As sea levels continue rise due to climate change, more cities around the world are in serious danger.


Christopher Owen

According to the New York Times and new scientific research, rising levels of water could possibly affect three times more people by 2050 than researchers believed. This can be blamed mostly on the wrath of climate change and how much it has affected our environment in negative ways. One major problem that is caused by this issue is an increase in worldwide ocean levels. As ocean levels rise, world-renowned coastal cities are at an increased likelihood of being wiped out. 


Numerous studies conclude there are roughly 150 million people living in places that will be below high tide by 2050. They have a greater risk of having their homes destroyed by flooding. An even more recent outlook on this issue is showing the entire bottom part of the U.S. to be completely underwater at high tide. Ocean waters could reach farther inland as this problem worsens, washing out more land that once could have been forests, farmland, and habitats to millions of animals. Not only are rising sea levels threatening the U.S., but rising water levels put dozens of other cities at risk. In Vietnam, 21% of its population (20 million people) is currently living on land that will be inundated by midcentury. Ho Chi Minh City (its economic and finance center) would vanish too. More than 10% of Thailand’s citizens reside in areas that have a very good chance of being flooded by 2050. This is a massive increase from previous years, where only 1% of the population was at risk. Taking a look at Shanghai, one of the most famous centers in the world and Asia’s most important economic cities, researchers analyze that water is threatening to engulf the city and many others nearby. 


The impacts of climate change are being felt by more people, and this is pressuring cities to act towards mitigating the effects and invest money to build adequate protection. Rising water levels will force poor farmers off their fields to find work somewhere in cities, leading to an excess amount of people confined in one area. Currently, 110 million people live in locations where the high tide mark is above them. According to Benjamin Strauss, who is the CEO of Climate Central (an active organization that studies climate change), cities that are located beneath the high tide mark should spend money on establishing protective measures. These studies have also predicted most of Mumbai, India’s economic capital, possibly being wiped off the map. Mumbai has started taking protective measures to prevent their city from being washed out.


With all of that said, cities that are at a very high threat of inundation should begin preparing now so citizens can re-locate further inland. Not only are modern cities at risk of being wiped out. Cultural heritage such as Alexandria in Egypt (founded around 330 B.C.) could be lost to rising sea levels. As we can see, climate change is affecting not only the natural environment, but our social and political lives as well. John Castellaw, a former Marine Corps lieutenant who was chief for the United States Central Command during the Iraq War, says that this problem “threatens to drive further social and political instability in the region, which could reignite armed conflict and increase the likelihood of terrorism.” “So this is far more than an environmental problem. It’s a humanitarian, security and possibly military problem too.” Obviously, rising sea levels related to the warming of the planet is a huge problem for mankind. Everyone should become informed about these potential threats.