Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Flooded Future

Global sea levels are set to rise dramatically, threatening the homes of some 100 million people, even if the strictest greenhouse gas emissions targets are met, according to a new study. The research, compiled by climate scientists from a number of international institutions, analysed the long-term impacts of different emission levels and concluded oceans will rise by over one metre even if the world sticks to the Paris agreementThe researchers estimated a global rise of between 0.7 and 1.2 metres – adding that if emissions are not curbed as soon as possible it will be even greater. As it stands, current efforts by nations to reduce emissions are not enough to avoid the more significant rises in sea levels predicted by the new analysis.

“For millions of people around the world living in coastal areas, every centimetre can make a huge difference – to limit sea-level rise risks, immediate CO2 reduction is key." said Dr Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

"Man-made climate change has already pre-programmed a certain amount of sea-level rise for the coming centuries, so for some it might seem that our present actions might not make such a big difference – but our study illustrates how wrong this perception is," said Dr Matthias Mengel.

"This is a great example of how delays to mitigation can make the costs of climate change add up,” said Professor Dave Frame, director of the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute.

Associate Professor Pete Strutton, a biological oceanographer at the University of Tasmania, explained, “We need to realise that climate change is happening. Even if we stop emitting today, the effects of our past emissions will be felt for centuries to come and every year that we delay action has consequences for the future."

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