Many large cities at risk due to rising sea levels

To new research carried out and recently released by Maplecroft, many booming megalopolis around the world are at extreme risk because of rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change.

Manila, Jakarta and Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) would be threatened the most. Others cities, including Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi, Chennai, Karachi, Lagos and Guangdong, would also be in danger.

This reminds me of a series of posts I had published here as early as 2008 on that very subject. This time, the research had been carried out by the OECD and the World Bank.

I then noted that :

(R)ising sea levels between one and three meters by the end of the century are to be considered as realistic. Nasa specialists agree on such figures.

The data is staggering : with such a rise of sea levels, 135 million people would be at risk (…) With five meters, we go up to 500 million people that would need to be relocated.

Back to the Maplecroft research, here is an extract of their press release :

 Population growth in cities combined with socio-economic factors increase climate risks

According to Maplecroft, population growth in these cities combines with poor government effectiveness, corruption, poverty and other socio-economic factors to increase the risks to residents and business.

Infrastructures, which cannot cope at 2011 levels, will therefore struggle to adapt to large population rises in the future, making disaster responses less effective, whilst at the same time these disasters themselves may become more frequent. This has implications for buildings, transportation routes, water and energy supply and the health of the residents.

“Cities such as Manila, Jakarta and Calcutta are vital centres of economic growth in key emerging markets, but heat waves, flooding, water shortages and increasingly severe and frequent storm events may well increase as climate changes takes hold” states Principal Environmental Analyst at Maplecroft Dr Charlie Beldon.

“The impacts of this could have far reaching consequences, not only for local populations, but on business, national economies and on the balance sheets of investors around the world, particularly as the economic importance of these nations is set to dramatically increase.”

When one sees what is taking place in Bangkok – and the whole Thailand as a matter of fact – one clearly understands we need to act as fast and as big as we can to prevent the worst from occurring.

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