(April 19, 2011) UN map showing the disappearance of several small islands disappears; islands still in plain sight.
Last week, I speculated (tongue in cheek) that climate change delegates from 10 Pacific nations meeting for a UN workshop in the Pacific island of Palau could have difficulty reaching their destination, since the UN in 2005 had predicted that climate change could wipe out islands in the area by 2010. I further speculated that the delegates could avoid getting lost by using a 2008 UN map, on the United Nations Environment Program website, showing the Pacific islands that could soon be disappearing.
The islands haven’t disappeared from the Pacific but the map has from the UNEP site, replaced by a UNEP webpage that says, ironically, “Honey, We’re not lost. I know where we are,” and oddly, “it seems like the map you are navigating by is maybe not fully up-to-date, or that it might have an error in it, or is it that your GPS is not loaded with the correct data?”
The UN now claims in an interview with Spiegel Online that the prediction of catastrophe “is not a UNEP prediction,” although the missing map’s legend unambiguously provided this text: “Small islands (some will disappear completely),” and although the map was created by a UN cartographer. Other UN agencies – including the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — also warned of the demise of Pacific islands.
To view the map the UN doesn’t want you to see, click here. To see UNEP’s description of the 50 million climate refugees that the world would see by 2010, click here. For the original study by Professor Norman Myers of Oxford on which the UN based its mapping, click here.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers. LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com.