In February 2021, it was announced that sea levels will rise an extra 25% ᶦ on top of the IPCC original prediction of 0.43m to 0.84m by the year 2100.ᶦᶦ With sea levels rising, many of the world’s coves are at risk of being wiped out or completely submerged. Climate scientists assert that these rises in temperatures are likely to welcome extreme weather changes such as droughts, storms, flooding, and wildfires, consequently destroying natural habitats. ᶦᶦᶦ
1. Osaka, Japan
Osaka is of Japan’s largest commercial centres and its low sea level poses a significant risk; Osaka is one of the world’s ten port cities most exposed to typhoons and heavy flooding.ᶦᵛ If temperatures rise by 3 degrees Celsius, the larger majority of Osaka will be submerged.ᵛ In 2018, Typhoon Jebi flooded Kansai airport resulting in thousands of passengers stranded. As an economic powerhouse, there is over $200 billion worth of assets at risk from global warming, which could multiply to $1 trillion by 2070. ᵛᶦ Furthermore, if Osaka goes underwater, this can displace up to 5.2 million people. ᵛᶦᶦ
2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system on the planet, spanning more than 1,400 miles,ᵛᶦᶦᶦ and reviewed every 5 years by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The last report in 2019 highlighted climate change as the most significant threat to the reef as evidenced by the mass bleachings of coral in 2016 and 2017.ᶦˣ An aerial survey by the Great Barrier Reef in 2020 revealed a third mass bleaching in 5 years, with 60% of the coral in the reef dying as a result, prompting swift action to create recovery hubs and ensure restoration. ˣ Coral reefs are the oceanic equivalent to forests as the ‘lungs of the earth’. According to United Nations Environment authority (UNEP), more than half of the world’s reefs are in danger of deterioration, but up to 10% of reefs may be preserved by limiting temperature levels to 1.5 degrees Celsius or less and up to 50% may be preserved by limiting temperatures to below 1.2 degrees Celsius.ˣᶦ
3. Venice, Italy
The ‘City of Water’ could soon turn into the ‘City underwater’. Climate scientists have predicted sea levels rising 1.04 meters by 2100, which could lead to extreme flooding in Venice every 5 years by 2050, and every 5 months by 2100.ˣᶦᶦ If Venice is lost, the world stands to lose hundreds of years of culture, art, and architecture that represents Italy’s rich heritage. ˣᶦᶦᶦ
4. The Maldives
Several estimates suggest around 77% of the Maldives could be underwater by 2100. The change will be the result of wave-driven flooding from rising sea levels which could render the atolls uninhabitable. ˣᶦᵛ Flood waters can wash out key infrastructure and freshwater for drinking. If current greenhouse gas emissions persist, the Maldives will eventually lack the ability to sustain life by the mid-21st century, submerging entirely within the next 81 years.ˣᵛ
5. The Alps
Increasing temperatures and a decrease in snowfall mean glacial retreat, species migration, changing seasonal cycles of plants and animals, and increasing rock fall. ˣᵛᶦ Over the last century, global warming has caused all Alpine glaciers to recede, leading to an upward migration of Alpine plants at a rate of 0.5-4 meters per decade. This means that Alpine species are being displaced to higher altitudes until they have nowhere to go and eventually go extinct.ˣᵛᶦᶦ With temperatures increasing 2 degree Celsius; twice the global average, glaciers have lost half their ice volume since the 1850s, making a large number of medium-size and small glaciers likely to disappear within the first half of this century. Climate change threatens to alter the Alpine ‘water cycle’ drastically and can potentially affect the quality and quantity of water supplied to many Europeans. ˣᵛᶦᶦᶦ
ᶦ B Gallizi, ‘Climate Change: The Tourist Destinations that Could Disappear if Sea Levels Rise By 1 Metre’ (ecobnb 2021), <https://ecobnb.com/blog/2021/02/climate-change-tourist-destinations-that-could-disappear-sea-levels/> accessed 3 June 2021.
ᶦᶦ M Oppenheimer et al, ‘ Special Report: Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ (IPCC), <https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/chapter/chapter-4-sea-level-rise-and-implications-for-low-lying-islands-coasts-and-communities/> accessed 3 June 2021.
ᶦᶦᶦ D Fahey, ‘6 bucket list destinations at risk disappearing due to climate change’ (Lonely Planet, 2020), <https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/climate-change-effects-on-tourism> accessed 3 June 2021.
ᶦᵛ A Ribarchik, ‘Climate Hot Map, Global Warming Effects Around the World, Osaka, Japan’ (Union of Concerned Scientists), <https://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-locations/osaka-japan.html> accessed 3 June 2021.
ᵛ T M Morton, ’18 Destinations Impacted by Climate Change’ (CNTraveler, 2020), <https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/10-places-to-visit-before-theyre-lost-to-climate-change> accessed 3 June 2021.
ᵛᶦ Climate Reality Project, ‘How the Climate Crisis Impacts Japan’ (CRP, 2019), <https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/how-climate-crisis-impacts-japan> accessed 3 June 2021
ᵛᶦᶦ J Holder, N Kommenda and J Watts, ‘The three-degree world: the citites that will be drowned by global warming’, (TheGuardian, 2017), <https://www.theguardian.com/cities/ng-interactive/2017/nov/03/three-degree-world-cities-drowned-global-warming> accessed 3 June 2021
ᵛᶦᶦᶦ Morton (n5)
ᶦˣ Fahey (n3)
ˣ Great Barrier Reef Foundation, ‘ Great Barrier Reef Faces Most Widespread Bleaching on Record’, (GBRF, 2020), <https://www.barrierreef.org/news/blog/great-barrier-reef-faces-most-widespread-bleaching-on-record> accessed 3 June 2021.
ˣᶦ Fahey (n3)
ˣᶦᶦ Gallizi (n1)
ˣᶦᶦᶦ T Law, ‘It’s Not Just Flooding In Venice. Here’s How Climate Change Threatens World Heritage Sites Everywhere’, (Time, 2019), <https://time.com/5736322/venice-flooding-climate-change/> accessed 3 June 2021.
ˣᶦᵛ R Cavanaugh, ‘Famous tourist destinations being impacted by climate change’, (stacker, 2019), <https://stacker.com/stories/3184/famous-tourist-destinations-being-impacted-climate-change> accessed 3 June 2021.
ˣᵛ J Puckett, ’10 Places Threatened by Climate Change You Should Visit Now’, (ThePointsGuyUK,2019), <https://thepointsguy.co.uk/news/places-threatened-by-climate-change/> accessed 3 June 2021
ˣᵛᶦ J Stretton, ‘How Climate Change is Affecting the Alps’, (RuntheAlps, 2019), <https://runthealps.com/how-climate-change-is-affecting-the-alps/> accessed 3 June 2021.
ˣᵛᶦᶦ WWF, <https://wwf.panda.org/discover/knowledge_hub/where_we_work/alps/problems/climate_change/?> accessed 3 June 2021
ˣᵛᶦᶦᶦ European Environment Agency, ‘Alps- The impacts of climate change in Europe today’, (EEA Europe, 2021) <https://www.eea.europa.eu/signals/signals-2010/alps> accessed 3 June 2021.