Scientists Claim Global Sea Levels Will Rise Even With Paris Agreement


Research compiled by climate scientists from different international organisations concluded that global sea levels are on pace to rise dramatically and threaten the lives of over 100 million people. The scientists estimated the global rise to be between 0.7 to 1.2 metres. However if emissions are not drastically reduced, the rise could even be higher.

The research also stated that if the world abided with the provisions of the Paris Agreement, global sea levels would still rise by over 1 metre.

Nearly 200 countries including the United States signed the Paris Agreement in December 2015. It called for emissions to hit its peak as soon as possible before heading into a decline as a way to limit the increase in global average temperatures to below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to limit the temperature increase to only 1.5C.

Under the administration of Donald Trump, the United States pulled out of the Paris Agreement. However, technically, the U.S. cannot pull out of the accord until 2019.

Scientists have laid out the consequences of rising global sea levels. They believe that for every five years that the peak level of emissions is delayed beyond 2020, global sea levels will rise by another 20cm.

Dr. Carl-Friedrich Schleussner from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a co-author of the study believes delaying action would have catastrophic consequences:

“Our results show that there are quantifiable consequences of delaying action. For millions of people around the world living in coastal areas, every centimetre can make a huge difference – to limit the sea level rise risks, immediate CO2 reduction is key.”

An estimated 100 million people are thought to be living within one metre of the high tide level.

Melting glaciers and ice caps as well as the continuous warming and expansion of ocean water have contributed to the rise in global sea levels. Another factor is the instability of the ice sheets in Antarctica which could significantly contribute to the rise in sea levels unless emission targets are met.

Professor Dave Frame, director of the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute believes people should be convinced that the effects of climate change are very real:

“This is a great example of how delays in mitigation can make the costs of climate change add up. If people aren’t prepared to mitigate on behalf of their children whom they love, it’s hard to see how information about people 300 years away will do more to alter their behaviour.”

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