Undersea kingdom: Bangkok to sink beneath the waves

Low-lying communities and entire countries will disappear under the sea

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that Bangkok will go underwater as low-lying communities and entire countries disappear under rising seas.

According to Al Jazeera, Guterres warned of the threat posed by rising sea levels to hundreds of millions of people living in low-lying coastal areas and small island states as new data reveals seas have risen rapidly since 1900.

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Guterres said countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh, and the Netherlands were threatened by the devastating loss of land with big cities such as Bangkok, London, and Shanghai set to disappear completely. Shockingly, this was the first UN Security Council debate on rising sea levels.

Guterres said…

“The danger is especially acute for nearly 900 million people who live in coastal zones at low elevations — that’s one out of 10 people on Earth.”

With rising sea levels, Bangkok will go underwater
Elevations typically under 1.5 metres, Bangkok will all but disappear under rising tides.

Climate change is heating the planet and melting glaciers and ice sheets which, according to NASA, resulted in Antarctica shedding some 150 billion tons of ice mass each year on average, Guterres said. Greenland’s ice cap is shrinking even faster and losing 270 billion tons per year.

Guterres said…

“The global ocean has warmed faster over the past century than at any time in the past 11,000 years.

“Our world is hurtling past the 1.5-degree warming limit that a liveable future requires and, with present policies, is careening towards 2.8 degrees – a death sentence for vulnerable countries.”

Developing countries, in particular, must have the resources to adapt to a rapidly changing world and that means ensuring the US$100 billion climate commitment to developing countries is delivered.

Competition for water and land

The UN chief offered examples of communities and countries stretching from the Pacific to the Himalayan river basins.

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Ice melting in the Himalayas has already worsened flooding in Pakistan, he said. But as the Himalayan glaciers recede in the coming decades, the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra rivers will shrink. Hundreds of millions of people living in the river basins of the Himalayas will suffer the effects of both rising sea levels and the intrusion of saltwater.

Bangkok will go underwater, not just because of rising sea levels, but, much like Shanghai, because of the enormous weight of buildings bearing down on what is, essentially, a swamp.

Guterres said…

“We see similar threats in the Mekong Delta and beyond. The consequences of all of this are unthinkable. Low-lying communities and entire countries could disappear forever. We would witness a mass exodus of entire populations on a biblical scale.”

With rising sea levels creating new arenas for conflict as competition for freshwater sources and land intensifies, the secretary general said the climate crisis needs to be addressed at its root cause: reducing emissions. Development is not the solution. Development is the cause of the problems.

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Understanding the link between climate and human rights provisions is also needed, particularly to address the displacement of people and loss of territories.

Guterres said…

“People’s human rights do not disappear because their homes do.”

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Rivers of death, coming to a soi near you any minute now.

The meeting of the Security Council heard speakers from some 75 countries, all voicing concern about the effect of rising sea waters, the Associated Press reported.

Undersea kingdom: Bangkok to sink beneath the waves | News by Thaiger

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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