For those of you in New York, I’ll be on WNYC, at 11:25 am today, talking with Brian Lehrer talking about Forecast, and about starting with the newly launched Global Post as a correspondent for climate change and the environment.
Check out my contribution to Global Post’s package on America on the eve of a new administration.
SAN FRANCISCO — Bangladesh may be the place in the world most threatened by climate change.
A desperately poor population—half the size of the United States’—crams into an area a little smaller than Louisiana. With most of its territory within six yards of sea level, the country is uniquely vulnerable to rising seas and stronger storm surges.
If nothing is done, much of the country could go under water. Millions will be driven from their homes. Yet, the people of Bangladesh are among those least responsible for the greenhouse gases that could one day destroy their way of life. Very few of them drive cars, run air conditioners, or consume many factory-made goods. Many don’t even have access to electricity.
In contrast, the United States is relatively insulated from the early impacts of climate change. Far wealthier, we’re well positioned to absorb shocks in the price of food, to adapt to disruptions in the weather, and to respond when diseases expand their reach. But as one of the most industrialized countries in the world, we’re disproportionally responsible for the warming of the world.
Stephan Faris’s Forecast is a journalistic take on global warming, the kind of book I might have liked to write myself with a better travel budget. It’s colorful, writerly, dispatched from the front lines. The key theme: In less stable parts of the world, global warming is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It can tip fragile societies over the edge. And that’s already happening.