Thursday, August 9, 2007

Aid to Help Asia and Africa With Effects of Warming

Here's what Fareed Zakaria was saying back in February.

"Global Warming, Get Used to It"
No one likes to talk about adapting to global warming because it seems defeatist. But the result is that, as we debate the meta-theories about global warming, we're increasingly unprepared to deal with its consequences. Whether or not CO2 emissions are triggering certain reactions in the atmosphere, we can see that sea levels are rising. What are we going to do about it?

In an intelligent, practical speech last September, the president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Frances Cairncross, urged that we begin such a discussion. "We need to think about policies that prepare for a hotter, drier world, especially in poor countries," she said.

"That may involve, for instance, developing new crops, constructing flood defenses, setting different building regulations or banning building close to sea level." She points out that adaptation programs could move forward fast. Unlike plans to slow down global warming, which require massive and simultaneous international efforts, adaptation strategies can be pursued by individual countries, states, cities and localities.

Six months later, from today's New York Times:

The Rockefeller Foundation says it will invest $70 million over the next five years to help Asian cities and African farmers withstand floods, droughts and other global warming hazards.

Foundation officials say the help will be needed no matter what is done to limit greenhouse gas emissions, because the world faces decades of rising temperatures and sea levels as a result of a century-long buildup of gases like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Poorer communities, lacking the money or technology to deal with a ruined harvest or an eroding coastline, face outsize threats.

I know I sometimes irritate my ardently transnational friends but I prefer bypassing the U.N. and the kleptocratic African/Asian governments, going directly to the NGO's on the ground.

It sounds from this brief article that the RF will use both routes.

Either way, here's the key sentence:

"The Rockefeller project, the Climate Change Resilience Initiative, will focus almost entirely on limiting risks to human populations, Ms. Rodin said."