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G L O B A L  W A R M I N G : C O A S T E L  A R E A S
Day after Tomorrow
We should brace ourselves for doomsday

The day is not far when some of world’s most densely populated coastlines of India, China and South Asian nations will be obliterated by the blue waters. The rise in temperature and the resultant rise in sea levels in all likelihood will submerge many inhabited regions under the sea. Livelihood and property worth billions of dollars would be damaged. At present, around 10% of the global population living in coastal zones is at immediate risk of a rise in sea levels. Global warming occupies the centrestage in these doomsday predictions.

Studies portray that a one metre rise in the sea level will cause damage to the tune of approximately Rs 5 trillion ($150b) worth of property in Goa. A one meter rise in the sea level can result in a loss of an area of 5,763 sq km and a displacement of seven million people. Globally, these coastlines account for almost 2.2% of the world’s land mass. These coastlines provide shelter to almost 13% of the urban population. The worst sufferers of rise in sea levels will be the low-income group, as they depend primarily on these coastlines for food, shelter and their livelihood. The developing countries shall bear the brunt of this phenomenon, where about 246m people reside in this danger zone. Around 50% of the population in some underdeveloped economies rely directly on coastal areas for their livelihood.

Global warming in the near future is likely to cause major climatic changes that would include cyclones and drought. In India, change in the pattern of the annual rainfall induced by the monsoon is imminent. It is also estimated that the intensity of the El Niño effect would exponentially increase. As a result, more areas of the world are likely to be affected by flood and drought.

Climatologists have cited the increased intensity of storms on the coast of Florida as an example of the impending crisis. Beyond politics, it is imperative that global initiative is taken for changing the state of affairs. After all, rising sea levels would definitely not distinguish between New York and Mumbai.

Akram Haque & Sray Agarwal

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