New Orleans, Miami and other low lying cities in the US will be no more in the 22nd century due to the rising sea levels, according to a new study. If the human race continues in the same vein with its high level of carbon emissions and burning fossil fuels, the polar ice caps will continue to melt at an alarming rate.
The authors of the study were unable to pinpoint an exact time for this but did state that if we were to reach peak carbon emissions by 2020, these cities may have been completely submerged by 2050. This worst case scenario would see sea levels rise between 14ft and 32ft, said lead author Ben Strauss, vice president for sea level and climate impacts at Climate Central.
Speaking about his report, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Strauss told AFP: "Some of this could happen as early as next century. But it might also take many centuries. Just think of a pile of ice in a warm room. You know it is going to melt, but it is harder to say how quickly.
"In our analysis, a lot of cities have futures that depend on our carbon choices but some appear to be already lost. And it is hard to imagine how we could defend Miami in the long run. New Orleans is a really sad story. It is a lot worse looking than Miami."
In the worst-case scenario, New York is also at danger with the study setting a date of 2085 of submergence if carbon emissions get worse. However, Strauss says that if we act now and have carbon emissions in 2050 that are as low as they were in 1950, then the cities could be saved. Strauss said: "We were really trying to show what the consequences of our carbon choices are going to be."