are driven by greed, we must also actively seek to create more compassionate and sustainable economies that support the well-being of all God’s creation.”
At: http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2012/03/episcopalians-confronting-climate-change/

The March 10 issue of ScienceNews has as article by Janet Raloff titled, Carbon dioxide breaking down marine ecosystems. Her report is based on papers presented by scientists from Florida and England on Feb. 18 at a meeting of the AAAS. The English study, from the University of Plymouth, looked at sea life near natural sources of CO2 bubbling up from the sea floor that reduce the pH of surrounding waters to 7.8 or less because of the acidity of the carbonic acid formed. This low pH is expected to be typical of much of the world’s oceans by 2100 if we continue releasing CO2 to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels at increasing rates. Compared with normal 8.1 pH zones, there were fewer species in the more acidic water- with corals and sea urchins completely missing – and fish would not lay their eggs there. Laboratory studies at the University of Miami raising coral larvae in water with acidities expected for 2100 showed a 65% decrease in metabolism for some species, as well as a reduced percentage of attachment of the larvae to a simulated reef surface. At: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/338581/title/Carbon_dioxide_breaking_down_marine_ecosystems

James Hansen, NASA’s chief climate scientist, gave a talk in February that was posted on YouTube as an 18-minute video clip in March, titled, Why I Must Speak Out About Climate Change. It’s very clear and well done – well worth listening to. At:

The 2011 National Climate Ethics Campaign produced a 20-page report titled, Campaigning for a Moral and Ethical Response to Climate Change - An Introductory Handbook for Community and Organizational Activists. It has a lot of practical ideas for how communities can organize to bring the moral and ethical dimension of climate change to public attention. The first section says,
‘The debate about climate change has produced deep divisions in America that prevent many people from grasping the reality and urgency of the issue. This is because, at the most fundamental level, climate change is not a scientific, political, or even an energy problem. It is a moral and ethical crisis. Our energy use and consumption levels and the greenhouse gas emissions they generate now threaten life as we know it, and this challenges long held views about the righteousness of our economy and lifestyles.” At:

On March 14 Climate Central of Princeton, NJ, issued a press release about a new report titled, Surging Seas. The release says, “Sea level rise due to global warming has already doubled the annual risk of coastal flooding of historic proportions across widespread areas of the United States, according to a new report from Climate Central. By 2030, many locations are likely to see storm surges combining with sea level rise to raise waters at least 4 feet above the local high-tide line. Nearly 5 million U.S. residents live in 2.6 million homes on land below this level. More than 6 million people live on land below 5 feet; by 2050, the study projects that widespread areas will experience coastal floods exceeding this higher level.”
“Titled “Surging Seas”, the report is the first to analyze how sea level rise caused by global warming is compounding the risk from storm surges throughout the coastal contiguous U.S. It is also first to generate local and national estimates of the land, housing and population in vulnerable low-lying areas, and associate this information with flood risk timelines. The Surging Seas website includes a searchable, interactive online map that zooms down to neighborhood level, and shows risk zones and statistics for 3,000 coastal towns, cities, counties and states affected up to 10 feet above the high tide line.” At: http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/news/press-release

The following items are from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), Carol Werner, Executive Director. Past issues of its newsletter are posted on its website under "publications"
 at http://www.eesi.org/publications/Newsletters/CCNews/ccnews.htm
EESI’s newsletter is intended for all interested parties, particularly the policymaker community.

Documents Leaked from the Heartland Institute

Internal documents and financial reports from the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based libertarian think tank devoted to developing and promoting “free market solutions” show the group was promoting climate change skepticism. The documents spell out proposed and ongoing projects, detail financial support of recognized climate change skeptics, and provide a list of donors. Particular attention has been drawn to a plan to fund the development of a kindergarten -12th grade climate change curriculum that contradicts current scientific consensus, stating, for example, that “there is a major controversy over whether or not humans are changing the weather.” A significant portion of the organization’s funding comes from a single “Anonymous Donor” in addition to Microsoft, Phillip Morris and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. The Heartland Institute promptly issued a statement asserting “some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.” However, many of the details provided in the disputed memo, titled 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy, align with details in the other documents.
For additional information see: DeSmogBlog.org, The New York Times, The Guardian, Politico, MSNBC News

