Global Warming Alert: Two Degrees Celsius More and Taiwan Might Be Flooded

Global Warming Alert: Two Degrees Celsius More and Taiwan Might Be Flooded
左圖為全球暖化4度C後台灣可能會遭淹沒的地區,右圖為全球暖化2度C後台灣可能會遭淹沒的地區。Photo Credit: Climate Central

What you need to know

According to Climate Central's latest report, if the temperature rises 2 degrees Celsius, the land subsidence of Taiwan's coastal areas will become more severe. If it rises 4 degrees Celsius, places including Taipei and the western coastal areas will be flooded.

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If the global warming causes the temperature to rise 2 degrees Celsius or more, how will it affect Taiwan? According to Climate Central’s latest report, if the temperature rises 2 degrees Celsius, the land subsidence of Taiwan’s coastal areas will become more severe. If it rises 4 degrees Celsius, places including Taipei and the western coastal areas will be flooded.

UDN reports, the United Nations 21th climate change conference (COP21) in Paris, France approved the “Paris Agreement" on December 12 after a 14-day meeting. It will replace the “Kyoto Protocol" adopted in 1997, and the contracting parties will work together to deter the global warming crisis. They are committed to change the fossil fuel-oriented global economy that has been dominant for centuries.

To achieve a consensus, the Paris Agreement is full of compromises. The long-term goal is to ensure that the average global temperature will not increase more than 2 degrees Celsius of the temperature before the Industrial Revolution by the end of this century.

At the same time, it also strives for a tougher goal of keeping the temperature increase within 1.5 degrees Celsius in response to island countries’ vulnerability to the rise of sea levels.

CNA reports, although the Paris Agreement has put an end to the political deadlock that has lasted for decades, it is still full of uncertainties. Many climatologists have warned that the agreement does not include a thorough plan in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which is a big loophole.

But for the long-term goal of keeping global warming within 2 degrees Celsius, the current rise of temperature has already exceeded half this goal. Even if the agreement is fully implemented, according to an independent analysis certified by the UN, the temperature will continue to rise 2.5 to 3.7 degrees Celsius.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is a two-third chance to cap the rise of the temperature within 2 degrees Celsius only if we can reduce 40% to 70% of carbon emissions by the middle of this century. To reach the tougher target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, it will require 70% to 95% reduction of the carbon emissions.

Research at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Joeri Rogelj, says that according to the current situation, it may be impossible to achieve the 1.5 degree Celsius target.

PNN reports, global warming influences not only the temperature, but also the precipitation in Taiwan. Except for the sudden change in temperature, the precipitation pattern has become more severe.

According to Taiwan’s rainfall data of the last 60 years, the average annual rainfall has not changed much, but the gap of the rainfall between wet and dry years is twice as big than 50 years ago, which means the switch between floods and droughts is becoming more frequent and the precipitation pattern will be more extreme.

This year, a report focused on the vulnerability to natural disasters of 301 cities worldwide ranked Taipei as the most vulnerable city in the world. In the past one hundred years, global warming had led to the rise of 1.4 degrees Celsius in Taiwan’s metropolitan areas, which is nearly twice the global average.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang

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