Scientists will warn this week that rising sea levels, triggered by global warming, pose a far greater danger to the planet than previously estimated. There is now a major risk that many coastal areas around the world will be inundated by the end of the century because Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting faster than previously estimated.
The implications of this scale of climate impact are not merely the potentially huge social and economic upheavals that may be caused by forced migration on a very large scale. There is also direct business risk, according to an Oxford scientist, who argues that science may soon be able to link climate change-induced natural disasters to carbon dioxide pollution so directly that companies that produce large emissions could be sued:
We are starting to get to the point that when an adverse weather event occurs we can quantify how much more likely it was made by human activity. And people adversely affected by climate change today are in a position to document and quantify their losses. This is going to be hugely important.
In other words, a company like Exxon-Mobil might be sued in relation to a weather event like Hurricance Katrina.