Sea level rise: the silent killer that’s already happening

Adriana Lima
By Adriana Lima 2 Min Read
origin 1People with a ‘business as usual’ sign on the tide. ¬©Nardus Engelbrecht/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.

Global sea level rise is less visible to the eye than many other effects of climate change. But these, like other problems, have accelerated significantly in recent decades. Sea level has risen about 10 centimeters since 1990.

According to scientists, even in an ideally favorable scenario, sea levels will rise by more than half a meter by the end of the century. In the worst-case scenario, they will reach 1.5 meters by 2100.

This will lead to flooding of large and densely populated areas. Some island states in Oceania may disappear altogether.

If sea levels rise by one meter in Europe, some 13 million people in existing or potential flood zones could be displaced from their homes.

In Asia, it will affect extremely populous deltas of large rivers, such as the Ganges delta in Bangladesh. This could also result in new conflicts fueled by increasing poverty, scarce resources and ethno-religious tensions.

origin 1An abandoned house from flood waters in Sylhet, Bangladesh on Monday, June 20, 2022. Mahmud Hossain Opu/AP

Furthermore, international law does not currently address situations such as the loss of territory due to the effects of climate change.

In Oceania, entire island populations have already been evacuated. In Southeast Asia, some large cities, such as Jakarta, are forced to look for new ways to deal with sea level rise and coastal erosion caused by human activity.

Wealthy countries, such as the Netherlands, can afford to build dams, but even so the future costs could be very high. Developing world countries cannot afford these short-term solutions, and thus the risk of conflicts caused by land flooding will be highest in these regions.

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