Liberia’s Atlantic coast is being taken over by the rising sea level at an astonishing rate.
The Liberian Observer states:
Rising sea levels: This is one of the major hurdles that Liberia has to face now and for many years to come as many towns are being submerged by the sea. The once famous Hotel Africa in Virginia, which is now in ruins, is in the sea. Buchanan’s once admired Atlantic Street is being wiped out along with many other towns and villages.
The African cities of Alexandria, in Egypt; Lagos, in Nigeria; and Monrovia, Liberia are among the top five cities most vulnerable to sea level rises, according to a report by the Centre for Global Development. The US think tank based its projections on the vulnerability of coastal populations to storm surges if sea level rises in line with U.N. projections. The report looked at cities’ geographic features, the population at risk and economic activities that would be compromised. At the top of the list is Manila, capital of the Philippines, which was heavily hit by tropical storm Ketsana in October 2009. Karachi in Pakistan, Indonesia’s Jakarta and Port Said, in Egypt, were also in the top ten as was Panos, London.
Reuters News Agency reported that as talks on a global climate deal in Copenhagen ran into disagreements over how to share the burden of emissions cuts, some residents of low-lying coastal Africa said they had more pressing concerns.
Rising sea levels caused by the melting of polar ice caps are seen by climate experts as largely unavoidable for centuries to come, even if substantial cuts in carbon dioxide emissions are made. “Like a slowly boiling kettle, the oceanic system has a very long response time to changing conditions and the seas will go on slowly rising for centuries even if all greenhouse gas emissions stopped tomorrow,” wrote Mark Lynas, a British climate expert and author who advises the government of the Maldives.
The U.N.’s climate change panel in 2007 predicted global warming would raise sea levels by between 18 and 59 cm (7 and 24 inches) this century. Many climate scientists believe the estimate is conservative, and a rise of a meter or more is likely. Either way, it could spell disaster for much of coastal Africa, especially densely populated tropical West Africa whose economic centers sprawl along the coast.The United Nations estimates Africa has 320 coastal cities and about 56 million people living in “low lying” coastal zones (less than 10 meters above mean sea level).
“It is all due to climate change – the greenhouse gas emissions result in global warming and subsequent melting of the Greenland ice cap” (Cramer).
The 20 most vulnerable cities to sea-level rise (UN medium population projections) are:
Port Said, Egypt
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil