Rising seas could displace millions in Vietnam: UN

The United Nations is urging countries to act now to slash carbon pollution and curb global warming, especially vulnerable small coastal states like Vietnam. The Paris Agreement goal of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius will slip beyond reach unless nations act now to slash carbon pollution, curb energy demand, and suck CO2 from the air, according to a draft UN report. Without such efforts, “holding warming to 1.5 C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the 21st century [is] extremely unlikely,” said the 1,000-page report, prepared by hundreds of scientists. “There is a very high risk that under current emissions trajectories, and current national pledges, global warming will exceed 1.5 C above preindustrial levels.” On current trends, Earth’s thermometer will cross that threshold in the 2040s, said the report. Pressure for the lower temperature target and the report came from nations whose fate could turn on the half-degree difference between a 1.5 C and 2 C world. Rising seas, for example, threaten the existence of small island states and could displace tens of millions in Vietnam, Bangladesh and other countries with densely populated river deltas. “There is a tipping point on sea level rise” — driven mainly by melting icesheets on Greenland and Antarctica — “somewhere between 1.5 C and 2 C,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “With 2C, according to our models, sea level will just keep on rising,” he told AFP. With only a single degree Celsius… [Read full story]

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