Cuba faces vast land losses as sea levels rise

Apr 11, 2013
A woman observes waves hitting the Malecon waterfront in Havana, on December 13, 2010. Cuba risks losing a vast stretch of beach front homes and pristine coastal habitat by 2050, because of rapidly rising sea levels, a top environmental official warned Thursday.

Cuba risks losing a vast stretch of beach front homes and pristine coastal habitat by 2050, because of rapidly rising sea levels, a top environmental official warned Thursday.

At a panel discussion on Cuban environmental policy, Tomas Escobar, director of the island's National Environment Agency, said rising oceans could submerge huge areas of the , with potentially devastating consequences.

The changes "could affect ecosystems, increase the vulnerability of coastal settlements, reduce agricultural soil productivity, crops and forestry and reduce the quality and availability of water," the Prensa Latina news agency quoted Escobar as saying.

"At the current rate of increase in sea level, by 2050 we will have lost nearly 2,700 square kilometers of land area and 9,000 homes," he said.

Cuba has an area of 109,884 square kilometers (42 square miles), and more than 5,700 kilometers (3,500 miles) of coastline that includes everything from steep cliffs to sandy beaches to swamps.

Escobar said President Raul Castro's government had established a policy to try and mitigate the effects of , centered on "the goal of reducing vulnerabilities identified in disaster prevention studies."

Policy priorities include the conservation and rehabilitation of coastal ecosystems, including the island's , mangroves and beaches.

Explore further: NOAA: 'Nuisance flooding' an increasing problem as coastal sea levels rise

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Manhattan-sized ice island heads out to sea

Sep 18, 2012

Remember that enormous slab of ice that broke off Greenland's Petermann Glacier back in July? It's now on its way out to sea, a little bit smaller than it was a couple of months ago—but not much. At aro ...

Disputed isle in Bay of Bengal disappears into sea

Mar 24, 2010

(AP) -- For nearly 30 years, India and Bangladesh have argued over control of a tiny rock island in the Bay of Bengal. Now rising sea levels have resolved the dispute for them: the island's gone.

Cuba, US scientists kick off cooperation meeting

Dec 12, 2011

Scientists from the Cuba and United States will Monday begin a five-day meeting aimed at exploring opportunities for cooperation on range of research fields, including biological and environmental sciences, and science policy, ...

Amazon deforestation on the rise again in Brazil

Aug 03, 2011

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon accelerated in June, with more than 300 square kilometers destroyed, a 17 percent increase over the previous month, government researchers said Tuesday.

China boom savages coral reefs, study finds

Dec 27, 2012

China's economic boom has seen its coral reefs shrink by at least 80 percent over the past 30 years, a joint Australian study found, with researchers describing "grim" levels of damage and loss.

Recommended for you

Malaysia air quality 'unhealthy' as haze obscures skies

1 hour ago

Air quality around Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur and on Borneo island was "unhealthy" on Tuesday, with one town reaching "very unhealthy" levels as haze—mostly from forest fires in Indonesia—obscured skies.

Worldwide water shortage by 2040

1 hour ago

Two new reports that focus on the global electricity water nexus have just been published. Three years of research show that by the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population ...

Regulations only a first step in cutting emissions

2 hours ago

Intensifying calls for action on climate change have led to a variety of proposed regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions from specific sources of the economy, including, most recently, the environmental ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
5 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2013
Just Cuba? Geez, poor guys. Glad to hear that Florida and many other coastal lowlands are still safe.