A study published in Nature Communications on October 29 has shown that the rise of global sea levels due to climate change means the coastlines around the world are three times more exposed than previously thought. According to the report, China accounts for 15-28% of the total population threatened by rising sea levels, with Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta region at great risk.
The writers of the study used a new method with satellite readings that revealed a much starker picture of the future than had previously been expected.
Image via New York Times
The study offers a stark and frightening picture for Asian countries, with large portions of China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, India and The Philippines accounting for a massive 70% of the population living on at-risk lands.
Somewhere between 43-57 million people in China are living on land that could be underwater by the year 2100, according to SupChina. In Shanghai, land to the West of the Huangpu river in the city’s center will be at risk, while massive portions of land in the South of the municipality will also be at risk.
A computer-simulated rendering of what Shanghai will look like if the planet heats up by 4 degrees Celsius. Image via Climate Central
In response to the study, however, Global Times are reporting that Chinese climate expert Zhang Zhiqiang, a deputy director of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation refutes the data, saying that sea levels are not rising as fast as Nature Communications’ findings show. On the other hand, Bai Yunwen, policy director at Greenovation Hub, advised that cities should improve urban planning in the case of future flooding.
[Cover image via Unsplash]