Global Sea Level Rise: What It Means to You and Your Business

Rapidly growing cities and ongoing effects of climate change are making more people vulnerable to rising sea levels

Two-thirds of the global population is expected to live in cities by 2050 and already an estimated 800 million people live in more than 570 coastal cities vulnerable to a sea-level rise of 0.5 meters by 2050. In a vicious circle, urbanization not only concentrates people and property in areas of potential damage and disruption, it also exacerbates those risks—for example, by destroying natural sources of resilience such as coastal mangroves and increasing the strain on groundwater reserves. Intensifying impacts will render an increasing amount of land uninhabitable.  

There are three main strategies for adapting to rising sea levels: 

(1) Engineering projects to keep water out 

(2) Nature-based defenses 

(3) People-based strategies, such as moving households and businesses to safer ground or investing in social capital to make flood-risk communities more resilient.

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