ASP’s Director of Studies and Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate, Andrew Holland, and ASP Program Manager for Climate Security, Esther Babson, were quoted in a Business Insider article regarding the threat of rising sea levels. The quote was from their recent report for the Center for Climate and Security, entitled “Atlantis 2.0: How Climate Change Could Make States Disappear-What That Means for Global Security”.
Both Holland and Babson explore the potential for a humanitarian crisis if sea levels continue to rise at their current rate: “Life is difficult enough on these small islands, surrounded by the vastness of the ocean, without adding the challenges of sea level rise, more dangerous extreme weather, and the loss of food and fresh water resources.” Therefore, they recognize that the danger of rising sea levels extends far beyond what was previously anticipated and could potentially displace and deprive people of food sources and shelter. Levels of migration could increase, uprooting families and disrupting existing lifestyles. Despite partnerships between small islands, the effects of large scale migration will be hard to mitigate and could lead to a global humanitarian crisis.
Holland and Babson note that the effects of rising sea levels are not exclusive to island states: “These problems are not unique to small, poor island nations. It is only that they will be forced to deal with them first.” Larger countries such as the United States and China are not immune, and only “prompt action to slow global warming” can prevent these problems from becoming reality.