The caution of scientists, reinforced by accusations scaremongering from the well-funded fossil fuel lobby, has meant computer estimates of sea level rise in official forecasts have been low. Scientists mostly only counted the rise of the oceans because of expansion of warmer water then added on melting glaciers in the Alps and other temperate regions.
Originally ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica were excluded, in case increased snow fall in winter was greater than the ice melt in summer. Real time measurements of ice lost in polar regions has changed that. Coastal inundation in places such as East Anglia, Florida, and the Nile and Mekong deltas is expected to be far worse and quicker than previously predicted. Food supplies are threatened. The melting is also irreversible.
This makes Boris Johnson’s last act as prime minister to back a giant nuclear power plant on a low lying coast at Sizewell in Suffolk look a gamble. The builders, EDF, say there is no danger because the twin reactors will be built on a concrete raft seven metres above mean sea level, with a further surrounding wall to protect the nuclear island. But this concrete monolith will need to withstand sea level rise and storm surges for up to 200 years to protect future generations from its radioactive content.