Thanks to global warming, the permafrost is no longer very perma, nor very frosty. I’ve noted before about how the ultimate release of huge amounts of greenhouse gases formerly trapped in the tundra could create a "self-perpetuating climate time bomb." But we shouldn’t ignore the severe local impacts.
The New York Times has a front-page story on what global warming has done to the Alaskan village of Newtok:
Sea ice that would normally protect coastal villages is forming later in the year, allowing fall storms to pound away at the shoreline.
Erosion has made Newtok an island …. The village is below sea level, and sinking …. The ragged wooden houses have to be adjusted regularly to level them on the shifting soil.
Studies say Newtok could be washed away within a decade ….
The corps has estimated that to move Newtok could cost $130 million because of its remoteness, climate and topography. That comes to almost $413,000 for each of the 315 residents.
Not that anyone is offering to pay.
The global warming deniers always say we must adapt, but that is mostly empty rhetoric. The Bush administration is too busy dumbing down G-8 statements and muzzling U.S. climate scientists to take real action.
The Alaskan quoted in the headline, Frank Tommy, 47, says, "It’s too muddy. Everything is crooked around here." That last sentence would seem to be a fitting epitaph for the Bush Administration.