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1 The World at risk

What do I have to know? 4 Climate change and its causes: Is global warming
This topic is about how some parts of the world are at risk a recent short-term phenomenon, or should it
from hazards (e.g. volcanoes, earthquakes), and others from be seen as part of longer-term climate change?
climate change. It has seven guiding questions. What you need to learn
• Global warming is part of on-going climate change
1 Global hazards: What are the main types of • The causes of this may be natural and/or human
physical risks facing the world and how big a • Recent climate change is unprecedented
threat are they? This section of the book is about process, not case studies.
What you need to learn
• Define – hazard and hazard types, disaster, hazard risk,
disaster risk equation 5 The impacts of global warming: What are the
• Why some people are vulnerable to hazards impacts of climate change and why should we be
• Why global warming is a major hazard concerned?
What you need to learn
Although this is introductory and requires generalized
• The impacts of climate change on the Arctic and Africa
knowledge, the examples used (e.g. Kiribati) can be used later,
• The potential impacts of a global sea level rise, and how
e.g. global warming.
these affect places disproportionately
• Why climate change is difficult to predict
2 Global hazard trends: How and why are natural • The ‘tipping point’ and its significance
hazards now becoming seen as an increasing This demands case study knowledge about why some places
global threat? may suffer from more impacts of global warming than others.
What you need to learn
• Magnitude and frequency of different hazards, and hazard 6 Coping with climate change: What are the
trends strategies for dealing with climate change?
• The impacts of these upon lives, property, infrastructure
What you need to learn
and GDP
• Mitigation and adaptation strategies, with examples
• Why some natural disasters are increasing
• Why views about climate change differ, with examples
You need to know examples of why some hazards are • How carbon footprints can be reduced
increasing, and different trends (e.g. lives lost versus damage • Why global agreements to limit carbon emissions are
caused). difficult to reach
• How ‘act local, think global’ could affect climate change

3 Global hazard patterns: Why are some places This section demands detailed knowledge of examples to
deal with climate change in different parts of the world.
more hazardous and disaster-prone than others?
What you need to learn
• How to assess hazard risk in your local area. 7 The challenge of global hazards for the future:
• The global distribution of major natural hazards How should we tackle the global challenges
• Disaster hotspots: the California coast and the Philippines of increasing risk and vulnerability in a more
You need to know how to research hazard risk in your own hazardous world?
area, how different hazards have different global distributions, What you need to learn
and case study knowledge of California’s coast and the • How global warming can impact on other global issues,
Philippines. e.g. conflict, famine
• Some countries face a greater challenge from global
warming; examples of strategies and possible solutions
This section requires knowledge of why some countries face
a difficult future with global warming, together with how
carbon emissions can be reduced.

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1.1 What has happened to Tebua? 1.1: What has happened to Tebua?

In this unit you’ll investigate the risks facing some


of the world’s most remote island nations. Where will Kiribati’s population go?
Kiribati’s president, Anote Tong, warned Australia and increased levels of migration already from South
Gone for good? New Zealand – the two developed countries in the Pacific countries. About 17 000 islanders have applied
Early in 2002, writer Curtis A. Moore went in search of region – to prepare for a mass exodus within the next for residence in New Zealand in the past two years,
Tebua, an island in the Pacific. Local legend said that it decade. Speaking at the annual South Pacific Forum compared with 4000 in 2003. While New Zealand
had existed for thousands of years. ‘But now,’ he wrote, in Fiji, Mr Tong said that rising sea levels would create has been generous so far, and already has a sizeable
[Photo 1.1a] countless environmental refugees. ‘If we are talking Pacific population, accepting large numbers of
‘I’ve been told it is gone – swallowed by the sea. Its fate,
about our island states submerging in 10 years’ time, refugees could be a political problem.
some say, was triggered by global warming – the unnatural
we simply have to find somewhere else to go,’ he said.
increase in the Earth’s temperature caused by air pollutants Adapted from the Independent, October 2006
He warned of a flood of refugees – pointing to
that trap solar heat.’

Tebua lay off Tarawa Atoll, on the extreme western edge Why did Tebua disappear?
of the nation of Kiribati, a group of islands stretching across As if global warming wasn’t
Tebua’s disappearance is one of many signs that global warming is
the Pacific in an area nearly as wide as the USA. Kiribati enough …
occurring. Researchers have been predicting for years that rising sea levels
consists of very low-lying sand and mangrove islands, one Not only is Kiribati suffering from the
would soon cover the islands of the South Pacific. Since 1920, temperatures
metre or less above sea level in most places. To visiting impacts of sea level rise, but it has also
in the southwest Pacific have risen by about 1 °C, although the world as a
westerners, it seems like paradise. It covers 2.5 million Naa been subject to many tsunami warnings;
N whole has warmed by 0.6 °C in the same period. Including Australia and
square miles of ocean, an area 27 times that of the UK. Buariki there were two major alerts in the first
Tarawa Tearinibai New Zealand, nearly 30 countries stretch over 20 000 km2 across the
But its land area is a mere speck – just 720 km2, one Atoll, three months of 2007:
Pacific. Five of these have warmed by more than 1 °C in the last century.
quarter the size of London. Its population is only 92 500. Kiribati ● On 13 January 2007, an earthquake
In one, Micronesia, sea level has risen 21.4 mm every year since 2001.
Economically, Kiribati is even smaller. Its total GNP (Gross Notoue (Eretibou) off the coast of Japan, which
[a/w 1.1ai] Increasing numbers of tropical storms in the area have created a region
National Product) is equal to that of about 3000 average Abaokoro measured 8.2 on the Richter scale,
that suffers from multiple hazards, including the threat of tsunami.
Americans. Its exports consist mostly of coconut flesh, TARAWA
triggered a tsunami alert in Kiribati
Biketawa Tabiang Global warming is happening, although whether it is natural, or caused
used to make soaps and oils. Nabeina Tabiteuea
– 3000 miles away.
by the effects of human activity and pollution, is still being debated. Many ● On 2 April 2007, an earthquake off
Kiribati is disappearing. Most of its population live on Bikeman Bonriki
Bikenibeu scientists believe that increased temperatures and the melting of the the Solomon Islands, also measuring
Tarawa, the most densely populated chain of small islands, Betio ice caps are being caused by emissions of greenhouse gases from the
Eita Temaiku 8.2, triggered a further alert.
surrounding a central lagoon. Its beaches are flat and barely Banraeaba
world’s wealthiest countries. One country alone – the USA – creates 25%
500 metres wide, and have become so eroded 0 10 Although neither of these actually
of global greenhouse gas emissions. The problem is that the worst effects
by storms that sand has been imported from Km caused damage in Kiribati, they show
of rising sea level will be felt by the world’s poorest countries, which make
Australia to maintain them. Many families have South China that places like Kiribati are at risk from
Sea N only the tiniest contribution to global warming and are the least equipped
already moved, dismantling their wooden multiple hazards.
North Pacific Ocean to cope with it.
homes and rebuilding them further inland.
Gradually people are being squeezed into a KIRIBATI ● Greenhouse gases are those gases which are said to retain
Tarawa Line Islands Should the people of Kiribati sue
narrow strip of land between the lagoon and heat within the Earth’s atmosphere and contribute to global
the countries emitting the most
the Pacific. More people each year are leaving, warming, e.g. carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane.
INDONESIA greenhouse gases?
becoming the world’s first environmental
Gilbert ● Over to you ● On your own What do you think
refugees. Islands Phoenix
[a/w 1.1aii]
Islands 1 Using the World Bank website (, 4 Define these terms from the text:
● Environmental refugees are people compile a data file showing Kiribati’s economy (e.g. GNP, global warming, environmental refugees, multiple
forced to migrate as a result of changes to the AUSTRALIA exports) and population data (e.g. birth and death rates, hazards, greenhouse gases
environment. infant mortality). 5 Using Google, or similar, research recent hazard
2 In pairs, decide whether or not it matters if Kiribati threats in Kiribati.
South Pacific Ocean survives as a nation. Present your ideas to the class. 6 How far is Kiribati a nation facing ‘multiple hazards’?
Kiribati’s nearest large 3 How willing do you think Australia and New Zealand
Indian Tasman
neighbours are Australia 0 1000
Ocean Sea might be to accept environmental refugees from Kiribati,
and New Zealand NEW ZEALAND
Km and why?

6 7

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1.2 Hazards and disasters 1.2: Hazards and disasters

In this unit you’ll find out what hazards and What are disasters?

● A natural hazard is a natural event or process which

disasters are and how they affect people. affects people, e.g. causing loss of life or injury, economic When does a natural hazard become a disaster?
damage, disruption to people’s lives or environmental Vulnerable
Dregg’s model of defining disasters shows how some kind
What are hazards? degradation. Hazardous population:
of overlap is required before a hazard becomes a disaster.
Every year, many events happen around the world which geophysical susceptible to
A disaster is a matter of scale; it is simply bigger than a
may be described as natural hazards. The box on event e.g. flood, Disaster human and/or
10 hazardous events natural hazard. However, it is difficult to define precisely.
the right lists ten natural events, but which of them are earthquake, economic loss
1 A cyclone affecting Hong Kong Insurance companies – who do a lot of research into global
hazards? For a natural event to become a hazard, it has tsunami because of
2 A hurricane passing over a remote unpopulated hazards – attempt to define disasters. In 1990, Swiss Re
to involve people. It is the way people, social systems where they live
island defined a disaster as an event in which at least 20 people
and environments link together that determines whether 3 A flood in a rural area which floods the roads, but died, or insured damage of over US$16 million value was
an event becomes a hazard. What may be just a natural does not affect any houses caused. But values and currencies change – so would this
event in an uninhabited location may be a severe hazard definition be appropriate now, or should it be changed? Dregg’s model of defining disasters. M. Dregg is a geographer who has
4 A volcano erupting on a remote unpopulated island written a lot about the study of hazards.
somewhere else if people are involved. 5 An avalanche in a ski resort Disasters and vulnerable populations
6 An avalanche high on mountainous slopes remote 20
Whether a hazard becomes a disaster or not can depend Key
Background from any settlement 18
on how vulnerable the people who are exposed to it are. Flood
7 A tsunami wave 50 centimetres high off the coast 16
Two types of hazard An increasing proportion of the world’s population lives in [A/w 1.2a]
of Japan 14
The hazards in this chapter are of two types: areas which are exposed to hazards. Examples include: Windstorm
8 An earthquake in Kashmir, northern Pakistan 12
● people in Bangladesh who are threatened by floods and Others
A Hydro-meteorological – those caused by 9 A drought in Australia’s outback cyclones
running water and its processes (hydro) and those 10 A drought in the south-east of England 8
● people who live on steep slopes where landslides may
associated with or caused by weather patterns 6
be common, such as the favelas (shanty towns) in many
(meteorological). They include: 4
An avalanche – but is it a hazard?
Brazilian cities.
● floods, debris and mud flows 2
● hurricanes (also known as tropical cyclones), coastal The greater the scale of a natural hazard, and the more 0











storm surges, thunder and hailstorms, rain and exposed people are, the greater a disaster is likely to be.
wind storms (including tornadoes), blizzards and Number of major natural disasters causing over 1000 deaths and/or
other severe storms economic damage costing US$ 1 billion (using 2002 figures), 1950-2002
● drought, bushfires, temperature extremes, sand Who studies hazards? ● Over to you
and dust storms. People study hazards from different perspectives, such
as: 1 Classify the ten listed events on page 8 into those
B Geophysical – those caused by earth processes
● scientists, e.g. geomorphologists (who study which are hazards and those that are not. Explain your
These are of two types:
[Photo 1.2a] reasoning briefly in each case.
● internal earth processes of tectonic origin, e.g. landform processes), geologists (rocks) and
2 Now draw a table to classify these ten events
earthquakes, tsunami, and volcanic activity hydrologists (water)
into those that are hydrological, meteorological,
● external earth processes of geomorphological ● those who study societies, e.g. economists,
geomorphological, and tectonic.
origin involving mass movements, e.g. landslides, sociologists, and psychologists 3 Using the graph above, explain which type of disaster
rockslides, rock falls. ● applied scientists, e.g. civil, structural and is most frequent, and suggest why.
hydrological engineers 4 From your own knowledge and research, name three
These types sometimes overlap, e.g. a snow avalanche ● private companies, e.g. insurers examples of events in each disaster type.
may be hydro-meteorological in origin, but geophysical ● public bodies, e.g. national and local governments ● On your own
as an event. ● cultural organizations and individuals, e.g. writers,
5 Define the terms from the text: natural hazard,
photographers and even musicians.
disaster, hydro-meteorological hazards, hydrological,
It seems as though most people and organisations meteorological, geophysical hazards, tectonic,
Can global warming be seen as a natural hazard? geomorphological, vulnerable populations.
have an interest! Geography’s unique role is to bring
What do you think together – or synthesise – information from different 6 Explain, using examples, whether you think hazards
are really ‘natural’.
studies to provide an overview of the issues.


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1.3 Global hazards - 1 1.3: Global hazards

In this unit you’ll learn how hazards increasingly The effects of natural disasters on people

threaten people’s lives and property. 500

Number of natural disasters reported

The number of people affected by natural disasters has 700
450 risen sharply. The rise in global population, from just over
Is the world becoming more hazardous? 400 1 billion in 1900 to about 6.5 billion in 2007 has meant that 600
350 some areas which were once uninhabited are now being
The media is always keen to report on disasters. As a

Total number of people reported affected

300 developed and built up. To put it simply, more people are
result, images of events such as Hurricane Katrina, or the

by natural disasters (millions)

250 living in hazardous places where they might be exposed to
Boxing Day 2004 tsunami, stay in people’s minds for years.
200 natural disasters. Examples include:
Watching TV reports on the USA’s hurricane season, or
150 ● coastal cities in which harbourside or beachside houses 400
Bangladesh’s latest flood, makes it seem that the world is a
100 and flats are exposed to hurricanes
hazardous place – and becoming more so. But, how far is
50 ● housing developments on river flood plains which, by
this actually true? 300
0 their nature, are likely to flood.
The two graphs on the right show that the number of 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000
reported natural disasters rose sharply between 1930 200
Global trends in the number of natural disasters reported, 1930-2006 Who suffers most from disasters?
and 2006, particularly floods and windstorms. You might
There are some general trends, but the impact of disasters
expect that this would lead to greater casualties and 100
1930 varies considerably between regions of the world and
economic losses. However, many disaster events can now 1940
between countries. The two world maps below show the
be predicted much more accurately, because of satellite 1950
number of natural disasters by country between 1976 and 0
imagery and increased hazard awareness. As a result, early 1960


1970 2005, and the numbers of people affected in each country

prediction can reduce the effects of disasters – disaster
1980 per 100 000 population. Study the maps carefully and Year
deaths have fallen, although financial damage has rocketed
1990 consider how far they show patterns that you would (a) Global trends in the number of people affected by natural
(see the graphs below). Single disasters can dramatically 2000
expect and (b) not expect at all. You might get some idea disasters, 1950-2006
affect these figures – the Kobe earthquake (1995) and
about why these areas are affected so much by studying the

fam hts/





lan ches

Hurricane Katrina (2005) are the two biggest disasters





graph on the next page, which shows the most common



economically, while the 2004 Asian tsunami killed far more



types of natural disaster. Globally, floods and windstorms

Global trends in the number of natural disasters reported, by type, (which include hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes and storms)
1930-2006 account for 75% of natural disasters.
Global trends in deaths caused by natural disasters, 1900-2006
Kobe earthquake
Total number of people reported killed

by natural disasters (millions)

4 120 [A/w 1.3g]

Estimated damage (US$ billions)

Hurricane Katrina
[A/w 1.3f]
3 100


1 The number of natural disasters by country, The number of people in
Key Key
400 Number of disasters 1976-2005 each country affected by natural
Victims per 100 000 inhabitants
disasters, per 100 000 population,
0 0–29 0–999 1976-2005

200 30–119 1000–4999

Year >119 >4999
Global trends in the cost of economic damage resulting 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000
from natural disasters, 1950-2006 Year

10 11

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Global hazards - 2 1.3: Global hazards

Investigating the world’s worst hazards Why are floods and windstorms increasing?

