25 October, 2021

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Playing With The Future

By Ranil Senanayake

Dr Ranil Senanayake

Dr Ranil Senanayake

As the bureaucrats head out once again to negotiate the climate convention, Sri Lanka burns. In a manner fitting of Nero fiddling while Rome burnt, those entrusted with the task of looking after our interests in the climate convention, seem more interested in the ‘bracket brigade’ where endless hours are spent discussing weather to put in or remove brackets in the convention document, rather than informing us of the exact science and innovations that will help us face the oncoming crisis as a nation or by presenting a country position.

A case in point on why the public has to be informed is seen in the National Geographic documentary ‘ Before the flood’ released in last month. The reality of Climate Change is so urgent, that even the US president is suggesting ‘climate refugees’ as a global security threat. The measured trend (fig 1) makes it certain that we will move to a global rise of temperature between 0.5 and 1C. in the next few years.

While the shift of a single degree does not sound much, in individual terms, a one-degree rise in temperature is barely felt on the skin; a one degree rise across the entire surface of the planet means huge changes in climatic extremes.  Six thousand years ago when the world was one degree warmer than now, there was pronounced desertification around the planet. In Sri Lanka too, this was the period when the rainforests, which ringed the central mountains, retreated, leaving behind small refugial remnants in the valleys and dry woodland on the hills above. Luckily for us, the reality of two monsoons, kept the dry zone from becoming desertified and we never had to witness the tragedy of dust storms or landscape desiccation. But the current activities of the government seem determined to expose the fragile remnants of our topsoil to desiccation and loss. We are clearing the remnants of the dry zone forests to make way for industrial chemical farming that destroy not only the forests but also the soils of our land. We are loosing both biodiversity and biomass, in a future with a warming climate; regions with low biomass will face the specter of desertification.global-rise-of-temperature

It has been calculated that a one-degree increase would eliminate fresh water from a third of the world’s land surface by 2100. This is merely through evaporation. To this must be added the reduction in the volume of clean water by the loss of forests. But Sri Lanka has been endowed a great blessing in this respect. It has a total area of 65,610 km², and on it 11,000 manmade lakes collect and store rainwater in an area adding to about 870 km² in total. Today we destroy this amazing possibility, to utilize this gift of ‘future-proofing’ endowed on us by our ancestors, by mindless ‘development’ projects that cut across watersheds and spew pollutants into our waterways.

The example above illustrates clearly the dangers before us but sadly there is an Ostrich like quality of current political decision makers and there is hardly any public discourse on a subject so urgent as this. While we boast of a Government Climate Secretariat, it seems to serve merely to fill space for bureaucrats concerned only of the next conference or meeting. We still have to be given any advice from our government on how to prepare for the oncoming changes.

The evidence from science and experiences from around the world confirm a disturbing future ahead. Is it not time that our politicians demonstrated some interest in our future? The COP on Climate Change is just starting in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November. The ‘Bracket Brigade’ has already gone for it politicians will follow them soon. Let us see what they return with. At least at this time, let us see if they have any suggestions on how we should prepare for the changes, what parts of Sri Lana will be affected? what crops should we change ? let us see if they have showcased the potential of Sri Lanka to adapt and await the national plan where the carbon footprint of the Megapolis constructions has been calculated.

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    Another good one, Ranil.

    None so blind as those that refuse to see!!

    • 0
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      Thanks Ranil, great work!

      Let’s hope that sea level rise will sink Pathala Champika’s Mega financial port city in the Chinese Debt trap!

      Mainstreaming environmental sustainability into development projects must be a priority in the Hot Air Development Hub that Sri Lanka is..

      So much talk about free trade agreements, but where are the real jobs and value addition on the ground.

      The UN-IMF-World Bank Development Aid industry is part of the make Sri Lanka a Hot Air Hub for corrupt politicians project while destroying the environment talking up sustainability!

      Long Live Miracle of Modayas!

    • 0
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      Dr Ranil Senanayake

      RE: Playing With The Future

      The new President elect of USA Donald Trump thinks that the Climate Change is hoax. Will the sea levels rise by 211 feet?

      Trump’s election is casting a chill over international climate change negotiations. He has repeatedly called climate change a hoax and has pledged to “cancel” the 2015 Paris Agreement. That landmark deal calls for virtually every country on Earth to control greenhouse gas emissions to restrain human-caused climate change.

      What Election 2016 means. Less federal research funding and regulation expected; expansion of legal marijuana could be a boon for analytical testing companies

      http://cen.acs.org/articles/94/web/2016/11/Election-2016-means-chemistry-enterprise.html?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_campaign=CEN

  • 2
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    Dr Ranil Senanayake

    RE: Playing With The Future

    “As the bureaucrats head out once again to negotiate the climate convention, Sri Lanka burns. In a manner fitting of Nero fiddling while Rome burnt, those entrusted with the task of looking after our interests in the climate convention, …”

    Well, well. Wait a few hundred years, and the sea levels will rise 211 feet, 64.3 meters, and the bureaucrats, will be long gone, including Colombo, Port City, Maldives, Jaffna etc. under water, inhabited by the fish.

    In the meantime the turncoat, Traitor Gon (Gina) Sririsena is collecting Kappam, Santhodsams fro n the Rajapaksas and their croniers, to release the crooks and killers.

  • 0
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    The larger countries do seem to concerned themselves much. Presumably even if sea rises there is enough land to move into. Australia for example is one of the worse offenders.

    I think Sri Lankan leaders can be more vocal and raise awareness. Larger countries need to plan ahead of populations from nearby islands in their millions knocking on their door.

  • 0
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    Ranil, the Minister of Foriegn Affairs, despite the subject of environment belonging to another Ministry, has jumped on the bandwagon and is taking 6 stooges with him, all at Government expense, whilst the Ministry of Environment itself has been restricted to sending only 2 officials. The foriegn ministry boorucrats and the back scratching poly-ticks who have infested the Ministry are upto their old tricks of pushing out the relevant line ministry to grab foriegn trips exclusively for diplo-mutts , so that they can pocket per diems paid out with tax payers money ! Square pegs in round holes attending conferences they know nothing about except to put brackets and buckets!

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