Climate Change / Coal / Energy

Sea levels to rise 1.3m unless coal power ends by 2050, report says

University of Melbourne paper combines latest understanding on Antarctica and current emissions projection scenarios

The extra contribution to sea level rise from Antarctica will not kick in if warming is kept at less than 1.9C above preindustrial levels, the researchers found. Photograph: IceBridge/Nasa

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — “Coastal cities around the world could be devastated by 1.3m of sea level rise this century unless coal-generated electricity is virtually eliminated by 2050, according to a new paper that combines the latest understanding of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise and the latest emissions projection scenarios.

It confirms again that significant sea level rise is inevitable and requires rapid adaptation. But, on a more positive note, the work reveals the majority of that rise – driven by newly recognised processes on Antarctica – could be avoided if the world fulfils its commitment made in Paris to keep global warming to ‘well below 2C’.

…The new paper by Alexander Nauels from the University of Melbourne and colleagues uses simplified physical models that allowed them to explore all known contributions to sea level rise, and pair them with the new generation of emissions scenarios which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will use in the next set of reports.

They found that if nothing is done to limit carbon pollution, then global sea levels will rise by an estimated 1.32m. That is 50% more than was previously thought, with the IPCC’s AR5 report suggesting 85cm was possible by the end of the century.”

— Michael Slezack, The Guardian

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