Forecast: The Ocean Will “Wash Away” 20% Of World GDP; Hundreds of millions of people could be affected by rising sea levels in the coming decades, and the global economy will be severely tested, a group of scientists from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK predicts.
Naked Science writes about this , citing an article by researchers in the journal Nature. According to their calculations, by the end of the 21st century, from 176 to 287 million people will suffer from floods, the economic damage from these cataclysms will reach 12-20% of world GDP. The worst thing about their forecast is that it implies that even if greenhouse gas emissions are cut sharply in the coming decades, flooding is likely to be unavoidable.
They considered two scenarios: in one case, anthropogenic carbon emissions will continue to grow, in the other, it will begin to wane after 2040. In both scenarios, the number of predicted floods turned out to be the same.
“This is due to the fact that today human activity has already had an impact on global warming to a certain extent. Even if we stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow, it would take decades for carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to drop. The melting of glaciers will continue anyway. For most countries, floods today can occur not once every 100 years, but once a decade – precisely as a result of sea level rise, ”the portal quotes one of the authors of the study, Ian Yang from the University of Melbourne.
Since 1880, the level of the World Ocean, not without human intervention, has risen by an average of 20-30 centimeters. It is expected that by 2100 it will rise by no less than 30 centimeters. Experts believe that even a small increase in the indicator entails serious consequences, especially since many regions are still prone to flooding. Such areas will face even greater risk of floods, storms, etc.
The authors included among the potential risk areas the authors of the new study included the East coast of the United States, a large part of the coast of Europe (from Gibraltar to Denmark), northern Australia, Southeast Asia and territories bordering the Yellow Sea, from Shanghai in China to Kagoshima in Japan . The portal notes: no more than 4% of the world population lives in these territories, however, their share in the global economy is much larger. In particular, many expensive centers of innovation are concentrated along the coasts.
According to the authors, it is high time for many countries to prepare for floods. For example, with the help of dams, as the Netherlands does, the construction of houses, taking into account possible cataclysms. However, some settlements will still have to move away from the water: in some of these areas, retreat will be the only way to prevent costly losses.