Sometimes you switch on the radio and hear a few words and straight away know exactly what and where they are talking about, it was like that with me and sea level rise a few weeks ago. They were talking about a place called Fairbourne in Wales and the threat posed to it by sea level rise caused by climate change. As it happens I have been there on holiday twice and thus recognised it. The problem is as I realised as soon as I got there the first time is its below sea level.
Fairbourne was founded as a resort by Arthur McDougall of flour making fame in the 1800’s. He wanted to create a large resort to capitalise on Victorian tourism brought about by the railway. Despite what you see in the picture its quite a small place and never really succeeded as a resort. Nowadays really a very modest resort and place where people go to retire.
On the radio they were talking about the threat to people’s houses caused by sea level rise. Whilst I said its below sea level its protected by vary large shingle sea wall. Its this that is at risk as sea levels rise. The problem they were talking about was that people have bought houses are effectively unable to sell them. This got me thinking. Whilst I feel very sorry for those living in blighted houses in Fairbourne the problems caused by sea level rise in the developing world will be far worse. There people could loose their houses, farmland and even their lives. Its difficult to say how much sea levels will rise, but it could be as much as 60cm by 2100. This would have devastating effects on small island nations and coastal communities probably affecting hundreds of millions of people.