Rising seas threaten to erase many cities of the world by the year 2050, according to a study by Climate Central, a science organization based in New Jersey in the United States, which was published this week in the journal Nature Communications.
The study said a more accurate way of calculating land elevation based on satellite readings and new research shows that 150 million people are now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by 2050 – only 30 years from now.
In the Middle East, the cities of Alexandria, Egypt, and Basra, Iraq, were cited as among the ancient sites threatened by rising seas. In the US city of St. Petersburg in Florida, ocean waters are expected to rise 15 inches by 2050.
But the greatest threats are in Asia – in China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. Indonesia is already moving its capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan, Borneo.
Much of Ho Chih Minh City – the old Saigon – in southern Vietnam would disappear, according to the research. In Thailand, more than 10 percent of the people now live on land likely to go underwater by 2050 – including Bangkok.
In China, water threatens the heart of Shanghai and other cities around it. Much of Mumbai in India, originally built on a series of islands, is at risk of being wiped out.
“The world’s coasts are more vulnerable to climate change than we ever thought,” said Peter Girard, director of communications for Climate Central.
The rise in the world’s ocean levels is blamed on the increase in carbon emissions around the world which has caused world temperatures to rise and the polar glaciers to melt.
China, the world’s most populous country and largest emitter of carbon – 27 percent, according to Global Carbon Project, a global research project of Future Earth — has initiated massive national action to cut down its coal consumption. The US is the second biggest source of industrial carbon – 15 percent — but its emissions have reportedly been declining generally in the past decade as coal use has fallen in favor of natural gas. Carbon emissions from the 28 European Union nations account for 9 percent; India, 7 percent; and Russia, 5 percent.
The rest of the world, including the Philippines, have minuscule contributions to the world’s carbon emissions, but will suffer in equal measure from the resulting rise in ocean waters and stronger typhoons and hurricanes that have already begun around our planet.