UN Secretary General warns of mass exodus of entire populations
UN Secretary General, António Guterres, is again not mincing words when he spoke about the ‘torrent of trouble’ facing a billion people that could yield ‘a mass exodus of entire populations on a biblical scale’ when he addressed the UN Security Council this week.
Our failures to act on the climate crisis have triggered a trajectory of sea level rise that is greater than anything in several thousand years. This rise has already rendered places uninhabitable and more low-lying regions are being consumed for good. We’re already seeing conflicts over increasingly scarce resources, and tensions over migrations. It’s not just about losing land and fresh water, though. It affects everything we know. Just looking at the social implications, Prof Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary General concludes that “sea level rise imposes risks to economies, livelihoods, settlements, health, wellbeing, food and water security and cultural values in the near to long term.”
While the Pacific islands might be the first thing that comes to mind when pondering sea level rise, the Arctic is the key driver. Did you know that Greenland is currently the largest contributor to global sea level rise and contains the potential of 7.4m (>24 feet) of rise? Antarctica is the proverbial sleeping giant, starting to wake. Research published in Nature by Arctic Basecamp scientists highlights the destabilization of Greenland caused through the continued pumping of emissions into our atmosphere that has committed a minimum average of 27cm of heightened water levels.
We have the power for this not to be our future. We must cut emissions urgently. Beyond emissions, however, we need to look at the SDGs. Did you know that the Arctic’s global climate influence means it is pivotal to achieving the SDGs? Gender, poverty, education, food security, they are all key to surviving the Incoming Tide.
Check out Arcticrisk.org to understand how these all link up! Especially our new work on climate vulnerable countries and SDGs.
Image credit: Wikimedia