26 May The Maldives to be the world’s first Atlantis thanks to climate change
According to Evan Puschak of the Seeker Network, the Maldives could be the first location to be completely submerged. On average, it is approximately 1.5 metres above sea level and if sea level rise continues as projected, nearly 80% of the Maldives will be under water by 2100. If, as suggested by a recent study, the rate increases, the Maldives could be submerged by 2085.
Christopher Watson from the University of Tasmania examined satellite and tide data from 1993-2014 and reported that although the global mean sea level rose slower than thought over that time, the sea level rise is accelerating. Kiribati, a remote Republic in the Central Pacific could face a similar fate in the next five decades.
Recently published work in National Geographic reported that over the last century, the Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) has risen by up to 20 centimetres, and over the last ten years, it has risen 3.2 millimetres a year which was twice the speed of the previous 80 years. Sea level rise is linked to three factors each of which are induced by ongoing climate change-thermal expansion, glacier and polar ice cap melts and ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica. When seawater reaches inland areas, it can be destructive erosion agent, can flood wetlands and contaminate aquifers and agricultural soils.
In terms of the United States, a number of the cities on the East Coast could be under threat of a rise of up to 2 metres by 2100. The Miami New Times newspaper recently reported that Henk Ovink, a sea level expert from the Netherlands has dubbed Miami “the new Atlantis” because it will be a city in the sea. In Ovink’s opinion, individual cities are pursuing their own strategies rather than collaborating. In Rotterdam in the Netherlands, floating houses and office buildings are being constructed, and in another region, a wide trench is being cut through the city and an island is being built.
Low lying areas will be developed into parks and beaches and during floods, the lower sections of the island will be engulfed by water. The Netherlands does have institutional funding available until 2050 and has adopted a collaborative innovative approach, both of which have the country well placed in the climate change battle.
It is truly terrible that climate change looks set to claim its first victim and other locations are likely to follow. As such is yet another sign that urgent action must be agreed upon in Paris and followed up post the event. Furthermore, citizens will need to hold their respective Governments to account for the actions they agree to in front of their international counterparts. Through social media, Government pronouncements can be shared almost instantly so that anyone is interested and has access to any or each of its forms can be made aware of the commitments that are made. These Governments can also be made aware of what their constituents think of the commitments, and whether they think such commitments are commensurate with that of their counterpart Governments.
Please share this blog with as many of your friends, family and work colleagues as possible and talk to your Government Ministers about what they are planning as their commitment in Paris on your behalf. If you think their commitment is sufficient, now is the time to stand up and make that clear. How many more nations or locations are going to be at risk of submersion before you act?