Sea level rise almost a foregone conclusion, says DEPP chief

The world is “well on its way” to a 2.7 degree temperature rise that will bring with it damaging sea level rise, explained Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP) Director Rochelle Newbold during the Office of the Prime Minister’s press briefing yesterday. To make her point, she used graphic images of what ocean inundation would do to Atlantis’ lagoon and the surrounding property as sea volumes increase.

Newbold’s worse case scenario photo shows sea levels overtopping structures and areas that were once a shallow lagoon. She said those cases could be the country’s reality 80 years from now if the world does not curb the amount of carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere.

Newbold said photos of Atlantis were used as a marker for changes in sea level because the resort structure is known worldwide and the impact is easily identifiable.

“With a two degree rise everything is under water,” said Newbold.

She said infrastructure has not been put in place in The Bahamas to guard against a three degree rise in global temperatures.

Newbold said the Bahamian delegation that attended the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference did not achieve what they wanted to in terms of the global buy-in that would change the direction the world is heading with climate change.

 “Without multilateral and bilateral agreements the planet cannot sustain itself,” she said. “We cannot continue to do what we did before because the planet is not how it was before. Somebody needs to remind the world that there are people here who will suffer. Several islands including ours will be all gone. Bahamians will have to migrate elsewhere, to someone else’s property.”

According to Newbold, The Bahamas could begin to see some of the effects outlined in the Atlantis images by 2040 if the world does not decrease carbon emissions by 50 percent. 

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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