Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - Page 9 News List

World’s cities building defenses against effects of global warming

A growing number of countries are adopting a variety of approaches to avert the catastrophes climate change seems poised to unleash

By Karl Ritter  /  AP, BONN, Germany

Those frightening calculations have spurred systemic action in Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean and one that is heavily dependent on beach-loving European and Canadian tourists. In recent months, inspectors and demolition crews have begun fanning out across the island with plans to raze thousands of houses, restaurants, hotels and improvised docks in a race to restore much of the coast to something approaching its natural state.

In the tourist resort of Varadero, the country faces a dilemma: Tearing down seaside restaurants and hotels threatens millions of dollars in yearly tourism revenue, while allowing them to stay puts at risk the very beaches that are the main draw.

MBEERE, KENYA

While sea level rise threatens some coastal communities in Africa, the continent faces even bigger climate-related problems inland. Climate scientists have projected shifts in rainfall patterns leading to extended droughts in some areas and increased flooding in other parts. To small-scale farming communities, these shifts could be disastrous, adding further stress to scarce water supplies.

Adaptation is therefore focused on learning to cope with the climatic changes, adjusting farming practices and improving water conservation efforts.

In Kenya’s Mbeere district, where people say they are noticing longer dry spells, UK-based charity group Christian Aid is teaching farmers to help them predict the seasons and know better what to grow and when to plant.

A text messaging system helps farmers get up-to-date weather reports specific to their locations.

“We are supporting them to access and interpret climate information and help them make forward-looking decisions so that their farming is better suited to the predicted changing conditions,” Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid said. “Farmers live off the land and the weather, and small changes to weather patterns can be a big disaster to small-scale farmers in Africa whose entire livelihoods and well-being depend on farming.”

Associated Press writers Raphael Satter in London, Jennifer Kay in Miami, Toby Sterling in Amsterdam, Farid Hossain in Dhaka, Thanyarat Doksone in Bangkok, Paul Haven in Havana and Colleen Barry in Milan contributed to this report.

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