Perhaps nobody faces greater risks from the threat of global warming than the people of the world’s many tropical islands. First of all, because of rising ocean levels, some tropical islands will physically cease to exist. A number of islands have been pegged as essentially doomed if water levels continue to rise, with some already being forced to take aggressive steps to abandon and relocate their people, their postcard beauty of no value now with tides already beginning to flood homes. The coming century could find sea levels up another 1-4 feet, more than enough to transform or wipe out many more islands, with scientists still wresting to coordinate all the variables of this relatively new science.
And it’s not simply the net rise of ocean levels that poses grave risks. As the waters rise, every storm becomes exponentially more dangerous with buffers to the sea no longer there to protect the population. Storms that would normally be damaging may now be catastrophic. In addition, the number and ferocity of storms could increase, greatly magnifying the problem. Rising water and storm effects on island agriculture could by themselves be enough to cause irreparable economic and social damage.
To make matters worse, although there are thousands of such island economies around the world, individually they do not carry the economic or political weight to influence the debate. They see themselves as the frontline that nobody cares about. The Maldives, an island nation of over 1,000 small tropical islands, lying on average only a few feet above the waters of the Indian Ocean, could soon become uninhabitable. And yet it could never generate the response that would erupt at the flooding of Manhattan, the single island hub of New York City.
That’s why VIASPACE could become so hugely important to the world’s tropical islands over the coming years, helping them to redefine their economies while attacking the root core cause of global warming, rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. VIASPACE’s proprietary dedicated energy crop, Giant King Grass (GKG), is the highest yielding biomass crop in the world. It absorbs about as much carbon in growing as is released when it is burned to produce power, resulting in a near-zero carbon footprint. It grows easily in marginal soils not suitable for food based plants, growing best in the wet and warm climates found on so many tropical islands. Island economies can use it directly to efficiently generate their own power, instead of having to haul in expensive fuels, and can fuel their own economies at the same time. Best of all, it can be pelletized for shipment all over the world, further addressing carbon emissions and helping island economies.
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