Which are the world’s worst hazards? The answer depends Type of disaster Month Main location Deaths The media almost always say that it is due to global warming. The theory is that the:
on the year. 2004-5 was bad for disasters, beginning just Earthquake October Pakistan 73 338 ● increased warming of the earth causes warm air to rise, creating convection cells
before the New Year with the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Hurricane
October Guatemala 1513 – which form hurricanes Key
Between December 2004 and December 2005, 300 000 ● increasing temperatures increase evaporation, which in turn leads to increasing rainfall Tropical storm
deaths occurred globally – one of the worst 12 months on Katrina
August USA 1322 – and therefore greater flooding. Hurricane
record (it compared to 40 000 in 2003-4, and 21 000 in Earthquake October India 1309 22 Major hurricane
Or is it part of a natural cycle? Research
2005-6). On average, 77 000 people were killed annually Flood July India 1200 20
shows that the Atlantic Ocean – where
in natural disasters between 2000 and 2005, although that Earthquake March Indonesia 915 18 [
many windstorms begin – appears to work
figure is lower if the 2004 tsunami is removed from the Flood June China 771 v
in a cycle of peaks and troughs, as the graph 16
calculation. Care should be taken when comparing years Earthquake February Iran 612

Number of storms
on the right demonstrates. The period 14
directly, because the total number of deaths can be hugely
around 1930–1935 showed increased storm 12
affected by a single major disaster like this. Most deaths
2006 activity, with major falls and increases 10
from disasters occur in Asia.
Type of disaster Month Main location Deaths occurring in cycles since then. So, although 8
Earthquake May Indonesia 5778 there has been an increase in hurricane
Which hazards are most common? 6
Typhoon activity since the mid 1990s, there were
The bar chart below shows the total numbers of the most December Philippines 1399 4
Durian previous increases in the 1950s and 1970s.
common natural disasters which occurred in 2006, and the Landslide February Philippines 1112 2
average yearly numbers for 2000-2005. Heat wave July Netherlands 1000 0
Trends in the numbers of Atlantic 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000
● Floods were easily the most common event. Heat wave July Belgium 940 storms occurring since 1925 Year
● Windstorms (e.g. hurricanes) were second. Typhoon Bilis July China 820
Tsunami July Indonesia 802 ● Over to you ● On your own
Together these accounted for nearly three-quarters of all
Cold wave January Ukraine 801
disasters globally.
Flash flood August Ethiopia 498 1 Use the four graphs on page 10 to outline the trends in 6 Research the following hazards web sites to update
● Drought and extreme temperatures combined were global disasters. recent disaster trends:
third. Their causes and impacts are different, but they August China 373 2 Suggest why the number of disasters has increased, but • CRED – (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of
are created by similar weather conditions. the number of deaths has fallen. Disasters)
● Earthquakes were fourth, but the The worst natural disasters by number of deaths, 2005 and 2006 • The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster
3 Why should a costs of disasters and b numbers of
numbers were much lower than the top people affected have risen sharply? Reduction (UNISDR).
The total numbers of the most Is the world becoming more hazardous? Study the two world maps on page 11 and complete the 7 Survey the most recent natural disasters in terms of
three events. 4
common natural disasters which
● Landslides (including avalanches) were table at the bottom. a location of the worst events, b deaths and people
occurred in 2006, and the average What do you think affected, c value of damage caused, and d which types of
relatively few in fifth place. yearly numbers for 2000-2005 5 Suggest why Asia has the greatest number of deaths
from natural disasters. hazards cause the most damage.
● Volcanoes were lower still in sixth place.
450 8 Write 500 words about the ways in which your findings
398 395 are a similar to and b different from this chapter.
Which hazards have the worst 400 Average 2000–2005
impacts? 350 2006 Examples of countries and hazards that
Pattern Explanation for this pattern
they face
Floods and windstorms may be greatest in 300
The number of disasters is high
number, but do they cause the most deaths 250 226 and the number of victims per
or create the most damage? The data are 200 100 000 population is also high
complex but patterns do stand out: 150 The number of disasters is high
● Earthquakes cause occasional major 106 but the number of victims per
damage, but there is no upward trend. 66 100 000 population is low
50 32 31 23 23 30 20 19
● Damaging floods are increasing, but not 11 5 10 17 9 The number of disasters is low
3 1
0 but the number of victims per
consistently so.

pe eme







(in /surg

tsu uding

100 000 population is high




● Damaging windstorms are also increasing,

tem Extr





though again not always consistently.


12 13

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1.4 Hazards and vulnerability - 1 1.4: Hazards and vulnerability

In this unit you’ll look at the idea of vulnerability and why hazards

2006 0.11%
Comparing four earthquakes
affect people and places in such different ways.
15.31% Armenia, San Francisco, Central
7.47% Location Bam (Iran),
1988 1989 Location California,
How significant are natural hazards? Earthquake strength Both 6.9 on Richter scale
There are no data for deaths from hazard events globally, only for those 74.20% Number killed 25 000 63 Earthquake strength Both 6.5 on Richter scale
events which are large enough to be called disasters. Although numbers Number injured 300 000 3500 Number killed 26 000 2 killed
vary considerably from year to year, on average fewer than 100 000 deaths 0.05% 10.55%
Number injured 250 000 very few
are recorded each year from natural disasters worldwide. This is: 2.16%
● 30 times fewer than the number who die from HIV/AIDS
● 35 times fewer than the number of road deaths 2000–2005
● 50 times fewer than the number of smoking-related deaths.
Key [A/w83.70%
Perhaps we are too concerned about hazards and disasters and the threats Asia
they represent. Europe
However, what makes disasters interesting for geographers is that their
impacts vary enormously between places. Asia dominates by far. This
Oceania [Photo 1.4a]
suggests that some places are more vulnerable than others to natural
disasters. The percentage of people killed by natural disasters [Photo 1.4b]
by continent in 2006, and as an average for 2000-2005
People at risk – hazard vulnerability
While disasters may result from natural processes, they vary hugely in the The Bam earthquake in Iran destroyed the city

ways in which they affect people – some people are more vulnerable to Nagata is the home of the burakumin, Look at the two tables above, which contrast four
their effects than others. In 1976, an earthquake occurred near Guatemala Japan’s untouchable caste. It is packed earthquakes. Each table illustrates how, when disasters
City. Upper- and middle-class areas of the city were unaffected. Slum The central California earthquake in the USA destroyed several buildings
with grimy rubber factories and iron occur, the effects are most felt by vulnerable people.
areas, by contrast, were destroyed. In total, 22 000 people died, almost all works, and the houses are almost all The people of Armenia and Iran were more vulnerable
of them urban poor. This illustrates the concept of a ‘class-quake’, i.e. that old, timber and wattle constructions. than those in California, because less money was available to spend in
hazards can be unequal in the way that they affect people. Of 10 000 homes destroyed, over those countries on protecting people from poorly constructed collapsing ● Hazard vulnerability is the capacity

3000 were burned to the ground. buildings – the biggest cause of death. of a person or group to anticipate, cope
Richer countries have vulnerable populations too … Nishinomiya was also an area of with, resist and recover from the impact
Hazard researchers measure hazard vulnerability, using this disaster of a natural hazard.
In 1995, the city of Kobe suffered Japan’s worst earthquake for 70 years. By desolation. Few buildings were not a
risk formula:
global standards, its death toll was low – about 5500 – but it showed how victim of collapse or fire.
vulnerable some of Japan’s people were to hazards, as the panel on the A. Norton, writing about the Kobe Hazard (H) x Vulnerability (V) [Photo 1.4c]
Disaster risk (D) = ----------------------------------
right explains. earthquake Capacity (C)
For any hazard event, its impacts are the result of people’s vulnerability,
not the strength of the hazard itself. Vulnerability is based on 3 factors:
● Over to you ● On your own ● Vulnerable people do not live in dangerous places because they want
to; they do so because they have to. Land may be cheaper there, or
1 In pairs, research one of the pairs of earthquakes 4 Define these terms in your own words: hazard
unwanted by others.
opposite to find out how and why the impacts were vulnerability, the disaster risk equation.
● Vulnerable people cannot afford to build well, even if building
so different. Produce a display or PowerPoint to Exam question: Why do similar kinds of hazards have
different impacts in different places? Use examples in
regulations are enforced. In Kashmir’s 2005 earthquake, lack of
illustrate your findings.
2 How far does your research illustrate the disaster risk your answer. (10 marks) building regulations was not the cause of building collapse, but too
equation? few inspectors were employed to enforce them. Buildings that did
A shanty town in Mumbai, India, during the monsoon.
3 In class, discuss whether disasters are ever natural, or comply – in the wealthiest areas – were less affected.
Similar hazards have different impacts in different Rising land values have forced the poorest people into
whether they are almost always human. ● Rapid urbanisation has forced the poor into high-risk areas of cities, high-risk environments like this.
places. Does it matter?
particularly in developing countries.
What do you think

14 15

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Hazards and vulnerability - 2 1.4: Hazards and vulnerability

The Boxing Day tsunami, 2004 The tsunami horror


3 India
The impacts of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami The south-east coast of the mainland, especially Tamil Nadu, Most people remember when they first saw film of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, showing
was worst affected. Up to 140 000 people were displaced. In the holidaymakers and locals watching the sea retreating an abnormal distance – and then its
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, salt water contaminated freshwater return towards the shore as a wall of water – realizing only at a late stage how huge the
sources and destroyed arable land. Most of the Islands’ jetties were returning waves were. It rates as one of the world’s worst disasters. Its scale was rare – of
also destroyed. a kind that occurs about once in every 100 years.
Countries affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami
Tsunami occur where:
5 Somalia 4 Thailand ● earthquakes measure more than 6.5 on the Richter scale
This was the worst-hit N The west coast was ● the earthquake’s focus is shallow beneath the Earth’s surface
African country, with [A/w 1.4c] severely hit, including ● the focus is also beneath the ocean.
3 11
damage concentrated 6 islands and tourist
The earthquake that caused the Boxing Day tsunami was estimated at between 9.0 and 9.3
in the tip of the Horn 4 resorts near Phuket, so
on the Richter scale, and was over 100 times stronger than the one which caused the Kobe
of Africa. Homes and the death toll included
2 earthquake in 1995. The thrust heaved the floor of the Indian Ocean towards Indonesia
boats were destroyed 5 Banda 1700 foreigners from 36
7 Aceh 8 by about 15 metres, and, in so doing, sent out shock waves. Once started, these radiated
and freshwater wells 12 Indian countries.
Sumatra out in a series of ‘ripples’, moving almost unnoticed across oceans until they hit land. The
and reservoirs were Ocean
9 10 1 longer and shallower the coastal approach, the more the ripples built up height. The waves
contaminated. Up to
1 Indonesia that struck the shallow coastline near Banda Aceh (only 15 minutes from their origin),
30 000 people were 0 2000 Western Sumatra, the and parts of Sri Lanka, were nearly 17 metres high on impact. By contrast, islands in the
displaced. Km
closest inhabited area Maldives experienced a four-metre high sea swell, rather than a crashing wall of water.
to the earthquake’s
12 Kenya 7 Maldives 2 Sri Lanka epicentre, was The tsunami wall of water hitting Ao Nang, Thailand
Kenya was one of the Of the 199 inhabited The second worst devastated by the
few affected countries to islands, 20 were affected country – the tsunami. Up to 70%
be warned and to take destroyed. The southern and eastern of some coastal
some action, so many shallowness of the water coastlines were ravaged, populations were
people were able to limited the tsunami’s with homes, crops and killed or missing. Up to
escape the coastal areas destructive power but fishing boast destroyed. 400 000 people were
as a result – and only flooding was extensive. 400 000 people lost displaced.
one person was killed. A sea wall protecting their jobs.
the capital Male
prevented half the city
being destroyed. Many
luxury tourist resorts Country affected Dead and missing [Photo 1.4d]
were badly damaged 1 Indonesia 236 169

– affecting the economy 2 Sri Lanka 31 147

of the country, which 3 India* 16 513

4 Thailand 5395
depends on tourism.
5 Somalia 150
6 Burma 61
7 Maldives 82
8 Malaysia 68
9 Tanzania 10
10 Seychelles 3
The distribution of dead and missing 11 Bangladesh 2
12 Kenya 1
* including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Total 289 601

16 17

913482_ch_01 indd.indd 16-17 26/11/07 11:35:37

Hazards and vulnerability - 3 6.1: Why rebrand Doncaster?
[Photo 1.4g]

Sri Lanka – who died in the 2004 ● whether they belonged to a fishing

No. of deaths 560 family (15% of deaths).
tsunami? Jaffna N
No. of deaths 2640 No. of missing 63
No. of injured 1020 ● whether they had lower educational
Sri Lanka was the second most seriously No. of missing 540
affected country after Indonesia, with over No. of injured 541 qualifications. Those with higher
30 000 deaths, 5700 people missing, and educational qualifications were 20% less
No. of deaths 3000
861 000 people displaced. No. of missing 1300 likely to die if educated to secondary
No. of injured 2500 level, and 60% less likely if educated to
One survey carried out in March 2005 in [A/w 1.4b] university level. University educated
part of Ampara (an eastern coastal district No. of deaths 4 people earn more and could afford to
of Sri Lanka), by Nagasaki University of No. of deaths 4 No. of missing 2000 live away from high-risk locations.
Japan, found that the most vulnerable No. of missing 0 No. of injured 169
● whether they earned lower incomes. In
No. of injured 0
people had suffered the most. This area Trincomalee Ampara, 15 000 rupees (US$150) per
had previously experienced rapid coastal No. of deaths 947
No. of missing 327
month is a high wage. Most deaths
urbanisation. Its economy was also based No. of injured 0 occurred in households earning 1–2999
Replacement housing on the ● Over
on tourism and subsistence fishing, which
Gampaha and 3000–5999 rupees, with few deaths coast of Ampara nearly three years
to you
left it vulnerable to the tsunami. No. of deaths 7 Batticaloa
SRI LANKA No. of deaths 2264
in the highest earnings category. after the 2004 tsunami 1 Use the map to describe and explain
No. of missing 0
In this part of Ampara, out of a population No. of injured 0 No. of missing 1050 the pattern of those affected by the
How do other disasters compare?
No. of injured 1106 tsunami in Sri Lanka.
of 3533 (living in 859 households), 12.9% A similar mortality pattern has been
died. Of these: 2 Why was the east coast of Sri Lanka so
Colombo Ampara reported in other disasters to that found in the tsunami. much more vulnerable than the west?
● most deaths occurred during and No. of deaths 76 No. of deaths 10436 ● In both the 1999 Taiwan and the 1988 Armenian earthquakes, there 3 Explain why the following groups were
immediately after the disaster No. of missing 12 No. of missing 0
was a high mortality rate among women and young children. so much more vulnerable to the effects
● more than double the number of
No. of injured 0 No. of injured 120
● In the 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan, a high mortality rate was of the tsunami than the population as a
women died, compared to men Kalutara Hambantota reported among the elderly, especially those with physical disabilities. whole:
● 56% of victims were children No. of deaths 213 No. of deaths 4500 • women
No. of missing 48 No. of missing 0 However, previous studies on floods have revealed different mortality
● the elderly and disabled were more • children, the elderly and disabled
No. of injured 421 No. of injured 0
likely to die than young, healthy adults; patterns, and there seems to be vulnerable groups unique to each type of • those who were in buildings
15% of deaths were of people aged over Galle disaster. • those on low incomes and those in
No. of deaths 1205
No. of deaths 4101 No. of missing 404 ● In a study of flood-related deaths in Europe and the USA, middle-aged fishing occupations
50. 0 50
Km No. of missing 0 No. of injured 8288 • those with low educational
men were found to be most vulnerable.
No. of injured 2500 qualifications.
Other factors which increased people’s ● An Australian study reported that 80% of flood deaths were men. Risky
vulnerability were: The number of people affected by the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka 4 In pairs, devise a plan to educate
behaviour, such as trying to swim across rivers or using cars to flee,
● whether they were indoors at the time coastal inhabitants about tsunami, so
caused increased mortality. that future disasters can be avoided.
of the tsunami (13.8% of casualties). A couple stand in the remains of their home in Ampara, Sri Lanka. They have lost everything
they own to the 17-metre high tsunami waves 5 How would you persuade Sri Lanka’s
Women and children were more likely Environmental change and the tsunami government of the need to maintain
to be inside on the morning of the One clear factor has emerged from several countries affected by the – and not clear – its mangrove forests?
tsunami. Even compared with those on [Photo 1.4e] tsunami – the countries which suffered the most were those where the
● On your own
the beach or in the sea, people at home tourism industry has grown rapidly in recent years. Many coastal areas of
were more likely to die. Thailand and Sri Lanka have been cleared of coastal mangrove swamps 6 Research how mangrove clearance
● the quality of the building they were in, affected the impacts of the 2004
to make way for hotels and resorts. Mangroves act as a natural barrier,
either in terms of its structure or its absorbing wave power and creating a natural coastal buffer zone. Damage tsunami in Thailand.
location and exposure to the full force from the tsunami was noticeably reduced in coastal areas which had 7 How and why is education as
of the waves. 14% of deaths occurred important as tsunami early warning
maintained their mangrove swamps, beach forest and coral reefs.
in buildings which were completely systems in preventing similar
destroyed, compared to 5% which impacts in future?
Were some of the impacts of the 2004 tsunami avoidable? 8 Write a 500-word essay on ‘Those
occurred in buildings that held up well
who suffer most in disasters are the
or withstood the initial impact. What do you think most vulnerable’.

