One fifth of Bangladesh’s population is at risk of flooding and coastal erosion

The effects of rising sea levels, caused by global warming, is more serious than previously thought. About 70 per cent of the populations threatened by displacement live in Asia. According to a new study, 110 million people in the world live in areas below the high tide line.

Dhaka (AsiaNews/Agencies) – If greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, rising sea levels might submerge the land that is now home to a fifth of the population of Bangladesh, this according to research by Nature Communications, quoted by the World Economic Forum (WEF)

Rising sea levels, caused by global warming, threaten to displace millions of people around the world. In an article, the WEF suggests that the world case scenario is already unfolding in the Sundarbans, south-western Bangladesh, home to the largest mangroves ecoregion, which is subject to cyclones.

Other threatened areas are China’s Pearl River Delta; metro ​​Jakarta in Indonesia, where the authorities plan to move the country's capital; and Bangkok’s coastline in Thailand.

According to a new model developed by the experts, 110 million people already live below the high tide level rather than a hitherto estimated 28 million.

About 250 million people (equal to the populations of the United Kingdom, Russia and Spain combined) also live in areas prone to floods, not 68 million as previously believed.

Coastal erosion caused by climate change was one of the most debated issues at the famous Paris climate summit, where insular countries highlighted real threats to their very survival.

For researchers, if greenhouse gas emissions were to peak in 2020, one fifth of Bangladesh and Vietnam will end up below the high tide line. If global warming continues unabated, the proportion will increase to a third.

Broadly speaking, more than 70 per cent of those living on at-risk land are in eight Asian countries: Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, China, and Japan.