human rights news & views

Unnatural disasters

bus crushed by masonry, Christchurch, Aotearoa/New Zealand (22 Feb. 2011)Tonight's post will be brief — just a quote — in honour of the victims of the Christchurch earthquake (pictured) and all who suffered in the recent floods and fires in Australia.  These all may have been caused by climate change.

"All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man [sic], increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it's here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster."

Barack Obama, 2006

Thanks to Cath James for the quote.


  1. Julie
    24 February 2011 | 12:02 am

    Dear Olivia,

    The earthquake in NZ is indeed awful— but is there any mechanism known that will increase earthquakes under climate change? I hadn’t heard that.


  2. 24 February 2011 | 10:41 am

    Yes, increasingly it is thought there is a connection. One theory about how it works is the enormous pressure exerted on either end of the earth by the polar ice is lifting as the ice melts, causing tectonic plate movement and thence earthquakes, tsunamis, avalanches, volcanoes, etc. I believe there are other theories explaining the apparent correlation. Bill McGuire at London Uni is a leading exponent of this line of research, e.g., http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/sep/06/global-warming-natural-disasters-conference

  3. Julie
    25 February 2011 | 1:28 pm

    Good grief! We need a carbon price… yesterday!



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