18 19

913482_ch_01 indd.indd 18-19 26/11/07 11:35:42

1.5 Bushfire! 1.5: Bushfire!

In this unit you’ll find out how How have bushfire deaths been reduced? Fire Officers inspect properties in bushland areas to assess

different strategies reduce some of The number of bushfire deaths has fallen steadily. The ‘Ash the risk and advise residents about burning. However, this
the impacts of bushfires in Australia. Wednesday’ bushfires in 1983 killed 75 people and covered strategy has its opponents. Environmental groups claim
400 000 hectares. Yet in the bushfires of 2006-7, only four that the frequent burning does not allow new seedlings
Australia’s bushfires people were killed. This follows a pattern in which even the to grow sufficiently tall and strong to survive a bushfire.
[Photo 1.5a] Eventually, they say, the forests will decline and die out.
Bushfires are part of Australian summers. worst bushfires, covering twice the area of those in 1983,
Every summer, warnings appear in kill only a few people and, in some cases, none at all. How
Education programmes
Australia’s national parks, and stories in has this been achieved?
People survive when they stay with their house during a
the media show the effects of bushfires bushfire. Now, instead of mass evacuation, people are
Two methods have been used to cut deaths and increase
from previous years to emphasise their educated about what to do in a bushfire, knowing that
seriousness. While bushfires cause evacuation is a last resort. Victoria’s Fire Authorities issued
significant property damage, with an Controlled burning
a poster to households and communities to educate people
average of 84 homes destroyed every year, Population increase in areas at risk of bushfires has given
about how to keep their properties at low risk from fire.
there are far fewer deaths now – averaging rise to a need for controlled burning. For instance there
A bushfire raging in the Blue Mountains near Sydney in November 2006
only 5 each year. has been a steady flow of people moving out of Melbourne People can also install protective measures for themselves.
to smaller country towns outside the city. Macedon, 70 In 1983, the Macedon area was devastated by the Ash
km to the north west of Melbourne, is one such town. Wednesday bushfires. The house pictured below was built
Background ● Ground fires – dry leaf litter and twigs catch light and The area contains Mount Macedon National Park, an area recently from timber left after the fires. The owners of the
the fire spreads through the undergrowth. of outstanding scenic beauty. The area is almost entirely house want safety from future bushfires and have adopted
How do bushfires start? ● Crown fires – where fire spreads through the forested with eucalypt species. several forms of protection, such as the sprinkler system.
Bushfires always attract attention because people think treetops. These are common in Australia’s eucalypt
they are started deliberately. This is true in less than 10% (or ‘gum’) trees, the resin of which is highly Now, local councils minimise the fire risk by controlled Fire protection installations on a house near Macedon, Victoria
of cases. The most frequent causes are: inflammable. This can actually benefit the tree; many burning – regular burning of leaf litter to reduce the fuel for
● carelessness, e.g. an outdoor barbecue or species of gum tree regenerate quickly once fire has the bushfires. This controlled burning is done every year.
cigarette end been through. Some produce seeds which only crack
● lightning strikes. and germinate after a bushfire. Should native forest be left to regenerate,
even if there is a fire risk to life and [Photo 1.5b]
● Spot fires – caused by burning embers landing away
However, once started, bushfires can be difficult to stop. property?
from the main fire and starting new fires in their own Probably only space for one photo
They spread in one of three ways:
right. What do you think now.
How fire spreads. Note the three different ways – ground fires, crown fires and spot fires.
● Over to you
1 Crown fire - where wind spreads the
fire through the crowns 1 In pairs, produce a PowerPoint of images of Australian
or tops of the trees
bushfires, using images from Google. Identify the areas
affected, the causes, and the impacts.
Direction 2 Should people move to areas where bushfires are a
of wind threat? Or should there be planning controls to stop
this? Debate this in class.
● On your own
4 Conduct research into El Niño and how it affects
bushfires in Australia. Find out a what El Niño is (Unit
[A/w 1.5a]
3.11 will help with this), and b the link between El Niño
and bushfires.
Small shrubs catch fire
3 Spot fires - where embers 5 Consider what the implications of controlled burning
2 Ground fire - where dead leaves, of fire fall to are for a plant growth, b local councils. Draw a table
twigs and small shrubs the ground
showing what the benefits and problems of controlled
catch fire
burning might be.

20 21

913482_ch_01 indd.indd 20-21 26/11/07 11:35:45

1.6 Why are some places hazard prone? 1.6: Why are some places hazard-prone?

In this unit you’ll assess hazard risks in your own Assessing London’s flood risk

area, using London as an example. Tornadoes apart, London’s biggest hazard

by far is flooding. The worst-affected areas
Tornadoes in the capital are close to the Thames, but others are
We often think of hazards as things that happen also at risk (see the map below). London’s
somewhere else. Tornadoes are associated with dramatic flooding has four main causes: [Photo 1.6b]
Photo 1.6a]
weather conditions in the American Midwest. Yet there are ● Prolonged rainfall, when surface run-off

over 70 tornado events in the UK every year. In December flows over impermeable tarmac and
2006, North London was hit by a tornado that was so concrete surfaces into drains, which
localized that it affected just a few streets in Kensal Rise. lead to sewers and then to the river.
In just a few minutes, roofs were ripped off houses, trees ● Sudden storms. London’s summer

brought down, and cars damaged or crushed by falling temperatures are the highest in the
debris. Amazingly – because it happened at lunchtime – no UK. Evaporation from the Thames
one was killed and there were a few minor injuries. causes huge amounts of moisture to be
transported to the upper atmosphere The Thames Flood Barrier, protecting the UK’s financial heart
The North London tornado on 7 December 2006, ripped the side off this – where it condenses and falls as rain, often in torrential
house in Kensal Rise thunderstorms. This causes a backlog of water in drains,
Does London deserve its own ‘hazards’
which, in turn, causes flooding.
Background budget for events such as flooding?
Tornadoes are more likely to form in the UK when cold ● Storm surges. These occur when tides are highest,

air moves rapidly south over warmer land or sea, and bringing incoming tides up the River Thames to the What do you think
What causes the UK’s storms and local
when there is a large pressure difference over a small point where they meet out-going river flow.
tornadoes? ● Exceptionally low pressure air, reducing the ‘weight’ on
area, dragging the air in more quickly. As the air moves Key
Tornadoes are uncommon in the UK, but the conditions south, the following sequence of events occurs: the sea and causing it to rise above its normal level. Area at risk of flooding
that bring them are not. Storms are brought by 10 metre contour line Clapton N
● As the air warms at the surface, it becomes lighter
depressions or low pressure areas, formed by circulating When these causes coincide, as happened in 1953, flooding Stratford
and starts to rise, making it unstable. can be extensive and damaging.
air around an area of low pressure. These draw together Elephant and West
● This sets up small convection currents, which rise Castle Ham Plaistow
cold winds from polar regions to the north, and tropical through the atmosphere, like gusts of wind. Looking to a hazardous future? [A/w 1.6b]
Stepney Canning
winds from the south. ● The Earth’s rotation causes the rising air to spin. Hammersmith Town
The map shows London’s flood risk areas, although the Wapping Canary
● The faster the spin, the more the air is likely to ‘touch Shepherds Whalf
risk has now been reduced by the Thames Flood Barrier. Westminster Rotherhithe
Bush Bermondsey
down’ on the Earth’s surface. This forms the tornado. Its purpose is to prevent incoming tides from flooding Chelsea
Kennington Greenwich
The weather conditions that led to the North London tornado the city when storm water may be flowing away. The Fulham
Battersea Peckham New Thames
Barrier was completed in 1982, but is now too small and Cross Flood
Stage 1 Cross section A to B Putney Barrier
needs replacing as sea levels continue to rise due to global Wandsworth
COLD AIR Warm WARM AIR warming. A replacement would be expensive – £30 billion Clapham 0 2
air rises Large cumulus clouds form along cold front or more – but the consequences of flooding a major global Km
N.W. wind as warm moist air condenses at boundary
direction Polar N.W winds Unstable air with cold air
financial centre such as London (earning 40% of the UK’s Flood risk map of London
Cold front become warmer as GDP) would be unthinkable.
A moving towards they move south and Cold front
London less stable ● Over
Cold air to you
e Assess any threats from global warming.
LONDON Stage 2 Cold front reaches 3 Increased heating and rotation forms tornado 1 In groups, produce a report about hazard risks in your f Prepare a hazards risk map for your area and assess
B North London as wind speed increases the social, economic, and environmental impacts.
area. Work as follows:
Warm air 2 The spin of the Earth causes rotation of winds a Use websites such as ● On your own
Warmer air over 1 Warm air rising to assess the flood risk for local postcodes.
London - Urban 2 Research the causes and impacts of the 1953 flood in
‘Funnel’ of tornado b Report on short-term weather events, e.g. floods, fog
‘heat island’
c Research geomorphic hazards, e.g. landslips, slumping. London and eastern England. Does it prove that
d Assess tectonic hazards, e.g. local land disturbances. London needs special flood protection?

22 23

913482_ch_01 indd.indd 22-23 26/11/07 11:35:51

1.7 Hazard hotspots - the Philippines [Photo 1.7a] 1.1: Why rebrand Doncaster?
New high res needed

In this unit you’ll find out about multiple hazards in two hazard hotspots: the

● 350 people died, including 77 in the lahars that

Philippines and California.
● Some evacuees died in camps, where they were
Most countries face some kind of hazard, but six countries ● Its northern and eastern coasts face the Pacific, the exposed to disease.
stand out as being the most hazard-prone in the world: the world’s most tsunami-prone ocean. ● 80 000 hectares of farmland were buried beneath ash,
Philippines, Japan, India, Bangladesh, China and Indonesia. ● It lies within South-East Asia’s major typhoon belts. In disrupting the livelihoods of 500 000 farmers and their
The first half of this unit focuses on the Philippines and how most years, it is affected by 15 typhoons and struck by family members.
its exposure to a range of hazards makes it an extremely 5 or 6 of them. ● Economic losses were US$710 million, mainly
high-risk environment: ● Landslides are common in mountain districts. agriculture and property.
● It sits across a major plate boundary, so it faces Pages 24-26 focus on how great a threat these hazards
significant risks from volcanoes and pose to the Philippines, their impact, and how well the Background
earthquakes. country copes.
Tectonic hazards
The Philippines lies on the boundary between two
tectonic plates, the Philippine and Eurasian. The
Area: the Philippines consists of about 7000 islands, Eurasian Plate is forced beneath the Philippine, creating
and is 25% bigger than the UK the deep Manila Ocean Trench, to the west. The plates
Pinatubo Population: 91 million in 2007 move in a series of ‘jerks’, producing an earthquake each
Storm Season:
June to November
Wealth: GDP in 2006 was US$5000 per capita; a time they do so. This kind of plate boundary is known as
Taal middle-income country according to the World Bank
[A/w 1.7a] Mayon Peak month: a destructive plate boundary, because one plate is
Bulusan August Landscape: mostly mountainous, with coastal destroyed beneath another.
lowlands; many people live and work on steeply
The most destructive volcanic eruptions occur along
sloping land Mount Pinatubo erupting in 1991, showing the massive ash cloud from
destructive plate boundaries. As the subducted
Canlaon the first eruption
Eurasian plate melts in the Earth’s mantle, the molten
Camiguin rock – or magma – forms a magma chamber. Some 80% of the world’s volcanoes occur along destructive
Mount Pinatubo’s volcanic eruption in magma becomes explosive, especially where it combines plate boundaries. Their explosive, damaging nature brings
June 1991 with gases within the chamber. Because these rocks three risks: the blast itself, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.
0 200 Mount Pinatubo’s eruption was the biggest the world have only just melted, they cool easily wherever they Pyroclastic flows consist of intensely hot blasts of solid
had seen for over 50 years. The volcano showed signs of come close to the Earth’s surface. Little lava is produced; rock and ash, travelling at high speeds at temperatures
eruption in April 1991, with steam explosions and minor instead, the magma solidifies just below the Earth’s of hundreds of degrees that burn and destroy on impact.
Earthquake intensity Tropical storm intensity
earthquakes. A 10-km exclusion zone was set up around surface and produces a solid cap over the volcano’s Lahars are huge mudflows generated when lakes within
Modified Mercalli Scale Saffir-Simpson Scale Pinatubo by government advisers, who eventually extended outlet or vent. Pressure grows beneath it so that, when the volcanic crater are released by the blast, or when the
Major Degree I–V One: 118–153 kmh the zone to 30 km – evacuating more people each time it a volcanic blast does happen, it does so with huge force. heat instantly melts snowfields around the peaks.
volcanoes Degree VI Two: 154–177 kmh was extended. Two weeks before the blast, they produced
Degree VII Three: 178–209 kmh Eurasian Plate Philippine Plate
a video outlining the risks of pyroclastic flows and
Degree VIII Four: 210–249 kmh Volcanic activity in
lahars. Philippine Destructive (convergent) plate boundary
Degree IX–XII Five: 250+ kmh the Philippines
Earthquake intensity zones indicate where there is a 20% probability By 9 June 1991, 58 000 people had been evacuated, The denser oceanic crust
PHILIPPINES descends and the less Volcano
that degrees of intensity shown on the map will be exceeded in reaching 200 000 by 12 June (when the first eruption
50 years. Eurasian [A/w
dense continental 1.7c]
sent a cloud of ash 20 km into the atmosphere, spreading Plate remains on the surface
Tropical storm intensity zones indicate where there is a 10% probability over South-East Asia within three days). The second Plate
of a storm of this intensity striking in the next 10 years. [A/w 1.7b]
eruption, on 15 June, was cataclysmic; a dome on the side
Deep ocean Continental
of the volcano collapsed, creating a pyroclastic blast and Oceanic trench crust
causing huge lahars. However, effective monitoring and crust
Subduction zone Rising magma
management reduced Pinatubo’s death and injury toll to
just over 4300 people.

