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Learn the key ideas of the book by Jeff Goodell

The Water Will Come

The consequences of climate change

Global warming, caused by CO2 pollution, is causing sea levels to rise. This is a known phenomenon, which for the moment, is not considered alarming because most people believe that the ultimate impact is destined to materialise many years into the future. However, The Water Will Come states that a possible catastrophe awaits us at the end of the century. A detailed and data-rich report offers in-depth analysis into what is happening at the North and South Poles, and in the large coastal cities, to offer useful suggestions in answer to the most difficult question: is our economic and political system ready to face a crisis of this magnitude?

The Water Will Come
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Listen in 19 min.

Even if we stop c02 emissions immediately, sea levels could rise by over 2 metres by 2100

A 2017 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the leading climate science agency in the United States, says that by 2100 we will experience a rise in sea levels of between 30 centimetres and 2.5 metres. This growth may not be gradual: at the end of the last ice age, water levels rose almost 4 metres in just a century. A rise in sea levels of 1.80 metres could see nearly $ 1 trillion worth of real estate in the United States underwater.

CO2 pollution, the main cause of overheating, differs from all others, because this gas remains in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Even if we stopped emissions today, global warming would not decrease, and sea levels would continue to rise. The fact is, that not perceiving the effects day after day, makes it extremely difficult for us to understand the gravity of the situation. For now, the phenomenon only shows itself through dramatic events, which do not cause us any alarm because we perceive them as exceptional. The same happened with the sudden disintegration of the ice caps at the end of the last ice age, when about 3 million people lived on Earth: the waters advanced inland at a speed of 150/180 metres per year. How would our political-economic system react, faced with an event of this magnitude?


The key ideas of "The Water Will Come"

Even if we stop c02 emissions immediately, sea levels could rise by over 2 metres by 2100
What we can learn from history: Australian myths, the stories of Noah and Gilgamesh are eye witness accounts of real events
The events of 2012 worsened the situation, but the data was not updated in time
The countries that pollute the least are the ones most at risk of disappearing simply because of their topography
The problem is the absence of any recognition of risk: take the case of Miami, which Miami expands out to the sea
Engineering systems: the solutions for Venice, Rotterdam and New York
The engineering method to deal with the problem: create new emerged lands
Another terrible risk caused by salt water: the salinity of the soil and the contamination of the springs
Climate changes create political instability and social tension
Geoengineering: the temptation to experiment with risky solutions
The best strategy for the future is the least popular one: pull back to win
Take-home message

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