Three years of extra snow has weakened Ireland’s salt stocks, demonstrating an overall lack of preparedness for the effects of climate change. Outline of Birket Maraqi salt lake in the oasis of Siwa, Egypt
Facebook status updates from the UK read like this: “go away snow”, “does anyone know if its safe to drive to this or that icy town?”, or, finally, “thank goodness – I can fly.” People joke that the UK shuts down with the kind of snow that Minnesotans can suntan in. But there’s also a serious side to this story.
The weather in the UK is not normal. Just like Russia’s drought and the Middle East’s higher temperatures, global warming has permanently altered weather patterns. And by having to import salt from Egypt to clear its roads, Ireland demonstrates the same lack of preparedness we all have for this new reality.
Ironically, an Ulster unionist called Sir Reg Empey pointed out, Ireland is rife with salt mines. He told News Letter that importing salt to Ireland is akin to shipping coal to Newcastle.
But higher than average snowfall in the last two years, and earlier than usual snowstorms this year, has dampened the country’s supply. While they are mining, they are supplying, and have committed to a total of 50,000 tonnes to get the country through the New Year.
TUV leader Jim Allister complained that Ulster is being “bailed out by Egypt,” and that officials h
The Roads Service told the paper that they have contracts with Kilroot salt mines for a certain amount of minerals to clear the roads. They don’t care whether it comes from Ireland or Timbuktu. What happens when there is no more salt to mine? I guess people will just have to stay home.
Just as our natural resources are dwindling as a result of over-mining, and in the midst of international economic trouble, we are being hit with more severe weather more frequently. This means that our defenses are weakened. Our next best defense is to lessen the impact, which we can do by reducing our use of fossil fuels and overall consumption.
The negotiations in Cancun show some evidence that our leaders are willing to get serious about reducing carbon emissions. But not serious enough. China refuses to make major concessions unless the US does the same, and we all know that Americans are loathe to give up their highfalutin lifestyle.
In the Middle East, despite being the source of so much of the world’s oil, there has been discussion of reducing oil subsidies, which could lead to higher prices and therefore more discretionary use of this abused resource. This is exactly the step every government needs to take.
In the meantime, funds need to be put aside to cope with climate change. The Green Climate Fund is supposed to be created to help developing nations, but Ulster’s predicament suggest that developed nations should start making their own preparations as well.
:: News Letter
More climate change stories:
image via SoraZG