24 25

913482_ch_01 indd.indd 24-25 26/11/07 11:35:58

Hazard hotspots - the Philippines Hazard hotspots - California

Other hazard risks Ever since 1849, when gold was discovered,

Some hazard risks in the Philippines are complex because California has been one of the most
they have multiple effects. One earthquake in 2006: desirable places to live in the USA. It
● killed 15 people, injured 100 and damaged or destroyed is wealthy; its economy is the world’s
800 buildings [Photo 1.7b] 6th largest, bigger than France or Italy!
● generated a local tsunami 3 metres high 25 Californian counties have per capita
● triggered landslides which breached the crater wall of incomes of over US$65 000 (about Key
Parker Volcano, and then fell into Maughan Lake … £35 000) per year, making them amongst Highest
the world’s wealthiest places. Yet the risk hazard (%)
● … creating a flood which washed away houses.
map on the right, showing the likelihood of
The Guinsaugon landslide 24–32
hazard occurrences, identifies California as
The Guinsaugon landslide in 2006. Filipino soldiers are recovering 16–24
Guinsaugon was a village in the central Philippines. In the USA’s most hazardous state. There are
the dead. The hillside in the background shows where the landslide
February 2006, a mudslide completely engulfed the village 0 600 8–16
came from. two reasons for this: plate tectonics and
and its land, covering 3 km2 and killing about 1150 people Km 4–8
The physical causes: climatic patterns, particularly those related
(see right). It was not unusual – a series of storms in 2–4
● There was unseasonable torrential rain; 2000mm to El Niño and La Niña.
Tectonic hazards grab the headlines, but 0–2
December 2004 killed 1800 people in the north-eastern
of rain fell in 10 days in February – normally the other hazards do the real damage? Lowest
Philippines. In 2003, 200 people were killed in landslides. Plate tectonics and California hazard (%)
dry season.
Typhoons and storms kill several thousand people there What do you think
● La Niña – a cyclic ocean and wind current San Francisco seems like a city living on the
every decade.
How serious is each hazard risk? A summary of hazard affecting South-East Asia – was probably the brink of disaster. Its residents know that it The San Andreas fault
impacts affecting the Philippines, 2000–2006 cause of the rainfall. lies along the San Andreas fault, where the
● A 2.6 magnitude earthquake Pacific Plate moves north-westwards past
Number Damage struck just before the slide and the North American Plate. The two move
Killed or made Injured
of events (US$) may have triggered it.
homeless in the same direction but the Pacific Plate [Photo 1.7c]
Drought 1 0 0 0 450 000 moves more quickly, thus creating friction.
The human causes included:
This is called a conservative plate
Earthquake 1 15 73 351 100 1 700 000 ● deforestation of native forest
boundary. The San Andreas fault is the
Flood 20 1785 1 374 248 67 25 110 000 cover protecting the soil. In
fracture – or fault line – between them.
Landslides 7 1704 235 341 142 9 200 000 50 years, logging has reduced
It runs along the Californian coast from Los
several million hectares of
Volcanic eruptions Angeles north to San Francisco. Other fault
4 0 195 496 0 4 790 000 forest to about 600 000 today.
(All Mt Mayon) lines run parallel to the major fault; San
● replacement of native forest by
Tsunami 1 0 0 0 0 Francisco is built over two of them.
shallow-rooted trees, such as
Typhoons and coconuts, further reducing soil These faults move regularly, causing
48 0 1 878 436 0 41 250 000
tropical storms
protection. earthquakes. In 1906, San Francisco was
destroyed in an earthquake measuring
● Over to you ● On your own 8.2 on the Richter Scale. It fractured Pacific North
gas pipes (which caused explosions and Plate American
1 In pairs, a research a factfile of about 15 socio-economic 5 Define the following words from the text: tectonic,
fires) and water mains (which could have Plate
indicators (e.g. GNP, literacy rates) for the Philippines destructive plate boundary, subducted, magma
from the World Bank website, b decide how developed chamber, vent, pyroclastic flows, lahars. prevented the spread of the fires). A
the Philippines is. 6 Research the impact of two hazards in the Philippines, further earthquake, of magnitude 7.1,
2 Draw a Venn diagram with three circles overlapping, e.g. a typhoon and a tsunami. Classify these in a Venn occurred in 1989. With its epicentre at
labelled ‘social’, ‘economic’ and ‘environmental’. In pairs, diagram, as you did with Pinatubo. Loma Prieta, it caused major damage and
classify the impacts of the Mount Pinatubo eruption. 7 Using the 2006 earthquake and Guinsaugon landslide deaths. Some buildings collapsed, while
3 Explain how successfully you think government agencies as evidence, explain why it is difficult to classify the others were badly shaken. Five years later,
managed the threat of the eruption. causes and effects of hazards. a further earthquake shook Northridge in
4 Study the hazard table and, in pairs, decide which is the 8 Write 500 words to show whether damage done by
Los Angeles (see the next page for details
most serious hazard that the Philippines faces, and why. hazards in the Philippines is mainly social or economic.
of both earthquakes). A fault line along a
conservative plate
26 boundary 27

913482_ch_01 indd.indd 26-27 26/11/07 11:36:02

Hazard hotspots - California 1.7: Hazard hotspots

Climatic patterns and California


● Date and time: 5:04 pm, 17 October 1989

[Photo 1.7d] California has a reputation as a state where the weather is always perfect, but it suffers
● Magnitude and location: 7.1; epicentre – Loma
higher res needed periodic changes which can be hazardous. Sometimes drought occurs and forest fires
Prieta in the Santa Cruz mountains
threaten, while at other times floods and landslides provide headline news. Flood risks in
● A magnitude 5.2 aftershock struck the region 37
California vary, but they coincide with El Niño; forest fires and drought coincide with La
minutes after the main earthquake
● 63 people died and 13 757 were injured (most were
killed when a freeway collapsed) In Australia, bushfires (see page 20-21) coincide with El Niño. How does El Niño have such
● 1018 homes were destroyed and 23 408 damaged different effects? Read more about El Niño on page 163 to understand this better.
● 366 businesses were destroyed and 3530 damaged
● The damage cost US$6 billion Background

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco

El Niño is part of a cycle of approximately 7 years, in which 1-2 years occur as El Niño years
and 1-2 occur as La Niña (see the table below). Each brings distinctive threats:
● During El Niño years, air currents move eastwards across the Pacific, bringing moist air
to South America and the eastern Pacific. The Californian coast is also affected by this
The 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles
current, which brings torrential rains – causing flooding and landslides.
● During La Niña years, the current reverses to move across the Pacific towards Australia,
● Date and time: 4:31 am, 17 January 1994
bringing moist air to Australia and the western Pacific. During this time, warm dry air
● Magnitude and location: 6.7; striking the densely
blows over California from the American deserts, bringing drought and the threat of
populated San Fernando Valley in northern Los
forest fires to California.
Angeles [Photo 1.7e]
● There were many thousands of aftershocks Comparing the
El Niño years (1-2 years in 7) La Niña years (1-2 years in 7)
(mostly of magnitude 4.0–5.0) during the following hazardous effects of
• Off-shore winds blow towards California from the El Niño and La Niña
weeks, causing further damage • On-shore sub-tropical winds blow towards
deserts of Arizona and New Mexico in California
● 57 people died and over 1500 were seriously California from the Pacific Ocean
• Dry warm air with little rain
injured • On-shore moist winds
• Increased drought
● 12 500 buildings were damaged; 25% suffered • Increased sub-tropical storms bring heavy rain
• Increased risk of bushfires (called wildfires in the
severe-to-moderate damage • Increased landslides result from heavy rain
● 9000 homes and businesses were without
electricity for several days (20 000 without gas),
and 48 500 people were without water ● Over to you ● On your own
● There was damage to several freeways serving Los
Angeles – choking traffic for 30 km 1 In pairs, a research a factfile of about 15 socio-economic 5 Define the following words from the text:
indicators for California (e.g. average incomes, car conservative plate boundary, fault line.
ownership); b decide how developed California is. 6 Research the impacts of two hazard events in
2 Draw a Venn diagram, with 3 circles overlapping, labelled
Dealing with earthquake threats California, e.g. a landslide and flooding. Classify
Why do wealthy ‘social’, ‘economic’ and ‘environmental’. Classify the
What if there was another major earthquake? The panels above show that in wealthier these in a Venn diagram – social, economic and
countries suffer more impacts of the Loma Prieta and Northridge
countries the economic damage can be great, whereas the impacts in developing earthquakes. environmental.
economic damage from
economies tend to affect people. To protect themselves, most Californians insure their 3 How do these impacts compare with those of Pinatubo 7 In 750 words, compare a the causes and b the
hazards, while poorer
property against earthquake damage. After the Loma Prieta and Northridge earthquakes, countries suffer more (see page 25)? impacts of hazards in California and the Philippines.
demand for insurance rose sharply. But, by 1996, it had dropped to below 1989 levels, and deaths and injuries 4 On a world map, draw different currents to show El Exam question: Choose either the Philippines or
has declined further since. Many people avoid the cost of taking out insurance. Insurers Niño and La Niña, and annotate the map to show their California and explain why it is considered a disaster
What do you think impacts on California.
despair about this – asking what people would do in the event of another earthquake. In hotspot. (10 marks)
San Francisco, people say that no earthquake occurred between 1906 and 1989, so why
bother with odds that low?

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913482_ch_01 indd.indd 28-29 26/11/07 11:36:10

1.8 The causes of climate change - 1 1.8: The causes of climate change

In this unit you’ll investigate the causes of climate change and global warming.

Some argue that it’s natural and long-term, while others blame recent human Greenhouse gases and their contribution to global warming
activities. Nitrous oxide (N2O)
Carbon dioxide ● Agricultural fertilisers, burning fossil fuels, and production
● Although only making up 0.04% of the Earth’s of synthetic chemicals (e.g. nylon) release N2O into the
Is climate change natural or human induced? atmosphere, CO2 is a major greenhouse gas. atmosphere.
The three warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998, and 19 of the warmest ● It is given off when carbon-based fuels are burned, ● N2O traps infrared radiation in the atmosphere, changing
20 years since 1980. e.g. coal and oil. Fossil fuels have increased to nitric oxide which destroys ozone and thereby allows
The problem with global warming is that everyone agrees that it is happening, but there is atmospheric CO2 by 25%. harmful ultraviolet rays into the Earth’s atmosphere.
fierce debate about how and why.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
● Not all areas of the world are warming at the same rate; rates vary between the two Ozone
● They were first used in the 1960s as propellants in
hemispheres. ● Found mostly in the troposphere – the height of
spray cans, foam plastics, and refrigerant fluids.
● Some areas of the world have not warmed at all in recent decades, while other areas which in the atmosphere varies between 10 and 25
● CFCs absorb solar radiation and contribute to global
km. It acts like a greenhouse gas but plays a vital role
have. warming.
in dispersing harmful ultraviolet rays, so that fewer
● Industrial areas are not warming as fast as more remote areas! ● In the 1980s, UK scientists discovered thinning in the
enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
● Are the changes natural or caused by human activity? ozone layer between 10 and 25 km above Antarctica,
● The warming effect of ozone is greatest at 12 km
probably caused by CFCs (in laboratory tests, CFCs
height, where most aircraft operate and where
The natural greenhouse effect were seen to destroy ozone).
pollution from N2O is greatest.
The driving force for weather and climate is the sun and its radiation. The Earth and its
atmosphere intercept this radiation – and about 30% is reflected back into space by clouds Methane
360 Carbon dioxide
● A minor gas but very effective in retaining

CO2 (ppm)
and by reflective surfaces such as snow. If this was the only factor at work, the Earth’s 340 concentration
heat. Since 1950, annual emissions have 320
surface would be 33 °C cooler than it is now and human life would be impossible. But 300
increased four times faster than the increase 280
some radiation is absorbed by the Earth’s surface, and some is re-emitted by gases known 260
in CO2.
as greenhouse gases, which warm the Earth’s atmosphere by 33 °C. This process is called
● Causes include rice production, burning 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 310 Nitrous oxide
the greenhouse effect, and is a completely natural process.

N2O (ppb)
vegetation, coal mining – and livestock
The greenhouse effect 290
flatulence from intensive cattle rearing!
Radiated 1750 Methane

CH4 (ppb)
heat concentration
● The enhanced greenhouse effect is 1500 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000
the increase in the natural greenhouse effect, 1000
said to be caused by human activities which 750
increase the quantity of greenhouse gases in The growth in different
1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000
the atmosphere. greenhouse gas emissions

Solar Increasing greenhouse The enhanced greenhouse effect nitrogen, which then combine with oxygen to form
radiation gases absorb and greenhouse gases:
heat The quantities of several greenhouse gases in the
[A/w 1.9a] re-radiate heat ● carbon combines with oxygen to form CO2 (carbon
s atmosphere have increased by 25% since 1750, when
ga Ca dioxide)
r rb industrialisation began in the UK. They have grown
ot on ● nitrogen combines with oxygen to form N 2O (nitrous
d enormously in the past 250 years, and are growing faster


and faster now. Since the 1980s, 75% of CO2 emissions oxide)




have come from burning fossil fuels. Most climate


heat As global temperatures increase, so too does the



researchers believe that this is leading to increasing global main greenhouse gas – water vapour. Increasing global


temperatures. The term enhanced greenhouse effect

ga s

temperatures lead to greater evaporation of water, which


is used to describe this situation. then leads to greater condensation. This causes increased
Human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and cloud cover, which then traps heat in the atmosphere.
deforestation, release natural stores of carbon and

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913482_ch_01 indd.indd 30-31 26/11/07 11:36:15

The causes of climate change - 2 1.8 The causes of climate change

Global warming – a long-term


Holocene Cosmic collision and volcanic emissions
process? A number of theories show the impact that volcanic
Global warming is part of a natural cycle 2 emissions can have on global climate, together with
Holocene maximum
of climate change which has taken place the impacts of meteorites or larger objects from space.

Change in temperature (°C)

at least over the last 18 000 years (as the The eruptions of Mount St Helens in 1980 and Mount
graph on the right demonstrates). Research 0
Pinatubo in 1991 released huge quantities of volcanic dust
shows that climate since the Pleistocene which blocked out sunlight and also caused increases in
period, which began 1.8 million years ago, –1 cloud cover and rainfall for 1-2 years after the events. But [Photo 1.9a]
has alternated between cold glacial periods Little ice age these events are irregular, and relatively small; the US high res needed
–2 Geological Survey estimates that, by comparison, human
– or ice ages – and warmer periods.
Possible explanations for why this might activities produce 150 times the amount of CO2 emitted by
have happened are: changes in solar output, Younger dryas
variations in the Earth’s orbit, cosmic –4
collision and volcanic emissions. Accuracy of weather recording
–5 Most weather data have been collected only in recent
18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0
Changes in solar output Years B.P. (’000s) times. In some parts of the world, records go back as far
Variations in solar energy have been known as the 1700s – but weather science and data collection
to occur for centuries. Solar energy – called have developed hugely in the last 50 years. The recording
‘Sun spots’ – works in cycles, so that the 1 of weather data is now much more accurate, together
Sun’s energy varies over short periods. It with more accurate forecasting. In addition, evidence from
is quite possible that these affect global weather observers and farmers shows that:
temperature. But a 2006 study showed 0.5 ● the European growing season – during which plants
Change in temperature (°C)

that there has been no net increase in solar grow when temperatures exceed 6 °C – has increased
output since the mid 1970s (during which Little ice age by 11 days since 1960
time global warming has speeded up), and ● spring begins 6 days earlier than it did then
that changes in solar output within the past ● there are more frost-free days
400 years are unlikely to have played a Medieval warm period
● butterflies have extended their range north.
major part in global warming.
–0.5 The same is true of Canada, where the most northerly The eruption of Mount St Helens in 1980 released huge volumes of dust
Variations in the Earth’s orbit limits of tree growth have extended further north. You will and CO2 into the atmosphere
According to one theory, known as the explore more about the effects of climate change in the
Milankovitch cycles, the Earth’s orbit –1 next two units.
varies every 100 000 years, with changes
in the Earth’s axis every 41 000 years. 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
● Over to you ● On your own
Years (A.D.)
These variations are thought to be the main
1 Draw an A4-size copy of the greenhouse effect 4 Define the terms from the text: radiation, greenhouse
factors affecting glaciation cycles. Think of Variations in global temperature in the past 18 000 years (top) and in the past 1000 years
diagram, and on it draw and add labels to show a gases, greenhouse effect, enhanced greenhouse effect,
the Earth like a wobbling top, so that every
greenhouse gases, b where they come from, and c Milankovitch cycles, deep sea core samples, volcanic
so often the axis changes, together with samples, which have laid undisturbed for millions of years, is that the which parts of the diagram they affect. emissions.
the position of the Earth in relation to the Earth has had eight glacial-interglacial cycles over 800 000 years, and that 2 Explain how your diagram shows an enhanced 5 How and why is it important to have accurate weather
Sun. In the past, this may have altered solar changes can occur quite suddenly. Within these broad changes are smaller greenhouse effect. data?
energy over some parts of the Earth by cycles – some lasting centuries while some only last for decades – which 3 In a table, summarise in two columns a evidence that
25%. The evidence from deep sea core might explain the variations in the graph. climate change is long-term b how likely it is that this
evidence explains current climate change.
Does it matter whether the causes of global
warming are natural or human?

What do you think

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1.9 The effects of climate change - 1 1.9 The effects of climate change

In this unit you’ll explore the effects of climate change on So – is it global warming?

