More than 20 million people in the United States could be forced to abandon their homes if carbon emissions are not checked.
A team of scientists have just calculated how many U.S cities are at risk of being flooded in the future and how many people will be affected by it.
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The land, on which 20 to 31 million people live, will submerged at some point in the future if sea levels continue to rise the same way as they are right now. The iconic coastal cities of United States such as New York, New Orleans and Miami will be hit hard by the rising seas and some 10 million American homes will disappear under the water.
Green house gas emissions are causing climate change. These emissions will take global warming above 2 degrees Celsius if continued unchecked and will push global sea levels up to a striking 14 to 32 feet by the year 2100. If carbon emissions are not cut drastically, millions of people in the United States could be forced to abandon their homes.
“For unabated climate change, we find that land that is home to more than 20 million people is implicated and is widely disturbed among different states and coasts. The total area includes 1,185–1,825 municipalities where land that is home to more than half of the current population would be affected, among them at least 21 cities exceeding 100,000 residents.” Lead author, Benjamin Strauss from Princeton University and his colleagues wrote in the study.
It’s hard to imagine how south Florida and New Orleans can survive in the long run,” said a team member from scientists. “That should concern any American of any political stripe.”
One of biggest threats is the destabilization of the ice sheet of West Antarctica. If this sheet remains stable, more than half of the municipalities would escape drowning. But many fear that the West Antarctic ice sheet collapse is evitable and irreversible too. Without curbing carbon emissions, the magnitude of sea levels rise will reach a staggering level.
"If we don’t cut emissions,” said Strauss, “We’re talking about losing American land home to more people that live in any state, except for California and Texas. Home to more people than the state of Florida and New York.”
Scientists are not sure about when it will exactly happen.
Some of this could happen as early as next century but, it also might take many centuries,” said Strauss. “Just think of a pile of ice in a warm room. You know it’s going to melt, but it’s harder to say how quickly.”
To tackle climate change, more than 145 countries have proposed their plans at United Nations platform.
“Future emissions will determine which areas we can continue to occupy and or may have to abandon.” Study concludes.