Sea levels 6 feet higher by the centuries end? To some it doesn’t sound as bad as it actually is. So the beaches will be a kilometer inland they might say, there’s plenty of land isn’t there? We can adapt to it, can’t we?
Well there’s a problem there. Many of Island nations and low land areas in nations like Bangledesh and Netherlands will be completely inundated by such a predicted rise, displacing hundreds of millions of people. Some nations like Japan and Samoa will face economic devastation from such rises while others like the Maldives and Fiji’s Kiribati will simply disappear entirely beneath the swelling seas.
Even in areas above the new water level, salinity from the encroaching waters will reach inland many kilometers, polluting fresh water aquifers and poisioning valuable farmland, while storm surges create levels of damage on the new coastlines never before seen in human history. The surviving farmland deeper inland will already have been hit by increasing droughts, storms and lower rates of precipitation. Farmland, that will later in the century, be overburdened and further damaged by countless millions migrating from flooded and dying coastal regions. Add in collapsing ecologies that we depend on for food, local climate and ecological balance and the scenario becomes far more dire than it first appears as hundreds of billions are spent on late adapation programs and spiralling refugee and infrastructure costs. Yet its likely to still be largely avoidable – if we act now.
Because unless we take drastic action to eradicate fossil fuel use and limit carbon emissions over the next ten to fifteen years – this six to 7 foot sea level rise is tragically inevitable and with it will come unparalled devastion for all the earths inhabitants.
Lets hope for all our sakes that humanities currently slow adoption of a global low carbon economy speeds up – fast.