Sea level is already guaranteed to rise by 5 feet. Based on the number of greenhouse gases humans have already added to the Earth’s atmosphere, the world is guaranteed to experience approximately 5 feet of sea-level rise in the coming decades, climate scientist Benjamin Strauss told “The Climate Crisis Podcast.”
“It’s in that range, you know, 5 feet plus or minus. And that’s because we’ve already warmed the planet by around 2 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.1 Celsius,” Strauss, the president and CEO of Climate Central, a nonprofit that tries to educate policymakers and the public about the threats posed by climate change, told Yahoo News. “Think of it this way: If I dumped a truckload of ice in the middle of Phoenix, we’d all know it’s going to melt. But it takes time to melt. And the same thing is true for the big ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica and glaciers around the world. We turned up the thermostat. We’ve already heated the planet by a couple of degrees, but they’ve only begun to respond by melting. And that’s why we have all this extra sea level in the pipeline and it’s, it’s enough, I’m afraid to say, it’s hard to imagine the long-term future of South Florida, let’s say, right, with the sea level that’s already in the pipeline.”
Strauss, who has testified before Congress on the number of American houses that will be threatened due to sea-level rise caused by climate change, noted that current estimates are that seas will rise by 2 to 3 feet by the end of the century and will continue rising in the decades that follow. Yet the fact that roughly 5 feet of sea-level rise have already been baked into the planet’s future is, for Strauss, even more incentive for the world to come together to prevent that figure from creeping even higher.
“I think we can help ourselves a lot by slowing down these changes,” he said.
COVID-19 has killed approximately 750,000 Americans over the last two years, officially surpassing the number of lives lost to HIV/AIDS over the last four decades to become the country’s deadliest pandemic.
Recent data from the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation found more than 700,000 people have died from HIV-related illness since its emergence in the US in 1981. Highly effective antiretroviral therapies were developed during the 1990s, turning HIV/AIDS from the leading cause of death in young adults into a “chronic manageable condition,” according to peer-reviewed scientific journal “AIDS.”
Today, antiretroviral therapies like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) are widely accepted due to their substantial reduction of HIV-related infections and deaths.
“The rapid and progressive development of antiretroviral therapy has not only proven to be life-saving for many millions but has been instrumental in unveiling the inequities in access to health between rich and poor countries of the world,” researchers wrote for the AIDS scientific journal.
Despite their differing rates of transmission and mortality, the negative outcomes of both COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS have been disproportionately borne by minority communities.