Global warming is inevitable. The effects of the phenomenon can already be felt and they are definitely going to get worse over the next few decades – even if energy measures are taken, it will take them a long time to take effect. One therefore has to face the problem and adapt. And, the most difficult problem is rising sea levels.
There are 3 strategies to deal with rising sea levels: containing water, living with it or retreating. The first means building dykes or improving existing ones to retain water. In the Netherlands, a quarter of the country is below sea level. After the 1953 tidal wave, the government started a project to stop such a disaster ever happening again. It was called the Delta Plan and was spread over 30 years. However, it isn’t possible to raise ground levels and build dykes everywhere. It is also very expensive.
The second method is resisting floods: for example, building houses on stilts, providing amphibious means of transport, etc. There aren’t many solutions. One thing is sure: building near the sea is not a long-lasting investment…
It is not easy to leave and go to higher altitudes when there is no land. And for many people, losing their land or their home means poverty, unless compensation systems are set up but this is rarely the case. The Bangladeshis will not be the only casualties: if sea levels rise by several metres, Manhattan will also be under water. 50% of the world’s population lives less than 60 km away from coasts.
For the moment, adaptation measures are containing most of the effects of global warming. But they could become insufficient. This is another reason for which we must fight both the causes and the effects of global warming.