Foreign Policy Blogs

Earthquakes, Tsunamis and the Like

Someone in my class at Pace University in NYC a couple of years ago mentioned that she thought that earthquakes and other similar phenomenon were being influenced by climate change.  I pooh-poohed the idea, saying that climate change was responsible for a lot of ills – with more to come – but that it couldn’t impact things happening at the level of the earth’s geology, such as undersea earthquakes that generate tsunamis.  Sounds pretty solid, right?  Like the earth.  Well, it appears that I was wrong.  (First time for everything.)

I came across this article from Reuters last month.   “Climate change doesn’t just affect the atmosphere and the oceans but the earth’s crust as well. The whole earth is an interactive system.”  That’s how Professor Bill McGuire of University College London characterized things.

UCL hosted a conference, Climate Forcing of Geological and Geomorphological Hazards, supported by the UK Met Office, the British Geological Survey, the British Antarctic Survey and Oxford university.  There were scores of researchers present, with sessions on climates of the past and future, climate forcing of volcanism and volcanic activity, and climate as a driver of seismic, mass movement and tsunami hazards.

Add these to the growing list of potentially devastating impacts from climate change.  And, when something seems absurd or, at best, implausible, as it concerns the possibilities for climate catastrophe, dig a little deeper to see if maybe there isn’t something really there.  Or perhaps, as Joe Heller put it, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”


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Bill Hewitt
Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change


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