UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Tuesday released alarming new data indicating a significant increase in coastal flooding risks.
Over the past two decades, sea level rise has already increased the flood risk for 14 million people in coastal areas. This risk is expected to grow nearly fivefold by 2100, affecting nearly 73 million people.
The UNDP, in collaboration with the Climate Impact Lab (CIL), unveiled this data through the Human Climate Horizons platform.
This tool provides detailed mapping of flood susceptibility, highlighting the areas where homes and infrastructure are most at risk due to sea-level rise. The data suggests a doubling of flood risk exposure in coastal cities by the end of the century.
Notably, regions in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia are facing severe threats of permanent inundation. This could have dramatic implications for human development, with low-lying areas in various Small Island Developing States at particular risk.
Under the most severe global warming projections, around 160,000 square kilometers of coastal land could be underwater by 2100. This scenario would affect major coastal cities in countries like Ecuador, India, and Vietnam. However, significant emission reductions could save about half of this at-risk land from inundation, according to the report.
Pedro Conceicao, director of UNDP's Human Development Report Office, emphasized the urgent need for action to mitigate these risks.
"Our new research from UNDP and Climate Impact Lab is another reminder to the decision makers going to COP28 that the time to act is now," he said.
COP28 refers to the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The COP28 meeting is scheduled to be held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12.
The report cautions that without effective shoreline defenses, several major cities worldwide could see over 5 percent of their area submerged by the century's end.
The Human Climate Horizons platform not only highlights sea-level rise but also explores climate change's broader impacts on temperature, mortality, energy use, and workforce dynamics across 24,000 global regions.
Hannah Hess of the CIL underscored that these projections should be a call to action.