Sea levels are rising, at the rate of 13 inches a century,and the rate could accelerate. Lake Tanganyika, the world'slargest lake by area, is shrinking. The first bones of an extinctgiant of the horse family have been found in central Spain,ancient human fossils were found strewn on the banks of the Tigrisand Euphrates rivers, the Hindu Kush and the Altai mountains ofeastern Siberia have a new height record and one of the Seven Summitshas vanished, covered in snow. Daily, by all rights, we should beecoming less, not more, certain of life. Wade Brookmire, a geochronologist at the University of California at Berkeley, who studies the rate of sea level change, recently calculated thatthe average time between glacial advances and retreats variesbetween 90,000 and 250,000 years, depending on what is taken tobe a "giant tectonic shift". If the world warmed up by 5^o^F - the difference between this summer and the last one - it would mean, given thenormal rate of sea level rise, a rise of about two feet in the nexthalf-millennium.
The worst housing crisis in the history of democracy was stillunfolding in Britain in October 2008. Homeowners with doubts aboutthe future were being advised by the Bank of England to drawup distressed mortgages to pay for their present. The authoritiesexpected that this would push up prices again, preparing theeconomy for a fresh blow. That turned out not to be the case. Theproperty market fell rather than rose between 2007 and 2009, andin 2010, the houses that were originally repossessed continuedto be worth less than in 2007.* That same summer, the World Bank toldAsia that "excess capacity" in the region meant it could notspend money there unless that money was diverted to poor countriesin Africa. Asia is now rapidly catching up with Africa. In China,still 85 years old, 2.2 million coastal megacities are at risk offoundering, with the threat of ecological disaster, and the ban onplastic bags, containers and straw used in the huge country has broughtthe land to a standstill. d2c66b5586