Greenland expert Konrad Steffen presents on sea level rise

Published on January 1, 2016

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Following the historic environmental COP21 conference in Paris, Fondation Erol, Next World Group and Amplifier employees gathered for a presentation by a global environmental expert, Konrad Steffen. Steffen was a key presenter at the Climate and Capital conference, hosted by Erol and a consortium of funding partners.

To be sure, there was much for those who care about the sustainability of the Earth to celebrate after COP 21. But sobering facts also spur us to do more. We have to do more, as Steffen illustrated in a visual presentation about the effects of warming on Greenland.

Regardless of what we do now to change the course of global warming, ocean levels will rise about one meter on average over the next fifty years. In places like the northern coast of California, seas will rise more than six yards.

“Don’t invest in sea level property on the coast,” Steffen said. “You’ll be under water… Right now in San Francisco buildings are being built that will be underwater before the next century.”

Steffen’s presentation focused on what is assured. The water now melting in Greenland is filling the oceans and making them rise.

Stemming this rise represents a massive challenge. But as Steffen pointed out, the critical result of what has already occurred represents a significant societal challenge in the decades ahead.  While Europe and America will lose shoreline, some entire nations that have no elevation are at risk of being entirely under water. Barring strategic investment in coastal protections, massive migration will be required. Homelands to hundreds of millions of people will all underwater within 50 years. A specific example he offered: “Bangladesh,” the eighth most populous country in the world.

Erol supports innovative work in Sustainable Environmental Systems, one of three core funding areas. We are taking the scientific evidence gathered by Steffen over three decades of intensive research in Greenland to heart. We are committed to progressive action that can create sustainability for all, including those in least developed nations who are most at risk with the coming rising seas. By continuing to gather and educate around spotlight events like Climate and Capital and Konrad Steffen’s presentation, we can help elevate collaborative efforts for impact now while there is still time to act.

Read more about Erol’s investment in Sustainable Environmental Systems and the historic Climate and Capital conference at climateandcapital.com.