Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Forget drought: first we have to end this cowardice

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian fumes at Labor's shortsightedness on water policy, privatization and kindred topics. Some interesting material about the Thames Barrier: From the control tower of the Thames barrier, gaze down on one of London's heroic wonders. Those gigantic silver sails stretching half a mile across the river float above the water, standing guard against the rising risk of flood. Here global warming is measured by how often the steel gates are closed; in 1987, it was only once every two years: now it's four times a year, eight times more often. By the century's end the barrier will close 300 times a year at this pace of climate change.

The river is rising 6.6mm a year, with more storms and extremes as ice caps melt. Monitoring the incoming water at coastal stations from Wick to Lowestoft, the barrier men have never yet been taken by surprise. At the highest tide ever, in February 2004, there was a flood alert on 14 successive tides: none of the men went home for a week....

Photo by Gorge.org

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