Greenland, look at changing global temperatures, and discover Global warming is a fact. Temperatures are Annual average
how the world’s oceans may be affected as a result. rising globally and have increased by 0.75 °C 0.4 Five year average
over a period of about 150 years, as you can

Temperature anomaly (°C)

Warmer weather is good … isn’t it? Warming island see in the graph. The rise is not continuous; 0.2
‘If you’re a fisherman in Greenland,’ reported Melbourne’s On top of Greenland’s Suicide Cliff, from which old
it varies considerably, but the trend is
daily paper in 2007, ‘global warming is doing wonders for Inuit women used to hurl themselves when they upwards. The evidence from Greenland is 0
your business because the harbour no longer freezes over.’ felt they had become a burden to their community, that the rate of increase is getting faster,
The article reported a boost for tourism, offering the a crack and a thud-like thunder pierce the air. ‘We and is becoming exponential. Many –0.2
don’t have thunder here. But I know it from movies,’ predictions are being made about how much
56 000 Inuit inhabitants economic growth. Air Greenland
says Ilulissat nurse Vilhelmina Nathanielsen, temperatures will increase during the 21st
started a direct flight from Baltimore, USA, in 2007 to –0.4
while walking through the melting snow. ‘It’s the century. The Intergovernmental Panel
attract American visitors. One critic, thinking of the CO2 ice cracking inside the icebergs. If we’re lucky we
emissions that this would cause, named it ‘eco-suicide on Climate Change (IPCC) has created
might see one break apart.’ –0.6
tourism’. a number of computer predictions that 1860 1880 1890 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000
It’s too early in the year to see icebergs crumple suggest global increases of between 1.1 °C Year
Since 1975, the area of Greenland’s ice sheets melting each regularly, but the sound is a reminder. and 6 °C by 2100.
Trends in global
summer has increased by 30%. Now, Greenland’s ice cap is
As politicians squabble over how to act on climate Temperatures are not increasing at the same rate everywhere. Some parts of the world temperature since the 1850s
losing 100-150 km3 of ice every year, a volume greater than change, Greenland’s icecap is melting faster than
all the melt water from the Alps. It is retreating further and are warming more quickly than others, as you can see from the map. Researchers in
scientists had thought possible. A new island in
faster than many experts had predicted. Tasmania, Australia, found that average winter temperatures had risen by 1.5 °C and Why do ‘politicians
East Greenland is a clear sign of how the place is
changing. It was dubbed Warming Island by US summer temperatures by 2 °C. Its sea temperatures were different, increasing by about squabble over how to
Research by glaciologists, has shown that, since 1992, explorer Dennis Schmitt when he found in 2005 0.8 °C. The map shows how, globally, the variations are even greater; it compares the act on climate change’?
on Greenland’s ice caps: that it had emerged from beneath the ice. world between 1995 and 2004 with the 40-year average between 1940 and 1980.
What do you think
● winter temperatures are 5 °C higher
Adapted from The Age, June 2007 As you saw in Unit 1.8, there is a great debate about the extent of global warming, and
● spring and autumn temperatures are 3 °C higher
especially its causes. In the last 40 years, temperatures have certainly increased. But if we
● ice is melting faster each year
take a longer time period, e.g. 110 years, temperatures have risen and fallen in cycles over
● ice sheets are moving from mountains to the ocean
that time. The increase in temperatures between 1900 and 1940 was just as great as it is
more quickly. One has doubled its speed to about (Left) The extent of the annual ice melt in Greenland in 1992 and 2005 now.
15 km a year since 1995, while its tip (the glacier
(Right) The extent of the annual ice melt in Jakobshavn, Greenland,
snout) has retreated 10 km. 1850-2003
Ice is, therefore, moving faster towards the sea, and
melting more quickly as it does so.

[A/w 1.8b]

[Photos 1.8a [Photo 1.8b]

high res needed high res needed
Variations in global temperature
Temperature anomaly (°C)
change, 1995–2004 – when
compared with the average
–2 –1.5 –1 –0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 between 1940 and 1980

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The effects of climate change - 2 1.9: The effects of climate change

The impact on the world’s oceans Increasing river flow


Freshwater flowing into the Arctic Ocean from rivers Pacific

The Arctic currently shows the greatest effects of climate change. These changes could Ocean
affect the global climate – and especially that of Northern Europe. comes mostly from the six largest Eurasian Arctic rivers
– the Yenisey, Lena, Ob’, Pechora, Kolyma, and Severnaya
Changing salinity Dvina. Together, these drain two-thirds of central and Kolyma
It works like this:
One of the reasons why the Earth is habitable is that northern Russia and include three of the world’s largest Lena

● In the far North Atlantic, the water is both cold and

Arctic Circ
oceans and winds help to distribute heat between its rivers. Their average annual flow of fresh water into the
very saline (salty), which makes it denser, heavier, Yenisey
warmest and coldest parts. They transport heat from the Arctic Ocean increased by 7% between 1936 and 1999. [A/w 1.9f] Arctic
and causes it to sink. Ocean
equator toward the poles. Winds blowing across the sea The increase in river flow is caused by warmer surface air
● By sinking, it draws warmer water in from the ocean
transport heat through the atmosphere and drive ocean temperatures, especially between November and April Ob’
surface above. This, in turn, draws water across the Pechora
currents towards the poles. The current of warm water – when these rivers would normally be frozen. Greater
ocean surface from the Tropics.
in the Atlantic is known as the Gulf Stream; its northern flow creates a significant increase in freshwater flowing into
● Eventually, this movement from the Tropics draws
offshoot is the North Atlantic Drift, which flows north the Arctic, and has the same effect as increasing meltwater
cold water up from the ocean bottom, ready to be Severnaya
past the west coast of the UK and so makes the UK’s – it could slow down or shut off the North Atlantic Drift, Atlantic
warmed again. Ocean Dvina
climate warmer than it would otherwise be for its latitude. affecting the thermohaline circulation and cooling the
As it flows, the ocean releases heat into the atmosphere, In this way a cycle is created.
whole of Northern Europe.
allowing sub-tropical plants to grow in the Scilly Isles off the The catchments of the six Eurasian Arctic rivers that empty into the
coast of Cornwall, 50° north of the Equator. Scientists have found that this pattern is now being Changes in the polar oceans Arctic Ocean
disturbed. More freshwater is entering the Arctic Ocean The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is one of the
As ocean water cools in the far North Atlantic, it becomes Earth’s most important natural absorbers – or carbon
as a result of global warming, which melts the ice and
denser and sinks to the ocean floor. This helps to form an sinks – of CO2 . Cold dense seawater absorbs CO2 , making [Photo 1.9b]
increases rainfall. Meltwater lowers the salinity, which
ocean circulation called the thermohaline circulation it an effective way of removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
decreases the density of the ocean, and slows down
– sometimes called the global conveyor belt (see the Natural sinks are vital, because they absorb excess CO2
the rate at which the ocean sinks. This affects the global
diagram below). and slow down global warming. But now researchers have
conveyor belt. Several researchers say that global warming
could turn off the North Atlantic Drift, which supplies found that CO2 sinks have stayed the same since 1981,
Europe with warm water and air. If it stopped, January even though CO2 emissions have risen by 40%. This might
● The thermohaline circulation is the flow of warm and
cold water that circulates around the world’s oceans. temperatures in Western Europe would drop by at least increase CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
5 °C, creating bitter winters. The cause is thought to be increasing windiness. Climate
change warms the tropics more than the Southern Ocean,
Heat release and the temperature difference causes stronger winds. As
to atmosphere
winds increase, the ocean is stirred up, and CO2 that would
normally stay there is released into the atmosphere.
Storminess in the Southern Ocean – and it could get worse.
[A/w 1.9e]
● Over to you
Pacific b How serious would the consequences be if this
Ocean 1 Study the graph and map on page 35. How could they be happened?
used to show a that global warming is definitely here to ● On your own
stay, or b that it is far from certain?
Indian 2 In pairs, draw a sketch map of the Arctic and its 4 Define the terms from the text: exponential, IPCC,
Ocean Warm surface saline, thermohaline circulation, global conveyor belt,
current surrounding landmasses. Annotate it to show a why the
Arctic is becoming less saline, b why increasing river flow North Atlantic Drift, carbon sinks.
Cold saline is occurring, and c how this might affect the North Atlantic 5 Research the IPCC. Find out what its job is, who set it
deep current Drift. up, and why.
3 a In pairs, construct a flow diagram or spider diagram 6 Consider, in 500 words ‘Does global warming matter?’.
The thermohaline circulation, also known to show the possible consequences if the North Exam question: Suggest how melting ice in the Arctic
Heat release as the global conveyor belt Atlantic Drift stopped. might a bring advantages and b create problems for
to atmosphere people there and elsewhere. (10 marks)

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1.10 The impacts of global warming - the Arctic 1.1: Why rebrand Doncaster?

In this unit you’ll find out about the impacts of Fish stocks and polar bears

global warming on the Arctic and Africa. ea
Oc Bering The marine ecosystem has altered considerably as a result of Arctic
aci Sea
rt hP warming. It is difficult to assess the true impact of warming because so
The Arctic region lies within the Arctic Circle No
USA much commercial fishing of species such as cod has taken place. But the
(the 66.5° line of latitude). It consists of the ice sheet shrinking ice sheets have certainly affected marine species in the Arctic.
CANADA [A/w 1.10a] [Photo 1.10a]
surrounding the North Pole, as well as the northern Polar ice Warmer water has reduced the quantity of marine plants on which many
parts of eight countries – Canada, Greenland, Russia, sheet Does it matter if polar
smaller fish feed. In turn, the reduction in smaller fish species has affected
USA (Alaska), Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The those higher up the food chain, such as cod and halibut, which in turn Polar bears bears become extinct?
face extinction
area has an incredibly cold climate; January temperatures Ocean affects larger marine species such as seals. This has a negative multiplier What do you think
average -35 °C, and July temperatures -1.5 °C. Much of the effect. Smaller seal stocks reduce the available
Arctic is ice.

food supply for polar bears. A basic Arctic


ircl food web
However, increasing average temperatures are melting the e 66.5° The melting Arctic ice has had a devastating Polar Bear
Arctic ice. In 2006, NASA reported that the amount of Nort 1 4
h Atla 3 impact on polar bears. They hunt seals on the
ntic O 2
permanent sea ice decreased by 14% between 2004 and cean ice, and the faster annual ice melt has reduced
2005 – equivalent to an area three times the size of the UK their spring hunting season. Hudson Bay is now
UK. The rate at which the ice is melting has risen massively. ice-free for three weeks longer than it was in
Until recently, 80% of solar radiation was reflected from Key Key 1985, giving polar bears less time in which to Seal
the polar ice caps. Now the amount of ice has decreased, Arctic region 1 Iceland hunt the reduced numbers of seals. Female
and the area of open ocean has increased. Oceans are Tree line 2 Norway polar bears rely on the spring to build up their
darker than ice and snow, and absorb more energy 3 Sweden body fat to ensure their survival during the
– converting it to heat. This speeds up the warming effect, 4 Finland summer when the ice they hunt on recedes Larger fish e.g cod
The Arctic region
which melts more ice and creates a vicious cycle, called the naturally. Currently, each animal loses 80 kg
positive ice albedo feedback. of fat during the longer summer, making them
● Albedo is the amount of solar radiation reflected by Small fish
At current rates, 50-60% of Arctic ice will be lost by 2100. susceptible to disease, and reducing their
the Earth’s surfaces. Ice and snow (light coloured surfaces) ability to reproduce or feed their cubs. Now
One theory suggests that it could disappear entirely by reflect most, and dark rock surfaces reflect least.
Lobster and crabs
2070. they face the danger of complete extinction.

Impacts on the environment Socio-economic impacts

The positive ice albedo feedback Zooplankton
Increasing temperatures have led to: Global warming poses social and economic
● the tree line (the edge of the habitat within which Less solar radiation threats to the 155 000 Inuit living in the Arctic
trees will grow) moving north, and also to higher There is less is reflected away, region. Global warming is disrupting their Phytoplankton
altitudes. ice cover in the and more is lifestyles, which are adapted to the cold but predictable climate in the
● tundra ecosystems in Arctic areas (which withstand Arctic region. absorbed by the Arctic. The impacts include the following: 4000
intense cold) being lost as the climate warms and ocean. ● Each winter Inuit men take their fishing shacks and equipment on to 3500
other plants take over. the ice for three months. Now the weaker and thinner sea ice collapses

Number of households
● permanently frozen ground (or permafrost) easily, making it more dangerous.
thawing out. ● The ice used to protect Inuit villages along the coast. However, coasts 2500
● the spread of species such as the spruce bark beetle in are now exposed to more ocean waves and storms, causing the 2000
Alaska – changing the food chain. destruction of entire villages, and forcing people to move further inland. 1500
● increases in the number and extent of northern A greater ● 24 Inuit villages in Alaska are now threatened by flooding.
The ice melts at a 1000
coniferous (or boreal forest) fires in Arctic Russia. quantity of heat is ● 80% of Inuit still hunt caribou, fish, and marine mammals – all of which
faster rate. 500
10 million hectares burn each year, losing 0.8% of the produced. are declining in numbers. As marine stocks decline, the Inuit rely more
world’s coniferous forest. Boreal ecosystems account on hunting caribou for income, which in turn places greater pressure 0
Paid Hunting/ Crafts Trapping
for 37% of the world’s carbon pool on land, and are on caribou stocks. 70% of Inuit income is from paid employment or employment fishing
effective carbon sinks. hunting, so declining stocks hit Inuit incomes hard.
The distribution of Arctic employment

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The impacts of global warming - the Arctic The impacts of global warming - Africa

Socio-economic impacts There are 55 countries in Africa. In 2007,


Too much or too little rain

continued... two-thirds of them were among the world’s can be a matter of life or
Trends in the African climate during the
Environmental change creates further fifty poorest countries. Their average per death in Africa.
twentieth century
capita income was US$0.72 a day. 34% of Oxfam, 2006
problems. Caribou and marine animals
provide vital nutrition for the Inuit. the population aged 15-24 was illiterate.
Many African economies are on the edge of 150 Rainfall above or below average
Together, caribou, seal, narwhal, fish, and
walrus provide over 90% of their food, and collapse through international debt. Now, 100
reductions in their numbers are dangerous Photo 1.10b on top of everything else, they face the
for Inuit lifestyles – especially as a high impacts of global warming.

protein intake is needed to cope with the 0
cold. Imported food is expensive. Clyde The evidence for global warming
River settlement on Baffin Island has 450 Africa is steadily warming. The continent
residents, who eat 100 tonnes of seal meat as a whole is 0.5 °C warmer than it was –100

annually. To import replacement food in 1900. However, temperatures have –150

increased more in the interior – some 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990
would cost US$1 million, and provide less
iron, magnesium, and calcium than the inland areas of Africa have experienced
natural diet. double the global increase. In Kericho,
Kenya, maximum temperatures have 1.5 Temperature above or below average
Bringing home a seal supper on Baffin Island increased by 3.5 °C since 1985. This has
● Over to you caused difficult conditions across Africa:
Are there any benefits from global warming? ● Droughts have become more common, 0.5
1 Research and design a short presentation on the issues
The melting ice creates some commercial advantages facing the Inuit, e.g. those living in Nunavut, a Canadian as areas which are already arid or semi-

for the Arctic region. The Northern Sea Route, north Inuit territory. arid become even drier.
of Canada, is the quickest way of travelling from Europe 2 In pairs, classify the effects of global warming on Inuit ● Rainy seasons are now more unreliable, –0.5
to the Pacific and Asia, but, until now, the ice has only communities. and overall rainfall is decreasing. –1.0
allowed ships to use it for about 6 weeks between August ● Rains are more localised. The rains that
Economic Social Environmental –1.5
and October. Now, tourist ships are able to visit northern Short- ended East Africa’s drought in 2005-6 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990
Canada, and 30% of Inuit now earn income from sculpture term were not widespread, and many areas Year
or print-making for tourists. In 2007, the North–West Medium- had very little rainfall.
Passage between Canada and the Arctic melted sufficiently term
to allow shipping through for the first time. Long- Why is Africa vulnerable?
term The northern Kenya drought of 2005-6: walking through a field
However, this brings problems too. Oil tankers have The clue to Africa’s vulnerability to global of dead animals – the image of the future?
negotiated Arctic waters for nearly 40 years, bringing oil 3 Draw a spider diagram to show the future of Inuit warming is its economy. Most African
communities if: a seal and fish stocks continue to fall, b economies are heavily dependent on
from the shores of northern Alaska. Greater frequency
tourist numbers continue to rise, and c sea routes agriculture. Farming is rain-fed and
and use of the passage north of Canada increases the risk
around the Arctic open up further. vulnerable to rainfall shortages. Water
of pollution and of oil spills in the Arctic. Now, Russia has 4 Discuss which you see as the bigger threat: declining fish
started to allow nuclear waste disposal in its Arctic waters is already scarce. The United Nations
stocks or opening up the Arctic to increased shipping.
Environment Programme (UNEP) reported [Photo 1.10c]
off the coast of its North Western territories, posing a
● On your own in 2007 that 14 countries in Africa were
further threat to the marine ecosystem.
5 Define the terms from the text: positive ice albedo suffering from water scarcity, and that 11
feedback, tree line, tundra, permafrost, boreal forest, more will join them by 2032. Rainfall is
negative multiplier effect. declining in the areas that need it most
6 Research the Arctic climate, using – areas with high annual totals are likely to or similar. Compare northern maintain or increase them, but the edge of
Canada with Greenland and northern Russia. What the Sahara (the Sahel region) is likely to see
challenges does the climate present for people?

