With the setting of the 1.5 degree target in the Paris Climate Agreement, the consequences of climate change should be kept to a minimum. But a new study shows: Even with this warming, there could be a “destructive rise in sea level”.
Even if mankind were to reach their 1.5 degree goal in the fight against global warming, according to a study, sea levels will continue to rise over the centuries. Asia will be hit hardest, warned researchers in a study published in the journal “Environmental Research Letters”. Nine of the ten coastal metropolises most threatened by flooding are located there.
Most scientific estimates of sea level rise and the associated threat to coastal cities reach the end of this century. You assume an increase of between half a meter and less than a meter.
However, the phenomenon will persist beyond 2100 due to the warming of the water and the melting of the ice, the researchers warned in the latest study – regardless of how quickly greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
Five percent live in floodplains
About five percent of the world’s population already live in areas that could threaten flooding in the future, said the study’s lead author and president of the journalists and science organization Climate Central, Ben Strauss.
“The concentration of CO2 is 50 percent higher today than it was in 1800, and the average surface temperature of the earth has increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius,” he said. That is enough to raise the sea level by almost two meters, “regardless of whether it takes two or ten centuries”.
Even the 1.5 degree target set in the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 will not prevent a destructive rise in sea levels – “the alternative higher values are much worse,” explained Strauss. If the earth warms up by only half a degree – that is, to two degrees – the houses of half a billion people would probably be flooded.
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The researchers calculated in the study that around 200 million other inhabitants of coastal cities could then be regularly affected by flooding. Storms could then also become increasingly a problem.
“In Glasgow and until the end of this decade we have the opportunity to either help the next hundred generations or to betray them,” emphasized Strauss with a view to the upcoming COP26 world climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Researchers from Princeton University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research were involved in the study.