United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concerns over the rising level of oceans and said India was among the countries that were most vulnerable.
Guterres highlighted a report that claimed the level of oceans was rising faster than expected due to climate change. He stated that unless countries changed their way of functioning, 300 million people will face the threat of floods by 2050.
“Dramatically, the most vulnerable areas are exactly in Southeast Asia, in Japan, China, Bangladesh and India,” Guterres said speaking to reporters in Bangkok where he is attending the ASEAN Summit, adding that 10% of Thailand’s population was likely to be flooded. He said these nations need to set an example and work towards carbon pricing, ending subsidies and construction of coal plants to tackle climate change.
The research, published in the journal Nature on October 29, said that a rise in sea levels may wash out some of the famous coastal cities in the world, including Mumbai, in (approximately) the next 30 years.
The authors of the research paper found that about 150 million people are currently living on land that may be below the high-tide line by the time we reach the middle of the century.
Guterres said that while people may mull over how precise the figures were, it was plainly evident that climate change was “running faster” and was the most significant threat to the planet and humankind at the moment.
He said the United Nations was deeply committed to bringing the counteractive action to the attention of business communities, civil societies, and governments.
“And for that to be possible, we need to be carbon neutral in 2050 and reduce the emissions by 45% in the next decade,” Guterres said.
He added that there is an “addiction to coal” that countries need to overcome.