More Than One in Three Counties Could Face Water Shortages from Climate Change

Climate change may cause a “high” or “extreme” risk of water shortages in more than one in three counties in the United States by 2050, according to a new study in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology. The report also found that seven in 10 U.S. counties may see “some” risk of fresh water shortages. The study used a “water supply sustainability risk index” to determine that 412 counties in southern and southwest states and southern Great Plains states are at an “extreme” risk of water shortage from climate change. Sujoy B. Roy, Ph.D., a coauthor says, "This is not intended as a prediction that water shortages will occur, but rather where they are more likely to occur, and where there might be greater pressure on public officials and water users to better characterize, and creatively manage demand and supply.”
For additional information see: Science Daily, Abilene Reporter-News

Study: Model Predicts More Storm Surges with Climate Change

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University have developed a way to assess the effects of sea level rise, increased storm intensity and other climate changes on storm surges. In a study published in Nature Climate Change, the researchers used computer models to compare storm activity and storm surges between 1981 and 2000 to various anticipated climate scenarios for 2081 to 2100. Using New York City as an example, scientists looked at “100 year storms” capable of generating storm surges that overwhelm the lower Manhattan seawall. Under predicted climate change scenarios, the risk of such storms increased from today’s one percent to over five percent annually, while predicted sea levels and storm surge levels increased by 1.5 to 5 feet.
For additional information see: Boston.com, PhysOrg

New Way to Look at GHG Emissions

The Stockholm Environment Institute released a report that more accurately measures greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per capita. The study divides GHG inventories into two types, “Geographic-plus” and “Consumption-based.” Under the Geographic-plus inventory, the emissions calculated pertain to those GHGs emitted within the surveyed territory of King County, Washington. The Consumption-based figure calculates the GHG emissions for the supply chain of goods and items consumed by those people living in King County. The research shows that the Consumption-based inventory was more than double the Geographic figure. The aggregate of the two figures are able to portray a different, and perhaps more accurate, depiction of how consumers’ actions contribute to climate change.
For additional information see: Grist, Stockholm Environment Institute

Tropical Birds Threatened by Climate Change

A review of scientific literature published in the journal Biological Conservation suggests as many as 2,500 different bird species could become extinct due to climate change. The review, conducted by Cagan Sekercioglu, an assistant biology professor at the University of Utah, says the extinction will depend on the severity of global warming, habitat loss from development and ability to migrate. "Birds are perfect canaries in the coal mine -- it's hard to avoid that metaphor -- for showing the effects of global change on the world's ecosystems and the people who depend on those ecosystems," said Sekercioglu.
For additional information see: UPI

Canadian Insurance Bureau Raises Concern about Climate Change

The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Don Forgeron, warned the public and government to take climate change seriously. Climate-related events have replaced fire damage as the top source of insurance claims. "Our weather patterns have changed. If we just look back over the last 30 years or so here in Canada we see the trend is unequivocal . . . The number of severe weather events double every 5 to 10 years. We've got to do something about it,” said Forgerson. Canadian insurers are remapping flood prone areas and will then decide whether to raise insurance premiums.
For additional information see: CBC

Scientists Calculate Global Warming Potential of Oil Shale, Gas, Coal Reserves

Curious about rhetoric surrounding the debate over the Canadian Keystone XL project, climate scientists Andrew Weaver and Neil Swart studied the global warming potential of oil in the Alberta tar sands compared to other fossil fuels. The research, published in Nature Climate Change, indicates 0.36 °C potential warming from burning all of the oil in the Alberta oil sands, but 0.3 °C for combusting economically viable oil sand reserves. In comparison, combusting global oil supplies would lead to 0.53 °C, global conventional gas supplies would cause 0.32 °C, and global coal supplies would lead to 0.92 °C. The effect of energy required for extraction and transportation is not included in totals. Regardless of the impact of a single source, the paper states that, “If North American and international policy makers wish to limit global warming to less than 2 °C, they clearly need to put in place measures that ensure a rapid transition of global energy systems to non-greenhouse-gas-emitting sources while avoiding commitments to new infrastructure supporting dependence on fossil fuels.”
For additional information see: Times Colonist, Time, Scientific American, The Globe and Mail, Study

