Durban diary - snippets from the United Nations climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, where the debate continues on whether climate change is causing sea levels to rise.

ARE sea levels changing as a result of climate change?

That question was raised yet again at the United Nations climate conference, COP17 in Durban, South Africa.

Small island nations, whose pleas for help are always tinged with desperation, say they are at the forefront of climate change

Small island nations, whose pleas for help are always tinged with desperation, say they are at the forefront of climate change. Tourists and visitors come and go but islanders have to live with the consequences of climate change.

Rising sea levels

Grenada’s environment minister, Karl Hood, who is also the chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, said they had witnessed at first-hand the impact of climate change with erratic cyclones and increasing droughts affecting their fragile economies.

Fiji’s environment minister, Samuela Saumatua, said the country had to relocate several villages on the coast because of rising sea levels which were the direct result of climate change.

Scientific facts

Not so says one of the leading experts on sea level rise. Nils Axel Morner, former head of paleogeophysics and geodynamics at Stockholm University, Sweden, and past president of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, says the sea level is not rising.

Scientific observational facts clearly indicate that the sea level is not rising in the Maldives or elsewhere in the Indian Ocean

He said, in an open letter to the president of the Maldives, that scientific observational facts clearly indicate that the sea level is not rising in the Maldives or elsewhere in the Indian Ocean. Clear evidence now exists for the Maldives, Bangladesh, Minicoy, Goa, and Mumbai, based on long-term records of tide gauges, he said.

Additional research by Hardev Sanotra

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