Ocean and water

The charge

The Climate and Ecological Emergency is a Crime Against Humanity perpetrated by the rich and powerful against the poor and vulnerable.

They have allowed our water systems to be destabilised enabling industry to destroy the oceans, and fresh water for many millions to become scarce and polluted.

We charge the world’s most powerful governments with mass manslaughter by gross negligence by destroying our oceans, allowing sea levels to rise and cutting millions of us from fresh water.

The evidence

Ocean

It’s ironic that the venues for COP26 will be flooded by 2050 as a result of rising sea levels and stronger storms.

The conservative scientific consensus is that a 1.5°C increase in global temperature will generate a global sea-level rise of between 1.7 and 3.2 feet by 2100. Even if we collectively manage to keep global temperatures from rising to 2°C, by 2050 at least 570 cities and some 800 million people will be exposed to rising seas and storm surges.

If the recent wildfires have recently shown the visceral horror of the effects of climate change, the rising seas are a remorseless creeping existential threat. Cultures, identities, traditions and ways of life are under threat. Entire communities face stark choices and unknown futures. Nations face crippling costs implementing climate resilience and defence. 

Entire island nations such as Tuvulu and the Marshall Islands could disappear under the rising waters, separating these islanders  from their ancestral lands through families, clans and ancient ties forever. 

Jakarta in Indonesia is a sinking mega city. Fairbourne in north Wales is caught between the sea and the mountains. It is the first UK community to be decommissioned as a result of climate change. Sea levels in West Africa are expected to rise faster than the global average . The Nigerian megalopolis Lagos is also at risk of inundation.

The era of climate migration is already upon America and could be so sprawling that it may rival anything in US history, including that of the Great Migration seen in the 20th century. By the end of this century, sea-level rise alone could displace 13 million people.

Water

The climate crisis is making it even harder for the world’s poorest people to get clean water. More frequent and extreme flooding is polluting fragile water sources as longer droughts are drying up springs.  

The World Resources Institute (WRI) updated its Global Water Risk Atlas revealing that 17 countries, home to a quarter of the world’s population, will face “extremely high” water stress within 20 years.

700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030. (Global Water Institute, 2013)

‘Day Zero’ – the day when the taps run dry – has threatened major cities from Cape Town to São Paolo to Chennai.

By 2050, the number of people at risk of floods will increase from its current level of 1.2 billion to 1.6 billion. In the early to mid-2010s, 1.9 billion people, or 27% of the global population, lived in potential severely water-scarce areas. In 2050, this number will increase to 2.7 to 3.2 billion people. (United Nations, 2020)

“Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about. Its consequences are in plain sight in the form of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability.” said Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute. 21 million people, including 5 million children, live within 5 km of lakes with high turbidity (water cloudiness), which can indicate water pollution. (UN-Water 2021)