Carbon Lock-in Could Doom Coastal Cities
Sea-level rise is a vexed issue in climate discussions because everyone wants to know where sea level’s going to be in 2050, or 2100 — years that we can, at least dimly, imagine. I’ll still be alive in 2050, presumably, and my kids or grandkids in 2100, with any luck.
For every degree Celsius that global average temperature rises, we can expect 2.3 meters of sea-level rise sometime over the ensuing 2,000 years. (U.S. translation: for every degree Fahrenheit, 4.2 feet of rising seas get locked in.) We are currently on track to hit 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, if not sooner. That means locking in 9.2 meters, or 30 feet, of sea level rise. Suffice to say, that would wipe out most of the major coastal cities and towns in the world.
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