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Home » climate and security » General Castellaw on Devastating New Sea Level Rise Exposure Projections

General Castellaw on Devastating New Sea Level Rise Exposure Projections

New Sea Level Rise Projections for Basra

Sea level projections for Basra, Iraq. Source: Kulp, S.A., Strauss, B.H. New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding. Nat Commun 10, 4844 (2019)

A new study by Climate Central’s Scott Kulp and Benjamin Strauss, published in the prestigious Nature Communications, finds that populated coastlines around the world are three times more exposed to sea level rise than previously thought, which has the potential to almost completely inundate major coastal cities around the world. The potential security implications of the loss of these major coastal urban areas are enormous. In an article covering the new report, the New York Times spoke with the Center for Climate and Security’s Lieutenant General John Castellaw, US Marine Corps (Ret), about projections for the important coastal city of Basra in Iraq. From the article:

Basra, the second-largest city in Iraq, could be mostly underwater by 2050. If that happens, the effects could be felt well beyond Iraq’s borders, according to John Castellaw, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general who was chief of staff for United States Central Command during the Iraq War.

Further loss of land to rising waters there “threatens to drive further social and political instability in the region, which could reignite armed conflict and increase the likelihood of terrorism,” said General Castellaw, who is now on the advisory board of the Center for Climate and Security, a research and advocacy group in Washington.

“So this is far more than an environmental problem,” he said. “It’s a humanitarian, security and possibly military problem too.”

Read the full sea level rise study here.

 


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