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The impacts of global warming - Africa 1.10: The impacts of global warming

There are two problems: Global warming and debt


0 1000 ● The debt crisis is where many African

● As rainfall becomes more variable, competition for Km N One of the main reasons why Africa is vulnerable to global warming is countries have become so heavily indebted
water is likely to arise between countries, particularly Tropic of because of its debt crisis. For many decades, the debt burden faced by that repayments sometimes exceed their
when Africa’s largest rivers, such as the Nile, cross African countries has been severe. Many countries have now had these entire GNP.
national borders. debts written off – because the world’s richest countries (the G8) decided ● Cash crops are those crops sold for
● As scarcity increases, so does dependence on poor- [A/w 1.10f] to cancel them in 2005 (by mid-2007, 18 countries had had their debts income, rather than one’s own food supply.
quality sources. This leads to increased water-borne written off ). However, the burden of debt still affects the majority of ● Desertification is the way in which

diseases, such as cholera, which puts pressure on health African countries. climate change and over-grazing turn
Key previously fertile land into desert.
care systems, and therefore on government budgets.
mm per year Equator One of the few ways in which African countries can reduce their debt is to ● Food security is the extent to which
No data increase overseas trade, mainly through the production of cash crops.
Physical and human impacts a country can rely upon food supplies, e.g.
0–100 This has led to forest clearance for commercial farming. upon the weather, or, if unable to grow all
Many of the impacts on Africa are physical. Africa contains 101–200 its food, the extent to which it can pay for
about 20% of all known species of plants, mammals, and 201–400 Oxfam believes that global warming is likely to result in even greater forest
imports to feed itself.
birds, as well as 17% of amphibians and reptiles. As global 401–600 clearance. They argue that harsher weather conditions, such as drought,
Tropic of will expose soils to erosion by wind. This will place more pressure on
warming increases, fragile habitats may not survive and 601–1000
between 20-50% of species in Africa could face extinction. 1001–2000 existing land to grow food. Such pressure (e.g. over-grazing) often leads
2001–3000 to an increase in desertification. Famine and malnutrition will increase, Africa’s vulnerability to climate change
Many low-lying coastal countries in Africa are vulnerable placing Africa’s food security under threat.
to sea level rise – with cities, roads and infrastructure at N
risk from flooding and increased erosion. Already, the Annual rainfall
in Africa Key
low-lying sandy coastlines of Ghana, Togo and Benin are Desertification Loss of forest quality North Africa
suffering greater erosion from increased storminess and Sea level rise Degradation of woodlands
human interference, such as port development and coastal How rainfall Key Reduced freshwater availability Coral bleaching
defences. Other parts of Africa are also affected. is predicted Drop by 10–20% Cyclones Spread of malaria
to change by West Africa
by up to 10% Coastal erosion Impacts on food security
However, the main impacts are human. 2030
Increase by up to 10% Deforestation Central
● The bottom map on the right shows that changes to Increase by 10–20% Africa East Africa
rainfall – even increases – can reduce the period in
which crops tgrow. In some parts of Africa, global 0 2000 ● Over to you
Km [A/w 1.10i]
warming may make rainfall more seasonal, with a dry
The impacts of 1 In pairs, draw a spider diagram to show the links
season that is just as dry as now, but a wet season climate change between global warming, changing rainfall and impacts Southern Africa
where rain may fall in heavier bursts. Only small areas on Africa N on the food supply.
show an increase in crops – the rest of Africa suffers a 2 Add to this diagram the influence that debt can have.
reduction in food supply. 3 In what ways a are African farmers trapped into Western Indian
● Malaria is also on the increase, as increased humidity poverty? b does global warming make this poverty 0 1000 Ocean Islands
trap worse? Km
and rainfall causes the mosquito (the cause of the
4 How might the increased likelihood of malaria impact
disease) to spread over wider areas. In South Africa, it is
on this poverty trap, and why? Desertification in the Sahel, on the margins of the Sahara
estimated that the area affected by malaria will double, [A/w 1.10h]
and that 7.2 million people will be at risk – an increase ● On your own
of 5.2 million. The health system will have to deal with
Key 5 Define the terms from the text: desertification, food
many new cases every year. As the infection increases, security, debt crisis, cash crops.
Affect on crop-growing
so does the number of people unable to work. time by 2050 6 Are the consequences of global warming worse for
Down over 20 % Africa than for the Arctic? Discuss this in 600 words.
Down 5–20 % Exam question: Why does climate change present
Should the countries which cause the most global warming
No change potential problems for the African continent?
pay to reduce its impacts on Africa
Up 5–20 % (10 marks)
What do you think Up over 20 % 0 1000
Km [Photo 1.10.d]

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1.11 Dealing with climate change: mitigation and adaptation 1.11: Dealing with climate change: mitigation and adaptation

In this unit you’ll find out how mitigation and adaptation strategies

Pro-mitigation Pro-adaptation A summary of the

can be used to cope with climate change. arguments for mitigation
• Emissions have to be reduced immediately if the • It will take time to get all countries to agree to and adaptation
world is to avoid irreversible climate change. reduce carbon emissions, let alone cease them.
Environmentalists believe that adaptation policies
Global warming – natural or not? What are the choices? waste time when the world should concentrate on
• The time taken to persuade countries to agree to
reductions means that climate change will get worse
There is a minority – some journalists, US scientists, There are two main approaches by which the world can reducing emissions. before it gets better.
industrialists and politicians – who believe that global deal with global warming – mitigation and adaptation. • Adaptation policies are supported by those who • Climate change is already happening (e.g. ice melting,
warming is caused by natural processes, not human activity. believe in the ‘fossil fuel society’, so that ‘business as sea level rising). This needs managing now.
● Policies which reduce or prevent further global warming usual’ continues. Unless this is challenged, change will
Most of these individuals or groups do not produce their never occur. • Even if all emissions ceased today, greenhouse gases
are referred to as mitigation strategies. These involve already present in the atmosphere would cause
own data, but simply comment on data produced by • Carbon sinks (e.g. afforestation) can be easily
reducing carbon emissions and finding ways of dealing change for the next century. CO2 has a life of 100
others. achieved, e.g. by government grants to encourage years, so any excess will be around for a long time.
with excess greenhouse gases. tree planting.
However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ● However, even if significant efforts are made to reduce • The Earth absorbs CO2 slowly, so even with
• Cutting emissions in the developed economies has increased carbon sinks (e.g. afforestation), it will take
(IPCC) believes that their evidence for climate change as a future carbon emissions, policies are needed to deal proved politically acceptable (e.g. public support time to absorb the excess.
result of human activity is overwhelming. They believe that with the current situation. It will take time to reduce for renewable energies), so more of this should be
encouraged. • Keeping greenhouse gas emissions at current levels
their evidence shows that: CO2 to pre-Industrial Revolution levels, because CO2 is unrealistic, given economic growth in India and
• Cutting greenhouse gas emissions in developing
● the increase in global temperatures since 1950 coincides has a life of 100 years. Therefore, the world has to China. The world must therefore adapt, because
countries is essential, as economic growth leads mitigation may not be achieved in time.
with the increase in greenhouse gas emissions since cope with the impacts that are already occurring. These to increases in emissions. This is not the case in
then. policies are known as adaptation to global warming. developed western economies, whose emissions are
now constant or falling. Should developed countries tell developing
● the changes predicted by scientists if greenhouse gas
The table opposite shows the arguments on each side. countries to cut carbon emissions
emissions continued to rise are now beginning to occur
– e.g. the melting of the Arctic ice. What do you think
● Mitigation of global warming refers to policies which
● natural processes could not have produced all the are meant to delay, reduce or prevent climate changes
changes taking place. Their data show that the speed caused by global warming – such as cutting CO2 emissions
of change taking place in Greenland is highly unlikely to (congestion charging, increasing renewable energy) and
have been caused by natural processes. Although there increasing carbon sinks (e.g. afforestation).
have been periods of natural warming before, none ● Adaptation to global warming refers to policies

have produced ice melt like those occurring at present. which are designed to reduce the existing impacts of global [Photo 1.12b]
The IPCC therefore believes that human causes must warming, such as protection against flooding and coastal
be to blame. erosion.

global warming
– increasing
renewable energy Adapting to
global warming
– protection
against further
[Photo 1.12a] coastal erosion at

● Over to you ● On your own

1 In class, divide into pairs and decide what you believe 3 Define the terms from the text: mitigation, adaptation.
the two strongest arguments are for a mitigation, 4 In pairs, research the evidence and design a
and b adaptation. Justify why you believe them to be presentation about the anti-global warming debate.
the strongest. A good source is by Christopher Monckton – search
2 As a class, debate the motion that ‘This house believes ‘monckton global warming’ at
that mitigation is the only way to manage climate Remember that he is a journalist and not a climate
change’. scientist.

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1.12 Global warming: which way now? – 1
In this unit you’ll explore options for the future, and consider

whether the world has already reached ‘tipping point’.

The future?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), [Photo 1.11b]
formed in 1988, is a joint organisation of the World 1 The A1 scenario – a converging world
Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Situation: There is rapid global economic growth.
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The IPCC The global population increases to 9 billion by 2050,
– more than any other organisation – collected evidence after which it decreases. By 2100, global GNP is 26
during the 1990s which showed that global warming was times that of 2007. A1b – technology
really happening. To do this, it: based on non-fossil fuel
Broad scenario: There is a rapid introduction of sources
● collected data about the atmosphere
new, energy-efficient technology. Global agreements
● observed sea levels and the extent of the ice at the
and globalisation enable social and cultural
poles and at glaciers in mountain regions 2 The A2 scenario – a divided world
international cooperation. There is a desire to reduce
● measured greenhouse gas concentrations (e.g. CO2 )
global and regional differences in wealth. Situation: There is a divided world, with reduced globalisation, and with countries
● used super-computers to try to predict what impacts
becoming more independent and keener to preserve their local identities. The global
global warming might have. There are three sub-groups, each predicting what
population continues to increase, and fertility rates slowly fall. Economic growth is
different ways of producing energy might do to global
Using its data, the IPCC has attempted to predict different regional, with little global exchange of ideas or wealth, so that differences in global
possibilities – or scenarios – regarding greenhouse gas wealth persist.
emissions. Its report in 2007 created four scenarios (A1, ● A1a – technology based on fossil fuels
Broad scenario: Technological change is very slow.
A2, B1, and B2). Each considers different possibilities about ● A1b – technology based on non-fossil fuel sources
how global warming might work out. Each is uncertain, ● A1c – technology balanced across all energy
but helps to predict the future by considering how resources
governments might act. 3 The B1 scenario – a converging world

Situation: This is similar to A1, with reduced global income differences. The global
A1a – technology based on fossil fuels
The estimated impact of the IPCC’s scenarios on climate change population rises to 9 billion by 2050, followed by a steady decline. The global economy
changes to a service and information economy.
A1a Broad scenario: Cleaner, more-efficient technologies are used in an attempt to
A1b solve issues of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. The global economy
A1c continues to develop, but tries to reduce global warming. By 2100, there is more forest
A2 than there was in 1900.
CO2 emissions

4 The B2 scenario – global social, economic, and environmental
15 sustainability

[Photo 1.11a] Situation: A global society is attempting to achieve progress at local levels, by
developing in small-scale ways at a local level rather than through large global
10 companies. The global population increases more slowly than in A2.

Broad scenario: There is lower economic growth and, compared with A1 and
B1, there are slower but more diverse changes in technology, e.g. those designed to
produce energy locally using wind or solar energy. There are attempts to achieve
2000 2020 2040 2060 2080 2100
Year environmental protection and social equality – but at local, not global, levels. As in B1,
there is more forest by 2100 than in 1900.

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Global warming: which way now? – 2 1.12: Global warming: which way now?

Too late to act? The Stern Review


What the IPCC and others fear is a sequence of events In 2006, the UK government published a review of global warming by Sir Nicholas Stern,
● The tipping point refers to a point beyond which the
which leads to irreversible change. They fear that the Earth cannot recover from the effects of carbon emissions, former Chief Economist of the World Bank. This was a landmark – for the first time, an
degree of warming could be so great that it would cause even with drastic action. important economist joined in a debate normally led by environmentalists.
shifts in climate belts which would be irreversible – no
The Stern Review focused on the impacts of global warming, and the actions needed
matter what is done now or in the future to control carbon
to deal with them. He argued that the problems of global warming could be reduced if
emissions. The point when change becomes irreversible Flooding in Florida in 2006
greenhouse gas emissions are stabilised by 2025, and then fall by 1-3% annually after that.
has been called the tipping point.
To do this would cost 1% of global GDP, because of investment in new clean technology.
Some scientists suggest that current rates of warming
mean that the world has reached the tipping point. Others
believe that the world has passed it. Some believe that we Key features of the Stern Review
have some time left. They believe that it is possible for the
Environmental impacts of global warming Options for change
problems of global warming to be prevented, but that just a
● Increasing global flood risk. ● Reduce consumer demand for heavily polluting goods
tiny increase in global temperature could have the following
● Declining crop yields, particularly in Africa, as climate and services.
catastrophic and irreversible consequences:
belts shift. ● Make global energy supply more efficient.
1 Rising sea level. Greenpeace estimates that melting ● Rising sea levels, leaving 200 million people ● Prevent further deforestation to balance carbon
[Photo 1.11c]
of the Arctic ice caps caused a rise in sea level of 10-25 permanently homeless in, for example, Bangladesh. emissions.
correct high res needed
cm during the twentieth century. In the twenty-first ● The extinction of 40% of the Earth’s species, e.g. ● Promote cleaner energy technology.
century, they predict further rises of 15-95 cm. 95 cm through the destruction of coral reefs.
UK government response
would result in large-scale coral bleaching, killing off
Economic impacts of global warming ● Set targets to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by
hundreds of coral reefs. This would not only threaten the
● More extreme weather could reduce global GDP by 2020 and 60% by 2050.
world’s most diverse ecosystem, but a 95 cm rise would
1%, e.g. from the costs of hurricane damage. ● Pass laws to set carbon reduction targets, and
flood huge areas of inhabited land. If the Greenland What is the point in trying to combat global ● A 2-3 °C rise in temperatures could reduce global monitor them.
and West Antarctic ice sheets (which hold 20% of the warming if no-one else does anything? economic output by 3%, e.g. by reduced crop yields. ● Invest in green technology, creating 100 000 new jobs.
world’s freshwater) melt, sea level would rise by 6
What do you think ● If temperatures rise by 5 °C, 10% of global output ● Create a $20 billion World Bank fund to help poor
metres, flooding, for example, a third of Florida, much of
could be lost. The poorest countries would lose >10% countries adjust to climate change.
Manhattan, most of eastern England, the entire country
of their output because they would lack the income to
of Bangladesh, and almost all of the Netherlands.
The rainforests of northern Australia contain 255 000 species. Would
pay for coping strategies, e.g. by storing water in large
2 Shutting down the Atlantic thermohaline 40% become extinct if increased global warming leads to reductions in dams.
circulation (see page 36 for thermohaline circulation). rainfall? According to the Stern Review (see opposite) they would.
Already slower than in the 1970s, there is a 50% chance
that this will shut down within 200 years. Bizarrely, this ● Over to you ● On your own
would actually make the land areas of Western Europe
colder, even though the process of global warming would 1 In pairs, decide with reasons which IPCC scenario: 3 Define the terms from the text: tipping point, scenario.
a is most pessimistic 4 Research the Stern Review and its findings; use the BBC’s
continue to warm the oceans sufficiently to allow further
b produces the highest levels of greenhouse gas news website ( for a summary. Prepare
melting of Greenland’s ice sheet. The current melting of
emissions a statement which outlines a its findings, b its best and
Greenland’s ice sheet is causing annual sea level increases [Photo 1.11d] c produces the most environmentally-friendly society worst scenarios, c the implications for the UK, and d the
of 0.02 cm. If global temperatures rise by 2 °C more than d produces the lowest levels of greenhouse gas emissions implications for the world if nothing is done.
pre-1750, Greenland’s ice sheet will melt irreversibly. e is the least polluting and uses non-fossil fuels Exam question: Write 500 words to explain why
f is the one you think the world should adopt international agreements are essential if anything
3 Falling agriculture yields and water shortages in
g is the one you think the world is most likely to adopt effective is to be done about global warming. (10 marks)
Africa, Europe, the USA, and Russia, putting the poorest 2 In pairs, consider the things that are most likely to make
200 million people in those areas at risk of starvation. 2.8 a the best scenario happen, b the worst. Present your
billion people will suffer water shortages for drinking and ideas to the class.

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1.13 Strategies for dealing with climate change - 1 1.13: Strategies for dealing with climate change

Carbon capture and storage

In this unit you’ll learn how individuals, organisations, governments and Can reductions be achieved?