Los Angeles Water Supply Threatened by Climate Change

The water supply in Los Angeles is threatened by rising sea levels and reduced snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Sea level rise is expected to increase the risk of coastal flooding and the number of at-risk critical areas such as toxic waste sites and power plants. Los Angeles, which imports 90 percent of its water, also faces decreased water supply. Many aquifers already exhibit “saltwater intrusion,” and the Sierra Nevada snow pack, which supplies one third of the city’s drinking water, is expected to diminish by up to 90 percent by 2100. Jim McDaniel from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power says, “We want to cut our water imports in half by 2035 and make a major shift to more reliable local supplies.” Strategies to use more local water include cleaning up pollution in the San Fernando Basin, recycling stormwater and sewage, and recharging aquifers.
For additional information see: The Atlantic Cities

Warming Sea Temperatures Starving Ocean of Oxygen

Researchers have found growing areas of the open ocean are suffering from depleted levels of oxygen. By measuring water temperatures in the Arctic and in the Southern Ocean near the Antarctic, researchers have found temperature increases of between 0.03°C and 0.5°C, and as much as 1°C, and warmer sea water hold less oxygen than cold water. Professor Lisa Levin, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, stated that, “off southern California over the past 22 years we’ve lost about 30 per cent of the oxygen at depths of around 200 to 300 meters.” Many marine species cannot thrive in areas with low oxygen and low pH levels and are migrating to new habitats. “The appropriate habitat for many ocean animals is being compressed causing many animals to live in a smaller area at higher densities in waters that may be shallower than normal. This changes their interactions with other species, with predators and competitors and it also makes them much easier targets for fishermen,” said Professor Levin.
For additional information see: The Independent

Reinsurance Industry Urges Congress to Act on Climate Change

Reinsurance industry officials urged Congress to prepare for increased damage from climate change. Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, said, "The number of natural catastrophes has risen fairly dramatically." In the last 30 years the number of large disasters averaged 630 annually, but in the last 10 years, the number has risen to 790. The cost of insured losses in the United States has risen from $1 billion annually in the 1980’s to $4.6 billion annually in the last 10 years, according to Nutter. Mark Way, head of sustainability for Swiss Re, noted that global weather disasters cost between 1 and 12 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product annually. In addition to climate change, the insurers are concerned about development in low lying coastal areas that are vulnerable to rising sea levels.
For additional information see: Insurance News Net

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rise in 2010, Study Explains 2009 Decrease

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft of the “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2010,” estimating total emissions from greenhouse gases (GHGs) to be 6,866 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. According to the EPA, this 3.3 percent increase since 2009 stems from “an increase in energy consumption across all economic sectors, due to increasing energy demand associated with an expansion in the economy” and “an increase in air conditioning use due to warmer summer weather during 2010.” Overall, emissions have increased 11 percent since 1990. 
In related news, in 2009, a year of U.S. economic recession, GHG emissions fell 6.59 percent relative to 2008. The EPA attributed this change to, “a decrease in fuel and electricity consumption across all U.S. economic sectors.” New research from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has shown falling natural gas prices were primarily responsible for the 8.76 percent decrease in emissions from the power sector, which accounts for 40 percent of U.S. emissions. Study leader Michael B. McElroy explains that “generating 1 kilowatt-hours of electricity from coal releases twice as much CO2 to the atmosphere as generating the same amount from natural gas, so a slight shift in the relative prices of coal and natural gas can result in a sharp drop in carbon emissions.” The study also found that a small carbon tax could shift more power generation from coal, reducing CO2 emissions while barely affecting electricity prices.
For additional information see: PhysOrg.com, Reuters, EPA, EPA

Survey Shows Belief in Climate Change Varies with the Weather

A recent poll from University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College found that 62 percent of Americans believe that the Earth is warming, and that their belief in global warming is on the rise. Half of those who believe in climate change said they formed their conclusion on personal observations of the weather. “It seems to be driven by an increased connection that the public is making between what they see in terms of weather conditions and climate change,” said Chris Borick, the director of Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. The University of Michigan findings were similar to other polls that show local weather influences views about global warming.
For additional information see: Brookings, Washington Post, Herald Net

El Salvador Mandates Climate Change Risk Curriculum

El Salvador is educating its citizens to minimize future losses from extreme weather events caused by climate change, including tropical cyclones, heavier rains, higher wind speeds and drought. In the last two years, the Central American country has experienced intense storms and flooding, which has caused damage equal to six percent of its GDP. El Salvador has mandated that all public and private educational institutions incorporate environmental safety into curricula. Erlinda Handal, the country’s vice education minister, said, "Implementing this system is a necessity because of the vulnerability of our territory (to climate impacts).” The government also is training farmers to increase yields, diversify crops and manage climate change related risks.
For additional information see: AlertNet

