Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires could be underwater by 2100
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Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires could be underwater by 2100

Some 130 million people live in high-risk zones from flooding, according to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Heating up

The study outlines the links between the earth’s temperature and climate change heating up the planet by some two to four degrees, resulting in the sea level rising. Around 760 million people live in zones which could be affected by up to a four degree temperature increase, with disastrous results, Colombian daily El Espectador reports.

Climate Central, a nonprofit organization central to the study has released a series of animated videos simulating what climate change could do to the cities set to be affected. Climate change “represents an existencial long-term threat to numerous cities and coastal regions,” Ben Strauss explained, one of the Climate Central authors working on the report.

The video below shows what Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, could look like:

The situation doesn’t look much better for tourist honeytrap Rio de Janeiro:

China is set to be the worst affected by flooding with some 64 million residents in low-lying areas, followed by India with some 55 million, the U.S. with some 25 million residents and Brazil with 16 million residents.

Shanghai, Bombay, Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro were also given as high risk cities due to their geographical location on the coast.

“We have seen the sea level rise by some 20 centimeters ever since preindustrial times, and this is a third of what we could expect to see in 2100 when the world’s temperature increases by some 2 degrees,” the Met Office commented, according to Info news 23.

“Alarming speed”

“We are entering into unknown territory at an alarming speed,”  director of the World Meteorological Organization, Michel Jarraud commented.

“Everyday we keep saying we are running out of time. We have to act now to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases if we want to have any possibility of keeping temperature increase at a manageable level.” 

CO2 continues to be the main cause of climate change. The gas remains in the earth’s atmosphere for centuries. Methane is also at record levels in the earth’s atmosphere, some 1,833ppm in 2014 alone, according to the report.

Some 60 percent of methane emissions can be linked to human activity, with livestock farming and fossil fuels the main contributors to levels of the gas rocketing by 254 percent compared to atmospheric levels in preindustrial times.

Despite Latin America’s keen interest in the recent Paris Climate Conference, COP21, is it too little too late for coastal cities across the continent? From hurricanes to landslides, drought to extreme rainfall, Latin America continues to be battered by evidence of climate change and the worst, it would seem, is yet to come.

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