Earlier this month, a report was released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (part of the United Nations) on the severity of the climate crisis.
The report is one of the most precise and extensive we’ve seen yet, as it’s based on the analysis of over 14,000 other studies. The report stated that global warming will continue until at least 2050—no matter what actions we take now—and that other severe environmental impacts will continue even beyond that. Mainly, global sea levels will continue to rise for at least 2,000 years.
The question now is: at what speed and with what level of devastation? That all depends on conditions over the following decades, and if the plan set out in the Paris Accords is followed or if global warming continues to drastically increase. The report concluded that our planet cannot avoid some devastating impacts of climate change, but there is still a narrow window to keep the devastation from getting even worse.
Ultimately, it all comes down to probability at this moment. A 2020 study utilizing the projections of over 100 international field experts stated:
In a scenario where global warming is limited to 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the experts estimated a rise of 0.5 meters by 2100 and 0.5 to 2 meters by 2300. In a high-emissions scenario with 4.5 degree Celsius of warming, the experts estimated a larger rise of 0.6 to 1.3 meters by 2100 and 1.7 to 5.6 meters by 2300.
The website Climate Central allows users to see what would it would look like on your local map if water levels rose through a combination of sea level rise, tides, and storm surge. You can try out the tool for yourself here. As the maps for Boston indicate below, rising sea levels would eventually devastate the Boston coastline.
Boston if the water level rises to 1 meter.
Boston if the water level rises to 1.5 meters.
Boston if the water level rises to 2 meters.
Boston if the water level rises to 3 meters.
Boston if the water level rises to 5 meters.