Climate Change Prompts Human Rights Approach

The least developed countries of the world that have contributed the smallest amounts of greenhouse gas emissions will be the most affected by climate change impacts, experts told a gathering in Geneva. The areas impacted most include Central, East, and West Africa, the Pacific, and South Asia. Kumi Naidoo, executive director for Greenpeace, said, “that by 2050, there would be about 200 million ‘climate migrants’ around the world, including 20 million displaced by rising sea levels and resulting salinity, as well as storm surges and cyclones, in Bangladesh alone.” Such concerns have prompted a shift to a human rights approach to climate change. More than 100 countries already participate in various treaties which, “enshrine the ‘right to a safe and healthy environment.” Dinah Shelton, who chairs the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, said, “Can human rights address some of these issues in a more effective manner? I think the answer is yes, partly because of the very high place that human rights law plays in the global community.”
For additional information see: IRIN Global

United Kingdom Advocates Demanding European Union Emissions Cuts

Ed Davey, the United Kingdom’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary is advocating that European Union emissions reduction targets be increased to 25 percent (up from 20 percent) by 2020 at the March Environmental Council meeting in Brussels. “Stepping up our ambition on emissions reduction makes sense for energy policy, it makes sense in terms of green growth and jobs, and now we know it makes sense financially, because it would put us on the most cost-effective pathway to our 2050 target," says Davey. This push is supported by several countries and environmental organizations including Denmark, Germany, France, World Wildlife Fund and Oxfam. Concerned about the effect of emissions targets on its coal-dependent economy, Poland expressed opposition to more stringent requirements.
For additional information see: BusinessGreen

Study: Increases in CO2, Ocean Acidification Unprecedented in Geological Record

In a study published in the journal Science, researchers reviewed hundreds of studies of the last 300 million years, and have identified one event, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), 56 million years ago, when oceans changed nearly as quickly as is being seen today. When oceans absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, the water chemistry changes, leading to acidification and a decrease in carbonate ion concentration, which negatively impacts animals, especially corals, mollusks, and plankton. A sediment core collected near Antarctica indicates a period of 5000 years when atmospheric CO2 concentrations doubled, increasing temperatures by 6°C. Study co-author Ellen Thomas of Yale University, says, “It’s really unusual that you lose more than 5 to 10 percent of species over less than 20,000 years,” as happened during the PETM, when ocean pH fell 0.45 units. Acidification is occurring much faster than during the PETM; there has been a 0.1 unit decrease in ocean pH and a 30 percent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the last 100 years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates a further 0.3 unit decrease in pH by 2100.
For additional information see: The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York Times, The Washington Post

Effects of Climate Change Strain Forest Service Budget

Tom Tidwell, US Forest Service Chief, testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources regarding the proposed Fiscal Year 2013 Forest Service Budget. In addition to an increase in extreme weather events including droughts, wildfires and wind storms, “we’re definitely seeing much longer fire seasons in many parts of the country, another 60 or 70 days longer than what we used to experience . . . We’re also seeing much more severe fire behavior than we’ve ever experienced,” said Tidwell. Climate change is increasing populations of tree-killing beetles that are spreading throughout national forests and contribute to the problem by leaving behind dry, dead trees. Senator Al Franken (D-MN), emphasized the need to consider climate change science in budgetary decisions, stating, “To me it is so obvious the costs of climate change that we are already paying, and that these are never factored in when we talk about the costs of things like burning more coal or burning dirtier oil.” The 2013 budget request for the Forest Service is $4.86 billion.
For additional information see: Colorado Independent

Climate Change Threatens Pacific Island Nation Kiribati

On March 7, Kiribati President Anote Tong met with members of Fiji’s government to discuss the purchase of 5,000 acres in Fiji as a relocation plan for Kiribati’s 113,000 natives. "This is the last resort, there's no way out of this one," said President Tong, "our people will have to move as the tides have reached our homes and villages." The inhabitants of Kiribati are concerned about the survival of their cultural history if the majority of the nation moves to Fiji, along with finding gainful employment in Fiji that would support family members remaining on the Kiribati islands. Many of Kiribati’s atolls are already submerged under the Pacific Ocean, and though the remaining islands are fortified with retaining walls to keep the seawater at bay, the rising sea levels are quickly inundating any remaining dry land.
For additional information see: The Telegraph

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Chad A. Tolman
Coalition for Climate Change Study and Action