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  • Gayathma Weerawanni

Triple Bottom Tuesday>>> Climatic crisis! UK warns about rising sea levels.

Picture Credit : Markus Spiske

The chief executive of the United Kingdom's Environment Agency has delivered a severe warning to coastal towns, admitting that the effects of climate change will force people to relocate, both in the United Kingdom and other countries, due to increasing sea levels and coastal erosion.

In what he called the "hardest of all inconvenient truths," James Bevan stated that climate change meant that, in the long run, some of the communities and towns, both in the UK and around the world, wouldn’t be able to stay where they are currently at.

The most visible manifestation of rapid globalization is climate change. This has become a highly complex issue, making it the most challenging and unique issue of our time. In his keynote address to the World Federation of United Nations Associations, UN Secretary General Ban emphasized that "we have less than ten years to halt the worldwide growth in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avert catastrophic effects for people and the earth."

Rising sea levels have been the focal point of climate change negotiations, with Small Island Developing States, or SIDS, highlighting it as the main issue.

The World Meteorological Organization said the global mean sea level had reached a new record high in 2021, rising an average of 4.5 mm per year over the period 2013–2021.

The world has already committed to some degree of rising sea levels and coastal erosion as a result of the long-term melt of ice sheets due to climate change. The post-industrial era of widespread fossil fuel usage has substantially increased the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) to unhealthy levels, causing environmental and infrastructure damage in many SIDS and other low-lying places.

It's not necessary to further look into the future to realize that SIDS are already threatened by rising tides, cyclones, flooding, damaged crops, increasing disease, coastal inundation, and the loss of freshwater supplies. As there is a need for a variety of adaptation techniques, which in some cases will necessitate the relocation of coastal towns as land is lost to the sea, it’s time that many individuals who see global warming as a vague phenomenon must perhaps begin to question how their lives might well be affected in the future.

Beaches and sand dunes, which many people love about the coast, may someday soon be drowned unless we start planning now for how the coast can react to rising sea levels.

Community relocation would be controversial as the international community has ignored the humanitarian concerns confronting the people of small island states who are internally displaced or have abandoned their islands over the past years. This could be achieved for the majority of the coastal towns in the world with the correct actions over the next few years, with the views of the people living in those areas, as no one should be compelled to leave their homes against their will.

Picture Credit: Kelly Sikkema

June 21st 2022 | 17:00 PM

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