- From EUReferendum: "Greed, hypocrisy, incompetence and perhaps pragmatism might be the elements responsible for the threat posed to inhabitants of Bangladesh's sleepy south eastern Sitakundu coastline, as they brave the
- succession of cyclones that characterise the area.
- So it is that we see Shafiq Alamm, writing for AFP today, telling us that ship-breaking is exposing Bangladesh to the "climate change threat".
- If this is the case, it would seem to support Thomas Fuller's recent observation that the debate about global warming has returned to more or less the same position as was extant prior to the release of the Climategate emails. We are back to the trench warfare, where the warmists have reverted to their steady drip-drip of alarmist propaganda.
- Kalam's victim status having been established, we are then told that he and wife owe their lives to the protection provided by the trees – which leads the way to the second nugget of information – that they are concerned about "the deforestation they're witnessing around them."
Thirty percent of the world's condemned ships are recycled in Bangladesh, and the industry creates tens of thousands of jobs and provides three-quarters of the country's steel, but at a serious environmental cost. More than 40,000 big trees have been felled in the last six months to clear the way for new ship-breaking yards, denuding the shoreline of forests that provide natural barriers to cyclones.
That, then, is the issue – deforestation, without the substitution of man-made barriers which would provide a similar level of protection. But where does climate change come in? The answer, we are told, is that Bangladesh is on the frontline of climate change and that rampant deforestation, particularly by ship-breaking yards, is making things worse.
Climate change, therefore, is the primary evil – the deforestation is secondary. We are not allowed to entertain the idea that if the forests were maintained, there would be no more of a problem than there has ever been.
But there is more to the issue than just this: felling old growth forests is illegal in Bangladesh. But, guess what? The laws are not enforced. Ship-breaking is worth billions of dollars and yard owners are some of the country's top business tycoons. When the government recently attempted to impose strict environmental standards, it was confronted with devastating strikes which threatened the country's steel industry. It backed down within three months.
Where this gets even muddier though is that this is not just a matter for the Bangladesh government. Shipping is an international business and, as Shafiq Alamm noted last year, so is ship-breaking and its regulation, the latter coming under the aegis of the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
In 2005 the organisation embarked on a process of setting standards for the ship-breaking business, specifically with a view to "minimization of the environmental, occupational health and safety hazards related to ship recycling and the improvement of the protection of human health and the environment at ship recycling facilities."
When it came to the crunch, however, the IMO bottled out. Recorded by Alamm in June 2009, a new agreement was signed by 65 countries which, according to Mohammad Ali Shahin, local head of the "Platform on Ship-breaking" campaign, legalised "some of the worst environmental and labour practices in the world."
Now, it should not pass without comment that the IMO comes under the UN, the self-same UN that serves as a host to the IPCC. So we have two UN organisations, comprising the same set of member state countries, at odd with each other. The one is legitimising damage with supposedly exacerbates the effects of climate change, the other seeking to minimise the damage that, in part, is permitted by a sister organisation.
- Of course, there are other players in this affair, the ship owners and, behind them the nations which register their ships. Given the very evident environmental damage caused by the Bangladeshi practices, it would be open to nation states – individually or through an international agreement – to impose conditions on ship breaking. This, in fact, was what the IMO sought to do.
So, we end up with an industry in a far-flung corner of the globe, carried out under conditions which would not be tolerated in any developed country, to the serious disadvantage of the local populous – and AFP reports the effects in terms of the threat from "climate change".
The tragedy is that, even after climate change as an issue has long gone, these problems will remain, the only thing being achieved having been to obscure the real causes of real problems.
- Those that are hyping up climate change are doing more damage than can even be imagined." 5/2 via Tom Nelson