Rising Sea Levels Could Spark a Mass Exodus of Entire Populations on a ‘Biblical Scale’, UN Warns
Jonathan Chadwick, Daily Mail, February 15, 2023
Earth’s rising sea levels could spark ‘a mass exodus of entire populations on a biblical scale’, the UN’s Secretary-General has warned.
In a grim speech to UN’s security council in New York, Antonio Guterres said countries like Bangladesh, China, India and the Netherlands risk being flooded.
But ‘mega-cities on every continent’ will face ‘serious effects’, including Cairo, Bangkok, Shanghai, Copenhagen, London, Los Angeles, New York and Buenos Aires.
Global sea levels have risen faster since 1900 and the problem now acutely endangers nearly 900 million people living in low-lying coastal areas, he said.
It follows a new study that provides the most accurate estimates yet of sea level rises due to the melting of Earth’s two ice sheets.
‘Under any scenario, countries like Bangladesh, China, India and the Netherlands are all at risk.
‘Mega-cities on every continent will face serious impacts.
‘The danger is especially acute for nearly 900 million people who live in coastal zones at low elevations – and that’s one out of 10 people on Earth.
‘The consequences of all of this are unthinkable – low-lying communities and entire countries could disappear forever.
‘We would witness a mass exodus of entire populations on a biblical scale.’
Guterres citied new data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released Tuesday that spells out the grave danger of rising seas.
‘Global average sea levels have risen faster since 1900 than over any preceding century in the last 3,000 years,’ he told attendees.
‘The global ocean has warmed faster over the past century than at any time in the past 11,000 years.’
Sea levels will rise significantly even if global warming is ‘miraculously’ limited to 2.7°F (1.5°C) – the elusive aim of the Paris Agreement.
Earth is more likely on a path to warming that amounts to ‘a death sentence’ for most vulnerable countries, including many small island nations, Guterres warned.
According to the WMO data, the global mean sea level will rise by about 6.5 to 9.8 feet (two to three metres) over the next 2,000 years if warming is limited to 2.7°F (1.5°C).
With a 3.6°F (2°C) increase, seas could rise up to 19.7 feet (six metres) and with a 9°F (5°C) increase, seas could rise up to 72 feet (22 metres), according to the data.