Threat to major population centers is increasing as planners fail to prepare for the impacts of global warming, report says
London, Jakarta, Shanghai, Houston and other global cities that are already sinking will be increasingly vulnerable to storms and floods as a result of global warming, activists warned ahead of a new landmark report on climate science.
The threat to cities from rising sea levels is increasing because city planners are not preparing, the Christian Aid charity said in the report. Some large cities are already sinking (the ground below Shanghai, for example, is being pressured by the weight of the buildings above) and rising sea levels as a result of global warming will worsen the effects.
The cities mentioned in the report are sinking for a variety of reasons. Jakarta is believed to be shrinking by 25cm a year largely due to groundwater abstraction, and Houston is sinking as the oil wells below it are depleted. Bangkok's skyscrapers are weighing too heavily, while London is slowly sinking for geological reasons: Scotland is slowly recovering after being overwhelmed by glaciers during the last ice age, pushing southern England down like a lookout point.
The warning comes as the world's leading climate scientists meet this week in South Korea to finalize a comprehensive study that establishes whether and how the world can avoid temperature increases of 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the body of scientists convened by the UN, has been asked to examine the consequences of such an increase and assess what progress can be made to limit gas emissions. greenhouse effect.
The world has already warmed by about 1 ° C from pre-industrial levels, and the sea level could rise by 40 cm if it rises to 1.5 ° C, the IPCC has suggested. Sharp brakes on greenhouse gas production are expected to be necessary to halt the rise.
Under the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, governments pledged to keep warming to no more than 2C, with the aspiration not to exceed 1.5C, based on previous advice from the IPCC. The new IPCC report, to be released on Monday, is expected to show that staying within the 1.5C limit is still possible but only with strong action to reduce carbon in the atmosphere.
Christian Aid, one of many organizations publishing studies that concur with the IPCC judgment, looked at the consequences of a 1.5C increase for a selection of eight major cities around the world. The report concludes that poor development choices are exacerbating the vulnerability of cities to climate shocks.
Kat Kramer of Christian Aid, who wrote the report, said: “These global metropolises may seem strong and stable, but it is a mirage. As the sea level rises, they are increasingly threatened and under water. "
Dozens of the world's largest cities are built in coastal areas and near major rivers, making them vulnerable not only to rising sea levels but also to storm surges, which can send the high seas inland. and previous maritime defenses. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands experienced a storm in 1953, when high tides and a storm surge flooded the coastal regions. If there were a similar climate today, the damage could be much greater despite the marine defenses, due to the rise in sea levels and the increased severity of storms resulting from climate change.
Original article (in English)