Rising sea levels exacerbated by climate change are imperiling the livelihoods of future generations and are increasingly contributing to worldwide conflict and instability, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Tuesday.
"Rising seas are sinking futures. Sea-level rise is not only a threat in itself. It is a threat-multiplier," Guterres told the Security Council as it convened to address sea-level-rise-related security risks.
"For the hundreds of millions of people living in small island developing states and other low-lying coastal areas around the world, sea-level rise is a torrent of trouble. Rising seas threaten lives, and jeopardize access to water, food and healthcare," he said.
In addition, the UN chief pointed to the damaging economic fallout from saltwater intrusion on key industries, including agriculture, fishing and tourism, as well as damage to vital infrastructure.
The World Meteorological Organization estimates that sea levels rose higher in the 1900s than in any century during the preceding 3,000 years.
Part of the rise can be attributed to melting sea ice in the Antarctic and Arctic oceans, which the organization assessed to be at their lowest combined levels ever recorded for the month of January.
Warming surface and sea temperatures caused by climate change have contributed to the worrying phenomenon.
"The consequences of all of this are unthinkable. Low-lying communities and entire countries could disappear forever. We would witness a mass exodus of entire populations on a biblical scale. And we would see ever-fiercer competition for fresh water, land and other resources," said Guterres.
Source: Anadolu Agency