This map shows sea levels locked in by different amounts of carbon pollution, according to recent scientific research. If we burn enough fossil fuels to heat the planet by 4°C—continuing a path of unchecked pollution—we could drown coastal cities worldwide. If we make a rapid transition to a global clean energy economy and achieve the main goal of the Paris Agreement, limiting warming to 2°C, some cities will be saved. If we go faster and further to achieve the most ambitious Paris goal, 1.5°C, the outlook improves dramatically. Still, it is sobering to map the challenges following after 1°C of warming, a level we have just passed.
According to Climate Central’s analysis, 470 to 760 million people (central finding, 627 million) live on land that would be condemned by 4°C warming. The number drops by more than half for 2°C, and more than half again for 1.5°C.