April 15, 2021

Climate crisis is knocking at our doors

2 min read

I WOULD like to bring to theattention of readers an article

published in the Oct 29 issue of the journal Nature, which addressed the problems of the alarming rise in sea-level and coastal flooding, “New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding” (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12808-z).

It reports that: “Central estimates in the recent literature broadly agree that global mean sea level is likely to rise 20–30cm by 2050. End-of-century projections diverge more, with typical central estimates ranging from 50–70cm under representative concentration pathway (RCP) 4.5 and 70–10cm under RCP 8.5, though more recent projections incorporating Antarctic ice sheet dynamics indicate that sea levels may rise 70–100cm under RCP 4.5 and 100–180cm under RCP 8.5, and could even exceed 2m or more in far-tail scenarios. Via a structured elicitation of opinion, experts now estimate there is a 5% chance that 21st century sea-level rise will exceed 2m.”

This model also projected that sea level by the year 2050 would be high enough to submerge low-lying lands that are currently housing 150 million people, with 70% of them in Asian countries, namely China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Japan.

Consequential to this report, it’s undeniably worrying to note the rapid progression of greenhouse effects with carbon emission causing accelerated melting of Antarctic ice, thereby releasing tonnes of water into the sea, resulting in erosion of the sea-coastal line and reduced land mass. Residents of lowlands and coastal areas would need to move to higher ground.

What are we doing to mitigate this problem? Are we being too complacent and minding own business, thinking that it won’t affect our current generation?

Recall that when Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, announced that the national capital would move from Jakarta to the province of East Kalimantan a few months ago, he promised to create a new green-friendly city.

And in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave an astonishing speech about a 50-100-year solution/policy on climate change during the country’s National Rally Day. “We must make this effort, ” he said. “Otherwise one day, our children and grandchildren will be ashamed of what our generation did not do.”

Yes, we should make all possible efforts to protect the natural resources given by Mother Nature by pledging to the three Rs motto – reduce, reuse and recycle waste. This would deliver a “greener” future for our next generations.

DR JO4NN3

Kota Kinabalu