Sunday, November 11, 2007

Spain shown perils of climate change

Guardian (Environment): It's an apocalyptic view of the future, a stark warning to Spain of what the country could look like if action is not taken to reduce the effects of climate change. The warning comes in a book, Photoclima, launched this week by Greenpeace in which images of some of Spain's most emblematic places have been altered to show what they could look like in the future. Using statistics from the UN panel on climate change and a touch of digital makeup Greenpeace hopes to scare Spain into taking action.

La Manga del Mar in Murcia.

Digitally retouched picture of La Manga del Mar in Murcia to show before (top) and after (below) a rise in sea level. Photograph: Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images

We see the Ebro river in Zaragoza as a dried-up riverbed in 2070, by which time the fields of Valencia, which have provided Spain with oranges for centuries, will have all but disappeared. Perhaps the most dramatic image is that of La Manga de Mar Menor in Murcia, where hotels and apartment blocks abut the Mediterranean. In a few decades, according to Greenpeace, most of this will be underwater.

According to the group's director in Spain, Juan López de Uralde, the intention was not to use "scientific rigour" but to "create alarm and a call to action". Mr Uralde is highly critical of the level of debate on climate change in Spain, where he says the last few weeks have seen a "frivolous" discussion on "marginal aspects" of climate change.

For example, when Al Gore visited Spain last month to highlight the dangers of climate change, the leader of the opposition People's party, Mariano Rajoy, openly questioned his judgment. "Listen," said Mr Rajoy, "I've brought here 10 of the world's most important scientists and not one of them can guarantee what the weather will be like tomorrow ... How can anyone say what will happen to the world in 300 years?

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