Meanwhile Venice, as well as other rich places in the world, is able to make billionaire efforts to stop the sea water, as is St. Petersburg, which built a barrier in the Baltic Sea at a cost of 6 billion dollars. But in the near future, these engineering solutions will not help, and many cities will remain vulnerable.
The planet has warmed about 0.8°C over the last hundred years, 0.6°C over just the past 3 decades. If we continue at the current pace the Earth could increase its temperature by 0.4°C by 2100, which would accelerate melting in frozen regions, causing the sea to rise 2m by the end of this century. However, if all of the ice of Greenland melts, it may be a further elevation of approximately 7m of the sea levels worldwide. The Antarctic Ice Sheet, even though is more stable, already shows signs of thawing, it may not seem much, but it would be enough to make us change completely our maps.
136 large cities are in danger worldwide, 40 million people are at risk in these places, and millions of species may lose their habitats. To put this in perspective economically, the threatened locations are worth a total of trillions of dollars, nearly 10% of the world’s GDP. New York, Recife, Bangkok, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, London, all the largest cities in the world are at risk. Miami can turn into an island if the sea rises just 1.2 m. Due to increasingly common floods; the sea is already threatening freshwater supplies in many parts of the world.
Global warming will not result only in a warmer world with higher oceans, but also in increasingly extreme and disorderly climatic events. Ever hotter summers, more intense and colder waves during the winter, prolonged droughts and apocalyptic storms will be more frequent.
Wealth is not a guarantee of anything. Venice was one of the most important commercial cities in the world and today it has become a landmark, a symbol of the many threatened places by the sea level risings. It seems it won’t be possible to do much to avoid the disappearance of these cultural heritages. Nowhere in the world may have lost more residents than Venice. It is estimated that 120,000 people left the city in the last 50 years. Is this a prelude of its end? Maybe…
Some natural processes such as the movement of tectonic plates, together with the local human activity, have been causing the city to sink slowly over the centuries, but global warming is accelerating its sad sentence.
The same canals that make it famous around the world also condemn it. Built on an archipelago of 118 islands and formed by approximately 150 canals, it is increasingly vulnerable to high tides, the charming gondolas that tours year after year through canals with increasingly higher levels. Every 100 years, the romantic Venice sinks about 15 cm in the waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Learn more in the documentary: