Global sea levels are rising as a result of human-caused global warming and climate change. In 2020, the global mean sea level rose to its highest annual average for satellite records available since record keeping began, at 3.6 inches above the 1993 average. The rising sea levels are putting coastal cities around the world at risk of becoming inundated. According to World Bank figures, a third of Bangkok could be underwater by 2050, while other cities like Hong Kong, Venice, Jakarta, Tokyo, etc. are at risk of frequent flooding.
A report by Greenpeace East Asia highlighted seven Asian coastal cities that are economic centres and analysed how their gross domestic product (GDP) could potentially be impacted by extreme coastal flooding by 2030. The seven cities mentioned were: Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, Jakarta, Manila and Bangkok. The analysis concluded that a total of 724 billion USD, 15 million people, and 1,829 sqkm of land could potentially be affected by sea-level rise and coastal flooding. The estimated GDP impact was up to 96% of each city’s entire GDP.
Monsoon flooding already poses risks to many low-lying cities in countries like India and Bangladesh. Climate models indicate that global warming is expected to increase monsoon rainfall by 14% by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions remain high. India’s coastal regions, home to about 170 million of the country’s 1.4 billion people, are on the front lines of a shifting climate, experiencing sea-level rise, erosion, and natural disasters such as tropical storms and cyclones. Such climate change-driven situations will make some places more habitable than others, leading to migration patterns that could be temporary, permanent, seasonal or cyclical.