Increased in retrofitted coal-fired power stations

international agreements can help to reduce the impacts of climate change. costs in Euros 50 Water
Greenpeace offer individuals the The graph shows measures which could per tonne of Solar
heating Nuclear
chance to take the train instead of flying reduce greenhouse gas emissions – but CO2
Can individuals make a difference? at a cost. Those below the 0 line have 0

a negative cost and are economically [A/w 1.13b] Switch from coal
Can you or I make a difference to global warming? Opinion –50
to gas for power
Sugar cane
polls show that, although most British people support worthwhile, such as insulating buildings and Savings generation
using energy-efficient lighting. Low-energy made in
action to control climate change, they are not always willing –100 Fuel-efficient Forestation
Euros per Lighting vehicles
to pay for it. In 2006, British Airways asked customers lightbulbs last longer and use less energy, tonne of systems
to offset (see page 52) the carbon emissions that their cutting both greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 –150 Carbon capture and storage
Fuel-efficient with enhanced oil recovery
flight would cause (£5 London-Madrid, £13.50 London- costs. Above the 0 line, reducing emissions commercial
–200 and new coal-fired power stations
Johannesburg); less than 1% of passengers paid. Similarly, in costs more (e.g. switching from coal to gas vehicles
2007 the pressure group Greenpeace offered train tickets [Photo 1.13a] in power stations), and results in reduced Insulation improvements
to domestic BA passengers, saying that their flight would emissions – but lower profits. The costs of cutting carbon emissions in different ways.
do ten times more environmental damage than the train.
Few people took the train.

In the music industry, Coldplay joined up with the

company Future Forests to make their second and third
albums carbon neutral by carbon offsetting. To offset
carbon emissions created during production, manufacture
and distribution of ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’,
USA N [Photo 1.13b]
Coldplay financed the planting of 10 000 mango trees in
Karnataka, India. The trees provide fruit for trade and local [A/w 1.13a] Two ways
consumption, and over their lifetime will soak up CO2 . For [Photo 1.13e] of reducing
MEXICO [Photo 1.13d] emissions:
their third album, ‘X&Y’, Coldplay supported a forest in
Chiapas, Mexico (see right). lighting, which
saves costs, and
solar energy,
If not individuals … then who?
which is more
Who, then, should pay for the impacts of global warming? 0 300 Chiapas expensive.
Km This is a solar
Private companies? Individuals? Governments? The people
thermal power
who produce the fuels that pollute (e.g. fuel companies)? station in the
Or the people who consume the fuels that pollute (e.g. Mojave Desert in
the motorist)? California, USA,
which generates
The 2006 Stern Review argued that global warming is electricity by
using mirrored
resulting from the failure of private companies to act, and parabolic troughs
also of governments to force action. Greenhouse gases, it instead of
concluded, are an economic cost that polluters currently photovoltaics
do not have to pay. Stern said that polluters impose
‘costs on the … world without facing the consequences’. Reducing pollution costs money. Either companies have to pay more, which is then passed
Therefore, paying for carbon is essential – if people have to on to their customers, or governments have to tax carbon emissions, e.g. on petrol.
pay for it, they may realise its importance. Neither approach is popular. Where companies and individuals are not keen to mitigate
[Photo 1.13c]
emissions, or to change their behaviour, should they be made to by law? The rest of this
unit looks at how well:
Coldplay’s carbon neutral third album, ‘X&Y’, ● different national and local governments are attempting to reduce greenhouse gas
funded forest development in Mexico
● global agreements about emissions can be made to work.

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Strategies for dealing with climate change - 2 1.13: Strategies for dealing with climate change

The European Emissions Trading Scheme more expensive. This will then encourage companies Carbon offsetting in action

(ETS) to sell credits they no longer need, and pay for cleaner
In 2007, the EU set targets for 2020 to reduce its technology. This is the theory, but … Example 1: Shell Example 3: London’s congestion charge
greenhouse gas emissions by 20% of the levels they were at … how effective is the ETS? Shell pumps waste CO2 from an oil refinery in Botlek What is it?
in 1990. To do this, it set up the ETS as a means of carbon The ETS has so far failed in its aims. (the Netherlands) into 500 greenhouses growing fruit ● Since 2003, drivers have been charged £8 per day to
offsetting. It set emissions targets for every country, and ● Manufacturing companies have been moving out of and vegetables, which: drive in the Central London congestion zone (during
gave 14 000 factories and power plants in Europe’s ‘dirtiest’ Europe, thus reducing the demand for carbon credits ● avoids annual emissions of 170 000 tonnes of CO2 the scheme’s operating hours). A new proposal is to
industries (electricity, oil, metals, building materials and and causing the price to fall. It is cheaper for ‘dirty’ ● saves greenhouse owners from burning 95m3 of gas charge £25 for larger vehicles, including four-wheel
paper) permits – or credits – to emit certain amounts of companies to carry on polluting by buying credits than to get the CO2 they need for heat retention. drives (emitting >225g CO2/km).
carbon. to change to cleaner technology.
● Polluters are not absorbing the price of the credits
The ETS aims to: ● London has the UK’s worst congestion. Drivers
● cut emissions by placing a limit on the total amount
– quite the reverse. To entice industry to agree to the
in Central London spend half their time in queues
emitted. ETS in the first place, carbon credits were given free to
– costing London’s economy £2-4 million per week.
● get polluters to pay for damage they cause by
companies. Yet, in electricity generation (the EU’s most- [Photo 1.13f] ● Every weekday, the equivalent of 25 motorway
introducing credits for the greenhouse gases that they polluting industry), companies immediately passed the
lanes of traffic enters Central London. In theory, the
emit. If their credit is more than they need, companies price of the credits on to their customers! According to
congestion charge encourages people to consider
or countries can sell it; if it is less, they can buy credits one report, UK power-generators alone made £800m
public transport.
from others to allow them to pollute above their limit. ($1.5 billion) profit from the scheme in its first year.
● By law, the income from the charge is added to
● The low cost of carbon credits is not leading to
● create incentives for companies to invest in cleaner London’s transport budget to improve public
technology. investment in green technology. Recent high gas prices
transport. As a result, since 2003, every London
have led to a shift to coal-fired power stations – the
Over time, the EU plans to reduce the number of bus has been renewed and the old heavily polluting
dirtiest sort. Carbon credits are so cheap that it costs
available credits to below the level of demand for them. buses have been removed from service.
less to change to coal and buy credits than to stick with
This will create a shortage which will raise the price at gas. How effective has it been?
which the credits are traded and make carbon emission ● Traffic levels are down by 15%, and congestion by
30%. Average traffic speeds are up.
Background Carbon credits come in two forms: ● Road traffic accident rates are down by up to 5%.
Example 2: Alternative energy in Brazil ● There has been a 12% reduction in emissions of
● Certified – These are international exchanges, which
Carbon offsetting NOx and CO2 within the zone.
aim to cut overall emissions, like the EU’s Emissions One sow and her piglets can produce 9 tonnes of CO2
Carbon offsetting is the name given to a credit Trading Scheme. Companies and/or countries are equivalent annually from the methane emissions from ● There is 60% less disruption to bus services.
system, called carbon credits, which aims to reduce given targets, allowing them to pollute a certain their waste. The effluent collects in lagoons which smell ● Retail areas inside the zone have increased sales
greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon credits allow amount. Trading is allowed between those with higher awful and sometimes overflow into water supplies. every year since the scheme began.
companies to pollute, but at a cost. Each credit costs or lower levels than they need. Now Bunge, a US company operating in Brazil, builds ● There has been no effect on the numbers of
money which polluters have to pay, and is in proportion ● Voluntary – These are payments or projects which lined, enclosed pools to collect the effluent and capture businesses starting up or closing down within the
to the pollution produced. The cost encourages offset emissions with equivalent CO2 savings. They the methane, which farmers then use to generate zone, compared to elsewhere in London.
companies to look for other ways of production by are used where people or organisations volunteer electricity. By preventing the methane from escaping, ● There has been no effect on property prices.
polluting less or not at all. to offset the pollution they create, such as Coldplay the company gets a carbon credit to sell on the carbon ● Income of £170 million from the charge was

whose tree-planting programmes work by removing market; the farmer keeps 25%. invested in London’s transport in the first 2 years.
● Carbon sequestration is where natural

processes, such as plant respiration, are used to offset emissions through carbon sequestration.
carbon emissions. Trees absorb CO2 and give out
oxygen, thus removing greenhouse gases from the

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Strategies for dealing with climate change - 3 1.13: Strategies for dealing with climate change

Example 4: Congestion charging

for New York?
Reaching global agreements; the 1997 Kyoto Protocol

In 2007, New York City mayor, Michael What is the Kyoto Protocol? ● Many developing countries signed up, but did not
Bloomberg, outlined plans to reduce ● A global agreement setting targets for reducing have to commit to actual figures – instead they report
emissions, including: greenhouse gas emissions. 175 countries have signed emissions levels annually and develop programmes to
● cutting greenhouse gas emissions by up. cut emissions.
30% by improving power plants. ● The EU will not meet its target of 8% reduction.
What are its aims?
To pay for this, $2.50 per month will France, Sweden and the UK have achieved it, but
● Industrialised countries are to cut their overall
be added to electricity bills. Spending Spain, Portugal and Ireland have made no progress.
greenhouse gas emissions to 5% below their 1990
$30 a year until 2015 will save every ● Many climate scientists believe that the Kyoto targets
levels by 2008-12.
household $240 a year after that. are much too low. Instead of a 5% cut in emissions
● The targets vary, e.g. EU countries are to reduce their
● planting 1 million new trees by 2017. from industrialised nations, they believe that 60% is
overall emissions by 8% (though the actual amount
● congestion charging in southern needed.
varies between member states) and Japan by 5%
Manhattan to tackle poor air quality,
(though highly industrialised, Japan is a low polluter The implications of Kyoto for the UK
raising $380 million in its first year to
because it opted for nuclear power stations a long ● A change from coal to cleaner gas-fired power
fund public transport. [Photo 1.13i]
time ago). A few with low emissions (e.g. Iceland) are stations has reduced emissions.
● forming a new transport authority
allowed to increase them. ● A renewable energy policy to produce 10% of
to fund public transport projects with
electricity by, for example, wind power is near to
an annual income of $400 million Is it succeeding?
target, although the UK is unlikely to reach its overall
from congestion charging and $400 ● Some countries delayed signing up to Kyoto, e.g.
target for renewable energy as a whole. It would be
million from New York City and State Russia only agreed to back the Protocol in 2004.
difficult to achieve more than this.
budgets. Traffic congestion in Manhattan, New York ● Some countries never signed up, e.g. Australia, the
● The government has taxed petrol more highly to
world’s second biggest per capita polluter.
However, these plans need approval from state government, and face try to cut demand. However, there were large-scale
● The USA, which produces 25% of global emissions,
opposition from some political parties and many motorists. protests about this in 2000 and the threat of others is
initially signed up to it but then withdrew in 2001,
often present.
following the election of President GW Bush.
● Big reductions in emissions can only be achieved with
● Overall, industrialised countries such as the UK did
● Over to you ● On your own energy conservation and a shift to low emissions using
cut emissions to 3% below their 1990 levels by 2000
nuclear power. However, opinion polls show that the
1 In groups, assess the successes and failures of schemes 5 Define the terms from the text: carbon offsetting, – achieved mostly by the collapsing economies of the
public are against a programme of new nuclear power
from this unit using the table at the bottom. carbon credits, carbon sequestration. former USSR countries. Emissions from other
2 In pairs, reach a rank order of which type of group 6 Research carbon offsetting – a its meaning, b how it can stations.
high-emitting countries actually rose by 8% in this
you think has been most successful in cutting carbon be achieved. Use period, and the UN says they are off-target and will
emissions, and explain why. 7 Research a the benefits and b the problems associated emit 10% above 1990 levels by 2010.
3 How far do these organisations prove that, in order to with building new nuclear power stations. Why are the
cut emissions, we need to ‘think global, act local’? public so against nuclear power?
4 In groups, debate whether Sir Nicholas Stern was right 8 In 600 words, decide whether you think new nuclear
to say that ‘pollution was a failure of companies to act power stations should be built in the UK. Who should pay taxes on pollution
and governments to force action’? - producers or consumers?

Organisation Successes Failures What do you think

Private companies (BA, Shell, Bunge)
Pressure groups (Greenpeace)
Individuals (Coldplay)
Local government (London Congestion Charge)
The EU Emissions Trading Scheme

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1.14 Energy use, efficiency and conservation - 1 1.14: Energy use, efficiency and conservation

In this unit you’ll consider strategies to combat climate change The CHP system is successful because:

through energy efficiency and conservation.
1 it is clean 3000

1,000 Tonnes
● There are low CO2 emissions from natural gas and bio fuels.
Stern Review – right or wrong? Combined heat and power in Copenhagen ● It includes a DeNOx system, which removes nitrogen oxide from 2000
It is easy to get caught up in the debate about whether Copenhagen’s CHP system supplies 97% of the city gas.
global warming is caused by human activities or not. with clean, reliable and affordable heating, and 15% 2 it is cheap 1000
However, that debate does not get us very far, and the of Denmark’s total heating needs. Set up in 1984 as a ● CHP is cheaper when compared with other forms of energy. Costs
2006 Stern Review (see page 49) says that what is most partnership between local councils and energy companies, have barely risen in 20 years, and annual costs for consumers are 0
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
important is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now. If it it uses a combination of: 50% less than with oil heating. Year
turns out that climate change IS the result of human-related ● waste heat from electricity production (normally 3 it is efficient Key
carbon emissions, then reducing emissions is the correct released into the sea or rivers but now taken through ● It wastes only 6% of the energy generated. Energy Traffic Waste
thing to do. If time proves that it IS NOT, then reducing pipes into people’s homes) ● The system is computer-controlled so that excess heat in one area Overall emission of CO2 in Copenhagen, 1995-2000
pollution is also good. Reducing emissions will cost money, ● surplus heat from waste incineration can be redirected to another area which needs it more.
but Stern argues that doing nothing will cost even more ● geothermal energy 4 tax incentives are given to producers
– and could even reduce global GDP by 10%. ● bio-fuels (wood pellets and straw) ● The Danish government gave tax incentives to the energy
● small amounts of natural gas, oil and coal. companies involved, so they pay less tax if they use CHP.
Up the chimney
By 2005, annual household heating bills in Copenhagen
Huge amounts of energy are wasted in the UK: were 1400 Euros less than if oil had been used for heating.
The UK’s nuclear question
● In even the most efficient electricity power stations Between 1995 and 2000, the city’s annual CO2 emissions Will the lights go out in 2023? That is the question facing UK electricity
– the biggest polluters – 65% of heat generated goes dropped from 3.5 million tonnes to 2.5 million. SO2 supply companies.
up the chimney. Some is also lost when hot water is emissions have also been cut by 33%. ● Cheap domestic gas supplies from the North Sea are running low, and [Photo 1.15c]
released into rivers.
overseas oil and gas prices have risen dramatically since 2004.
● Energy is also lost in electricity transmission over
● The UK government has to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% of the
1990 level by 2010. Relying on fossil fuels has to change if those targets
● At home, huge quantities of heat are lost through roofs, [Photo 1.15b] are to be met.
windows, doors and walls.
● In 2006, nuclear energy generated 20% of the UK’s electricity.
The following examples show whether energy conservation However, most of the UK’s nuclear power stations are too old to be
and reductions in carbon emissions can be achieved, both efficient and safe. Most were built in the 1970s, and some in the 1950s.
in industry and at home. All but one will close by 2023, and no new ones are planned. By 2023, Sizewell B nuclear power station in Suffolk
only 4% of Britain’s electricity will come from nuclear power – from one
station in Suffolk (Sizewell B on the right). The advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy

Nuclear energy is the most controversial of The advantages of nuclear power The disadvantages
[Photo 1.15a] all energy sources. People are concerned • Well-constructed nuclear power plants • Mining uranium is dirty,
about radioactivity from uranium (the are very clean. with added danger from
• Radioactivity is found in most rock radioactivity.
raw material used in nuclear energy), as
types, including coal. Because of the vast • Nuclear waste is radioactive
well as nuclear accidents and how to deal
amounts of coal used globally, coal-fired for many thousands of years.
CHP in Copenhagen with nuclear waste. The public in the UK power plants can actually release more • There is no known safe way
is deeply suspicious about nuclear energy radioactivity than nuclear stations. to store or dispose of nuclear
following nuclear accidents during the 1950s • Nuclear fuel produces vastly more energy waste.
Is Stern right – cutting emissions is than equivalent amounts of fossil fuels.
in the UK, the 1970s in the USA, in 1986 • Transporting nuclear fuel can
a win-win situation? One 2 cm nuclear fuel pellet of uranium be risky, particularly in times
at Chernobyl in the Ukraine, and in 2007 or plutonium produces the same amount
What do you think of terrorism.
Losing in Japan. The cost of dismantling nuclear of electricity as 1.5 tonnes of coal.
heat up the • Almost all nuclear accidents
power stations after decommissioning is • Nuclear fuel produces far lower can be traced to human
chimney? greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels.
also immense – the UK government admits error. No technology is ever
that it could cost £30 billion. mistake-free.

