Three times the impact than originally estimated . . .
New analysis published in Nature Communications provides dramatic evidence that the impact of rising sea levels will be more severe than originally assumed, with big implications for Asia. The effects will be felt most by the 300 million people living on flat, low-lying areas near the sea. These areas are expected to experience at least one flood per year unless the world rapidly and substantially reduces its carbon emissions, and unless coastal communities are able to physically reinforce their coastlines. According to the new estimates, by 2050, three times more people will be impacted than originally believed. More than 70 per cent of them will be in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Scale of difference leaves researchers stunned . . .
The report’s analysis is based on new and more sophisticated means of assessing the topography of the world’s coastlines. According to The Guardian, previous models that looked at sea-level rise over-estimated “the altitude of land due to tall buildings and trees.” “The new study,” however, “used artificial intelligence to compensate for such misreadings.” Estimates of the number of people impacted in China now increase threefold, including in Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta, and the number of people impacted in Bangladesh and India increases seven-fold, including the latter’s financial hub of Mumbai. In Thailand, 12 times as many people are expected to feel the effects, including in Bangkok.
If that wasn’t bad enough . . .
The researchers behind the findings say their projections could even be under-estimating the impact of sea-level rise because they are based on the assumption that countries will cut their carbon emissions in line with their commitments under the Paris Agreement. Many countries are not on track to meet these commitments, and that includes Canada. According to Climate Action Tracker, Canada is “far from its Paris Agreement target,” in no small part due to pushback from several provincial governments, including Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.
- Climate Action Tracker: Canada
- The Guardian: Rising sea levels pose threat to homes of 300m people - study
- New York Times: Rising seas will erase more cities by 2050, new research shows