Study: Paris Agreement Pledges Not Enough to Stop Sea-Level Rise


(CN) – Despite a push for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions with the Paris Climate Agreement, new research released Monday shows Earth’s oceans will still rise more than three feet due to the pollution currently produced.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences projects the global mean sea-level rise will continue long after global temperatures stabilize as a result of emissions cutting programs.

Using models to determine future sea levels, the research team from the non-governmental organization Climate Analytics discovered that emissions from 1991-2030 will be responsible for a three-foot increase in global sea level by 2300.

About a quarter of this rise can be attributed to the five top emitters of greenhouse gases – the United States, China, the European Union, Russia and India – during the time period, suggesting that the pollution already created will likely affect sea levels for hundreds of years.

Researchers used a sea level emulator program to determine the effect of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide on global glaciers, the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Antarctic Ice Sheet, among others. Even assuming the global mean temperature rise is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the goal under the Paris Agreement, the study’s authors said the damage has already been done.

“Our analysis demonstrates that even [greenhouse gas] emissions over the first decades of the 21st century will shape coastlines around the globe for centuries to come,” the study states.

A study released last week found that rising sea levels could wash away several coastal cities by 2050, affecting more than 150 million people – millions more than previously thought.

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