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Energy use, efficiency and conservation - 2 1.14: Energy use, efficiency and conservation

The future

Can renewable energy sources replace the UK’s nuclear However, there is a limit to the amount of carbon that BedZED – an energy conservation project
power stations and cut our reliance on fossil fuels? UK woodlands can sequester, and their contribution to solving
Households emit 27% of the UK’s greenhouse gases, BedZED – pluses and minuses
government advisors believe that: the greenhouse gas problem is small as a result:
and use 33% of the energy consumed. How can this be The diagram below shows methods used to reduce
● renewable energy can only supply 10-15% of the UK’s ● The UK’s woodlands remove 4 million tonnes of
reduced? Government research shows that it would cost domestic energy consumption. The total cost is £14 000,
energy requirements carbon from the atmosphere each year. This is quite
less to fully insulate every UK home than to build two but central heating systems cost over £5000. Other
● new nuclear power stations are needed to replace high because most UK woodlands are young and still
new nuclear power stations. The answer to the UK’s measures help, such as:
those using fossil fuels if greenhouse gas emission growing. As forests grow older, the rate of CO2 removal
energy problem is simple – use less. ● double-glazing, which cuts heat loss through windows
targets are to be met. drops.
by 50%
● However, the UK emits 150 million tonnes of carbon BedZED is a new housing development in Sutton, south
In 2004, the government started research into the design ● loft and cavity wall insulation, which cut heat loss from
each year, mainly from fossil fuels. London, which attempts to be carbon-neutral. The
and development of new nuclear power stations. Building walls and roofs by 33%
● Therefore, less than 3% of the UK’s annual CO2 homes, built in 2004, use heat-efficient natural, recycled
new nuclear power stations will take time. ● low-energy lighting and energy-efficient appliances,
emissions are being offset by the UK’s woodlands. or reclaimed materials, which absorb heat during warm
which also cut back on household carbon emissions
How useful is carbon offsetting? spells and release it when cooler. It has its own CHP
With 10% of the UK under forestry, even an increase to (although initially costing more, the money is repaid
Forests and woodlands cover 10% of the UK. Forest plant, fed by waste wood from tree surgery that would
20% would offset only about 5-6% of emissions. Offsetting by the energy saved).
ecosystems absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and store otherwise become landfill. The CHP system provides hot
is, therefore, only useful if combined with emissions
it in vegetation and soil. In theory, forests and woodlands water, distributed via insulated pipes.
reductions. How energy-conserving houses work
stabilise atmospheric CO2 by sequestering and storing
A wind turbine Solar panels Photovoltaic cells
carbon in plants and soils. Several UK and EU schemes BedZED, alternative housing in south London (cost £1500) (cost £2000) (cost £4000+)
allow individuals and businesses to offset their carbon
emissions by planting trees. An estimate is made of the
carbon sequestered over the lifetime of a forest, which is [Photo 1.15d]
then used as a ‘carbon credit’ against emissions.
● Over to you ● On your own [A/w 1.15c]
1 Copy the table at the bottom and show the advantages 4 Define the term sequestration from the text.
Ground heat pump
and disadvantages of the schemes in this unit. 5 Can renewable energy sources fully replace fossil using geothermal
2 Which schemes do you think would work well a in the fuel power stations? Research Horns Rev wind farm energy to warm
UK as a whole, b in your local region? Explain your in Denmark, using Google, to find out how far this is incoming water and
air before it enters
reasons. possible. the house or
3 In groups, devise a case for a £250 million research heating system
programme into ONE of the following: (cost £6400)
• energy conservation and building insulation
• A new generation of nuclear power stations
• A CHP scheme for every town with over 100 000
Unfortunately … But …
Advantages Disadvantages ● the BedZED CHP system failed in 2005 after months ● the houses are so well insulated and ventilated, that
Use energy more efficiently, e.g. Copenhagen’s CHP of unreliability there is little need for heating
● the reed-beds filtering waste water for use in toilets ● the photovoltaic cells have cut electricity bills
Replace the UK’s existing nuclear power stations with and gardens were out of operation for seven months ● BedZED uses 33% less water than other
new ones
● houses are not cheap and new technology is developments of its size
Conserve and reduce energy consumption, e.g. expensive ● the BedZED houses are in demand – valued at 15%
BedZED housing
● carbon neutrality is difficult to achieve – most people above local house prices
Expand the UK’s forests to help with carbon offsetting drive their own cars, although there is a car-sharing ● the residents emit 40% less carbon than average UK
scheme. households.

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1.15 Tackling risk and vulnerability in Bangladesh 1.15: Tackling risk and vulnerability in Bangladesh

In this unit you’ll find out how Bangladesh can


Trend Farming, forestry Water resources Human health Industry, settlement, and Impacts
adapt to the increasing risk of flooding caused by NEPAL and ecosystems society of global
warming on
global warming. Increase in Damage to crops; Power failure Increased risk of deaths, Disruption by flood and Bangladesh,
● A delta is the area of numbers damage to coral in storms injuries, water- and storms; withdrawal of according to
Background sediment deposited where a of intense reefs disrupting water food-borne diseases; insurance cover (for the IPCC
river enters the sea or a lake. tropical supply increased malnutrition, those able to afford
Bangladesh cyclones with implications for child it); loss of property;

N growth and development increased population

Bangladesh, the world’s most densely populated country Ga

nge 1.16a] migration

(population 142 million in 2005), lies on the flood plains Increased Damage to crops; likely inundation Increased risk of deaths High costs of coastal
of three major rivers, the Brahmaputra, Meghna and Dhaka incidence of of freshwater supplies by seawater, by drowning in floods; and river protection;
the Ganges. These rivers converge in Bangladesh and, INDIA extreme high affecting irrigation and freshwater increased malnutrition increased population
sea level supplies migration
together with 54 others, empty into the Bay of Bengal via
the largest system of mega-deltas in the world. Almost BURMA
● Behavioural such as changing land uses, and therefore
Adapting to global warming
every year, huge areas of the country flood as Himalayan food choices, e.g. to fish farming. Also banning urban
While the rest of the world considers reducing carbon
snowmelt adds to monsoon rains and high tides in the nges growth in areas of greatest flood risk.
Ga emissions, Bangladesh has to adapt to global warming now.
Bay of Bengal. 60% of the country lies one metre or less f the
ths o ● Managerial e.g., improve sanitation, waste
Mou What are the options?
above sea level, and some of the world’s poorest and management and slum improvement in the poorest
0 100
most vulnerable people live here. Bay of Bengal ● Technological solutions (hard engineering strategies, areas, so that water infections from disease during
e.g. sea walls, river embankments, drainage systems). In floods are reduced. These have always been the biggest
The flood risk the 1990s, the capital, Dhaka (population 12.6 million causes of death.
In addition to the Himalayan snowmelt swelling the rivers to bursting point, in 2005), cleared 102 km of drains, constructed 144 km
N of new drains, and opened up 633 channels to improve Whatever choices Bangladesh makes for the future, there
most of Bangladesh receives 2000 mm of rainfall a year – mostly falling are huge barriers to adaptation ahead. What about
between April and September. Coastal flooding is also a major problem – drainage. However, this kind of solution involves high
costs. funding? With such a vulnerable population, who should
between March and May, violent thunderstorms produce strong southerly be protected? Bangladesh has some of the world’s most
● Early warning / flood prediction, which enables
winds of 160 km per hour, which bring in six-metre-high waves from the sophisticated flood monitoring, but global warming surely
Bay of Bengal to swamp coastal areas. Also, during tropical cyclones, low people to be evacuated quickly to safer ground, such
[A/w 1.16b] presents the country with huge challenges. Not the least of
pressure reduces pressure on seawater in the Bay of Bengal, which causes as flood shelters on natural embankments or raised
ground, which have proved effective in the recent past these is whether the country can actually survive.
it to rise. High tides and storms then surge inland.
in reducing flood casualties. This option can be targeted Mass migration is the best
Past floods have been devastating. In 1998, two-thirds of Bangladesh at where the most vulnerable live. way to avoid the flood risk.
experienced flood damage, eroding riverbanks and flooding vast areas.
● Over to you ● On your own What do you think
0 100
Bangladesh and global warming Km 1 Copy and complete the table below to show a the b Aid from the world’s wealthier countries e.g. the UK
The future looks bleak for Bangladesh. If scientists’ predictions about advantages of some solutions which Bangladesh could c Global organisations such as the United Nations.
global warming are correct, many millions of people in Bangladesh will be Key adopt to adapt to global warming, b barriers in the way 3 Define the term mega-delta.
threatened. The very low-lying areas of the country (60%) are where the Affected areas of achieving these, c whether each solution would help 4 Research a datafile on Bangladesh from the World Bank
poorest people live. Their ability to respond to hazards is low, yet they face Severely affected areas the most vulnerable. website ( of economic (e.g. GNP) and
increasing threats in the future: 2 In pairs, consider how far the following might be a able social (e.g. infant mortality, literacy %) data.
Impact of the 1998 floods and b willing to pay for protection against flood hazards 5 Research one flood in Bangladesh, e.g. the one in 1998
● The IPCC predicts that glacier melt in the Himalayas will increase in Bangladesh: or 2007, and its economic, social and environmental
flooding in Bangladesh by 2030. After that, river flows and supplies of lost to the sea, like Tebua in Unit 1.1. This a Bangladesh itself impacts.
freshwater will decrease as the glaciers recede. presents the prospect of tens of millions of Type of solution Advantages Possible barriers Will it help those most at risk?
● Increased water temperatures will lead to increasing numbers of displaced Bangladeshis seeking new places
Technological solutions
bacteria and water-borne diseases such as cholera. to live – a significantly larger number of
Early warning / flood
● Coastal areas will be at risk from flooding and seawater inundation. environmental refugees than the potential prediction
This, in turn, will destroy crops and increase the risk of hunger. Indeed, numbers in Kiribati, and requiring a global Behavioural
if sea level continues to rise, much of Bangladesh might be permanently response to meet the challenge. Managerial

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1.16 Tackling risk and vulnerability in Indonesia
[Photo 1.14c]
In this unit you’ll explore how Indonesia struggles to cope with the Managing hazards

increasing risk of natural hazards and other problems. Hazard management in Indonesia is made difficult by the number and range
of natural hazards that it faces. In addition, Indonesia’s struggling economy
Background and political instability make dealing with hazard events more difficult.
South China ● Low GDP. In 2006, Indonesia’s per capita income was just US$1550
Indonesia Banda Sea
Aceh Aceh (about £775). In 2005, its GDP was ranked 114th out of 179 countries.
Indonesia is located in South-East Asia, between the Province Krakatau volcano today
● The Asian economic crisis. After rapid growth in the 1990s,
Pacific and Indian Oceans. It consists of over 17 500 Pacific Ocean
Indonesia’s economy suffered in the 1997 Asian crisis. Its currency

islands, of which 6000 are inhabited. At 1.9 million km2, it [A/wBORNEO
1.14a] N How hazardous is Indonesia?
collapsed in value and, in 1998, the economy shrank by 13.7%. Recovery

is nearly eight times the size of the UK. The population of

IRIAN has been slow. ● Located at the edges of the Pacific,

Indonesia is 225 million, with the largest number living on
Jakarta JAYA ● Government corruption has made the problem worse. In a Eurasian, and Australian tectonic
the island of Java. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim
JAVA Corruption Index devised in 2006, Indonesia was ranked the 33rd most plates, Indonesia often experiences
country in the world. It is also one of the world’s most
corrupt country in the world. earthquakes – and has 129 active
hazardous countries, situated as it is on the Pacific Ring
Indian Ocean ● Its economy is also being drained by debt, with no prospect of debt volcanoes.
of Fire – an area of frequent earthquakes and volcanic BALI 0 600
Km relief. Currently, it owes US$140 billion; annual debt repayments cost ● Of the world’s 20 deadliest volcanic
US$20 billion. 18% of the Indonesian population is classified as being eruptions, six occurred in Indonesia,
below the poverty line, and 49% live on less than US$2 a day. However, including the top two – Tambora (in
Devastation in Banda Aceh the World Bank considers Indonesia to be a ‘middle-income country’ 1815), and Krakatau (in 1883), which
Because its large island of Sumatra was situated closest to the response to the tsunami in the short and medium term. – because its average daily income exceeds $2.36 per person, it is not killed 130 000 people between
the epicentre of the December 2004 earthquake which Now, Aceh rebels and the government have struck a peace eligible for any debt relief schemes for the world’s poorest countries. them.
caused the Boxing Day tsunami, Indonesia was by far the deal, after 30 years, which will make reconstruction and ● Political instability, caused by tension between the Muslim majority ● Indonesia has two monsoon seasons
worst-affected country – 168 000 people died, and future hazard management there easier. and Christian minority, has also hindered economic recovery. annually, causing flash floods. In
500 000 were made homeless. Banda Aceh, capital of Aceh ● Terrorist attacks allegedly carried out by Al-Qaeda have had a short- 2007, storms across Jakarta flooded
No early warning system could have prevented all of the
province in Sumatra, was closest to the epicentre and was and medium-term impact on tourism and economic recovery. Few 106 000 acres of rice paddies, and
deaths from the 2004 earthquake and tsunami. However,
hit by 15-metre-high waves just 15 minutes after the main overseas investors are willing to place their money in a country which destroyed 100 000 homes.
the new tsunami early warning system, that started
earthquake. The devastation was made worse because the faces terrorist threats. ● During El Niño periods (see
to be installed in the Indian Ocean in 2006 (funded by
earthquake caused the Earth’s crust there to sink, flooding p. 29), the country suffers drought.
international aid), should at least help to reduce the effects
the city – in some parts permanently (see below). What of the future?
of a similar natural disaster in the future. Before 2006, no
Political factors played a part too. Indonesian government tsunami early warning system existed in the Indian Ocean Indonesia struggles to cope with existing natural hazards, and now faces a
further challenge from global warming: ● Over to you
control of Aceh province was very limited at the time of the at all, although such a system did exist in the Pacific Ocean.
● Rising sea levels will increase the wave energy in tsunami.
tsunami, due to rebel separatist groups there. This affected 1 Using the BBC News website
● Much of Indonesia’s population lives in low-lying areas; many islands lie
Some countries cannot afford hazard management. ( research data and
The impact of the tsunami on Banda Aceh – before and after – showing Should there be a global fund to help them? just above sea level and are, therefore, at risk from rising sea levels. photographs to help you put together
the destruction and flooding caused by the waves ● Greater climatic extremes may worsen the impacts of El Niño, resulting a presentation on the impacts of the
What do you think in more and worse droughts and forest fires. 2004 tsunami in Indonesia.
● Indonesia’s tourist and fishing industries will deteriorate sharply. Coral 2 From your research, how far do you
reefs are vulnerable to temperature change, and increases in sea think the damage to Indonesia was
surface temperature of 1-3 °C are likely to result in coral bleaching and unavoidable?
3 Draw a Venn diagram with two
overlapping circles. Label one
In addition, Krakatau is emerging from the sea again after its 1883 eruption ‘Economic reasons’ and the other
and destruction (see above), and it shows evidence that it may erupt again ‘Political reasons’. Classify the reasons
in the next 20-30 years. An eruption even half the size of that in 1883 why Indonesia finds it difficult to
manage its response to hazards.
[Photos 1.14a and 1.14b] would pose huge problems with evacuation and economic damage, due to
4 Explain how well you think Indonesia
the much larger population now living in the at-risk area.
will be able to face any future hazards.

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Unit summary

What key words do I have to know?
There is no set list of words in the specification that you must know. However, examiners
will use some or all of the following words in the examinations, and would expect you to
know them, and use them in your answers. These words and phrases are explained either
in the glossary on pages 297–301, or in key word boxes throughout this chapter.

adaptation greenhouse gases pyroclastic flows

boreal forest hazard vulnerability radiation
carbon credits IPCC saline
carbon offsetting lahars scenario
carbon sequestration magma chamber subducted
carbon sinks mega-delta tectonic
deep sea core samples Milankovitch cycles thermohaline
destructive boundary mitigation circulation
enhanced greenhouse multiple hazards tipping point
effect natural hazard tree line
environmental refugees North Atlantic Drift tundra
exponential permafrost vent
geomorphological positive ice-Albedo volcanic emissions
global conveyor belt feedback vulnerable populations
greenhouse effect

Try these questions

1 Using examples, explain why hazard events sometimes bring more problems for
some people and societies than others. (10 marks)

2 Explain how evidence can support arguments for both a natural and b human
causes of global warming. (10 marks)

3 Explain how people are attempting to deal with the effects of global warming at
either a local or a global scale. (15 marks)


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