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Illustration by Security Management

Global Sea Levels Rising Faster Than Expected

Global sea levels are rising and could be approximately a meter higher (3.3 feet) by 2100, according to new research from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The rise is higher than the panel’s previous prediction of 90 centimeters because Antarctica is melting faster than anticipated, causing sea levels to rise quicker than expected.

“Global mean sea level is rising, with acceleration in recent decades due to increasing rates of ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, as well as continued glacier mass loss and ocean thermal expansion,” the panel said in a report released this week. “Increases in tropical cyclone winds and rainfall, and increases in extreme waves, combined with relative sea level rise, exacerbate extreme sea level events and coastal hazards.”

The change in sea level rise could impact 600 million people who live less than 10 meters above sea level, according to the MIT Technology Review.

“Extreme events like storm surges, which used to happen once a century, will occur every year in many parts of the world by 2050, no matter whether greenhouse-gas emissions are curbed or not,” the MIT Review reported. “If we drastically reduced emissions, it would help mitigate some of the worst effects. However, many of the impacts outlined in the report are already ‘priced in’ thanks to the amount of carbon we have emitted.”

More than 100 scientists from around the world participated in putting the report together, which was released following the UN Climate Summit this week that brought renewed attention to the impact of climate change and what actions are being taken—or not—to prevent it.

“The best science, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, tells us that any temperature rise above 1.5 degrees will lead to major and irreversible damage to the ecosystems that support us,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “Science tells us that on our current path, we face at least 3-degrees Celsius of global heating by the end of the century.”

Current and former U.S. national security leaders have argued that instability caused by climate-induced events like drought can have significant security consequences. And in March, 58 senior retired U.S. military and national security leaders sent an open letter to the Trump administration to explain that climate change is a serious threat to security.

“Around the world, climate change is a ‘threat multiplier,’ making other security threats worse,” the group said. “Its effects are even used by our adversaries as a weapon of war; ISIS used water shortages in Iraq, in part driven by a changing climate, to cement their hold on the population during their reign of terror from 2014 to 2017.”

Private security companies are also taking action to prepare for how climate change will impact their profession, such as the Pinkertons—which The New York Times Magazine took an in-depth look at earlier this year to analyze why the agency is changing some of its service offerings and training tactics.

“Even if the most conservative predictions about our climate future prove overstated, a 1.5-degree Celsius rise in temperature during the next century will almost certainly provoke chaos, in what experts call climate change’s ‘threat multiplier’: Displacement begets desperation begets disorder,” according to the magazine. “Reading these projections from the relative comforts of the C-suite, it wasn’t difficult to see why a company might consider enhancing its security protocols.”