Time to sell your seaside property

Maciamo

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Do you live in the coastal city or own a second home at the beach? It's high time to think about selling. Why? Global warming of course. If you haven't heard yet, It has been accelerating like crazy in the last few months, jumping from +1°C above pre-industrial averages at the beginning of 2023 to plus 1.5°C in July and August and plus 1.8°C in September. All indications are that the rise is not going to slow down in the coming months and we might very well reach plus 2°C of warming around December or January.

If you think it doesn't sound like much, then you should read my explanation about what degrees of warming really mean. In brief, warming is much more intense in the polar regions (Arctic and Antarctica) and the average for the earth should be multiplied approximately by 10. So +2° of average warming globally translates as +20° in polar regions. But even that number is misleading as it is still a monthly or yearly average, and occasional heat waves could bring that to +30° or +40° for several weeks. This is actually what happened in Canada this summer, which caused the world's biggest forest fires, burning an area seven times the size of New Zealand.

So what is going to happen once we reach 2 degrees of warming? I had a look at this sea level rise simulator to check what the actual effects of 2°C would be. Of course it's not going to happen overnight as the climate hits the +2°C mark. Ice takes time to melt, maybe several years. What is certain is that once the +2°C have been reached, there is no going back. It can only go up from there, never down. In fact, even if the world became magically carbon neutral overnight, the Earth would keep warming up for years before the temperatures stabilise. To reduce the global temperatures the world would need to become carbon negative, meaning that plants absorb more CO2 than all emissions. As all animals emit CO2 through cellular respiration, in a world with over 8 billion people who need to be fed with hundreds of millions of animals, even with carbon neutral energy, transports and construction, it's not going to happen. It's much harder to lower the Earth's temperature than to increase it. It could take hundreds of years to go back to the level of the 1990s.

Concretely, the following regions are going to be under water in a few years. I don't know how long from now. It could be 3 years, 5 years, 10 years... Anyway it's not going to happen at the same time everywhere as the elevation isn't the same everywhere.

Europe
  • In Italy, the Po delta, including Venice, Chioggia, Rovigo, Ferrara and Ravenna, will be flooded.
  • All the coast from western Jutland in Denmark to Calais in France, including Frisia, Holland and Zeeland in the Netherlands, the Belgian coast and the cities and Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges will be under the sea level. Some areas in the Netherlands already are and are protected by dikes, but these will needed to be extended internationally to cover about 1000 km of coastline.
  • In England, sea will flood a good part of Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire, as well as parts of Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent and the Thames Estuary.
  • Many Mediterranean seaside resorts will be at least partly submerged or won't have a beach anymore.

Americas
  • Many parts of the East coast of the USA will be affected. Cities that will suffer the most include Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Savannah, Charleston, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newark, and Boston.
  • In Canada, only the south of Vancouver will be affected. Likewise, Australia is mostly safe.
  • Few major cities will suffer from the sea level rise in Latin America, although Brazil will lose Marajó island (as big as The Netherlands) and a lot of coastal forests.
Asia
  • More than half of Bangladesh will be under water. The country now has 173 million people and is the world's most densely populated country (except for city states and small island states). The flooded part will be the one where most people live, so it's likely than tens of millions, if not 100 million people, will need to be displaced.
  • Kolkata (Calcutta), in India's neighbouring state of West Bengal, will also be under water. That's an additional 15 million people.
  • About half of the greater Mumbai (26 million people) will be flooded.
  • All the greater Bangkok region will be under water. That's over 11 million people.
  • All the south of Vietnam and Cambodia, including the cities of Ho Chi Minh and Phom Penh will be under water. This region has about 20 million people.
  • In China, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Tianjin and a good part of Shandong Province will be under water. That's over 200 million people.
  • In Indonesia, larges swathes of Sumatra, Java and Borneo will be affected.
  • All of southern Mesopotamia (Basrah, Amarah, Nasiriyah), the ancient home of the Sumerians, will disappear under the sea.

Africa
  • Africa will be mostly safe. The most affected region will be the Nile Delta and Alexandria, Nouakchott in Mauritania, St Louis in Senegal, and parts of Lagos in Nigeria.
Oceania
  • Most cities in Australia and New Zealand are located on the coast. The relief of each city is unique and some areas will be flooded while others will remain safe (for now). Check the map to know if your area will be affected.
  • Some Pacific islands will already be submerged.
 
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