Taiwanese climate refugees play role in U.S. sci-fi novel about global warming in coming decades
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2012
Jim Laughter's sci fi climate novel POLAR CITY RED set in 2080 in Alaska has a connection
to Taiwan, too.
"The population of Taiwan in the distant future will have migrated north to
Russia’s northern coast or northern parts of Alaska and Canada to find
safe harbor from the devastating impact of global warming," wrote American expat in Taiwan -- and global director of the Polar Cities Project -- Dan Bloom in
an oped published in the Taipei Times newspaper in 2009.
A researcher at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Dr Wang Chung-ho (王中和), Bloom
wrote, had told a reporter
for the Liberty Times earlier
that year that there was a good chance Taipei would be flooded by the
end of this century, adding that the the capital might have to be
relocated to higher ground in less than 100 years. Wang said the
entire Taipei basin would likely be engulfed by rising seas by 2100,
triggered, of course, by global warming. Wang said his research showed
that most of the west coast of Taiwan would be submerged by rising sea
levels by that time, as well.
Wang’s report, which was presented at a public forum sponsored by
the think tank and research center in Taipei called Academia Sinica, theorized that sea levels would rise by at least 1 meter,
gobbling up all low-lying areas of Taiwan, from Kaohsiung to Taipei.
“Taiwan must be prepared for the worst-case scenario,” Wang said,
according to the Liberty Times.
'If Wang is correct, and Taipei is faced with major flooding in 90
years, then what will life be like in Taiwan in the distant future? Most
likely, Taiwan’s population will have left the country for faraway
northern regions to find shelter in UN-funded climate refuges in
places such as Russia, Canada and Alaska. Taiwanese climate refugees
will join millions of others from India, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and
the Philippines. It won’t be a pretty picture," Bloom wrote.
When a reporter asked Wang if this was a possible future scenario for
Taiwan some 500 years from now, he said it was very possible, and that
these issues needed to be addressed now, if only as a thought
exercise, and even if it all sounded like a science fiction movie
script. When Bloom acclaimed British scientist James
Lovelock if such a scenario for Taiwan were likely, he said in an
e-mail: “It may very well happen, yes.”
In Jim Laughter's own book, titled POLAR CITY RED and for which Bloom served
as an informal editorial consultant, chapter 11 introduces a
scientist named Hei Chu, from Taiwan.
An excerpt from Chapter 11 reads:
“What the hell is that noise?” Carson Moore asked Dr. Hei Chu, one of his
instructors at Polar City Red in 2080 sitting at a computer console
across the room from him.
“What noise, Dr Moore?” Chu was used to the noise. He’d heard it for
years and no longer paid any attention to it. Chu's family had escaped
from Taipei, Taiwan when it became evident the island would vanish
beneath the rising waters of the East China Sea. They watched Okinawa,
Japan falter beneath the same tidal onslaught, so they’d abandoned
their ancestral home and escaped to mainland China. After years of a
vagabond existence, they’d managed to find transportation across the
Asian mainland to Alaska and made their way to Polar City Red.