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#17 - The truth about sea level rise

#17 - The truth about sea level rise

πŸ’‘ One idea: The truth about sea level rise

πŸ“ˆ One data figure: Towards a $6 billion Nature Tech market

✨ One success: Zapp launches its electric scooter and goes public

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πŸ’‘ The truth about sea level rise

By 2100, the global sea level will rise at least 0.30 meters (1 foot) above 2000's levels, even if we collectively manage to lower our greenhouse gas emissions. You can find a recent and detailed publication here: Climate Change: Global Sea Level.

Tuvalu’s Minister Simon Kofe gave a speech while standing in the ocean to raise awareness about sea level rise before COP26.

Climate change deniers often dismiss this number which, let us be honest, looks very small. However, it is actually huge! Let us understand where it is coming from, what the real consequences are and why regional variability is key.

Sea level rise is due to global warming. The main factors are the following, with their respective contribution:

  • The thermal expansion of seawater as it warms - nearly 40%
  • The rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet - 20%
  • The melting of Antarctic ice - 10%
  • Melting glaciers worldwide - 30%

Surely all the coasts will experience the same sea level rise; all oceans communicate, after all? Absolutely not! Significant regional variations exist. In the US, for example, by 2050, the average rise will be 10 to 20 centimetres (4 to 8 inches) along the Pacific Coast but up to 0.45 meters (18 inches) along the Gulf of Mexico. Vertical land motion and sterodynamic sea level mostly explain these differences. After megatons of ice melt, the land rises up beyond the ice's perimeter. This glacial isostatic adjustment is why places such as Alaska are less at risk of being flooded. Moreover, natural variability in winds and currents influences where the oceans store heat and expand. If you feel nerdy about this, here is a great article in Nature.

All cities across the world will not be hit with the same strength. Instead of focusing on the mean rise in sea levels, extreme events (storms, hurricanes) are used to model the risk. The most dangerous effects of sea level rise come from compound floods: flooding made worse by additional high tides or heavy rainfall, and that will reach further inland.

People and assets at risk from flooding by 2100 (Ebru Kirezci et al.)

By 2100, 410 million people will be exposed to coastal flooding risks globally, which could represent a 4% loss in global GDP - up to 12% for China, 8% for Japan, and 6% for Europe. Facing the urgent need for adaptation, an entirely new industry is emerging. Innovative solutions designed by policymakers, engineers and startups fall into these three categories:

  • Land use planning: moving human activities away from coastal areas at risk, prohibiting new construction
  • Smart urban planning and engineering projects such as sea walls and water squares
  • Nature-based solutions such as restoring mangrove forests, tidal marshes and wetlands to increase natural resilience

Another solution would be to avoid global warming, but this is another story.

πŸ“ˆ Towards a $6 billion Nature Tech market

According to the World Economic Forum, nature provides an estimated $44 trillion worth of services annually. At a time where environmental innovation often means Climate Tech or Ag Tech, doing business in nature is often overlooked.

Capital for Climate and Nature4Climate have just released an incredibly insightful report on The Nature Tech market, a must-read!

Remote sensing using drones is booming!

As the authors rightly pointed out, the sector is still emerging, and commercial databases do not precisely track investments in this category. But they estimated that the current market size is about $2 billion. It is expected to grow to $6 billion by the end of the decade at a CAGR of roughly 15%. There already are dozens of Nature Tech startups out there, time to scout!

✨ Zapp launches its electric scooter and goes public

As cities across the world are becoming less welcoming to polluting cars, the urban motorcycle category is getting traction. In particular, daily commuters are rapidly transitioning to the already large but still growing two-wheeler electric-powered market.

The British electric scooter manufacturer Zapp has been working for years to design the perfect product. They recently announced going public at an estimated valuation of $573 million (more on TechCrunch). The CEO and founder, Swin Chatsuwan, sees the move as a way to fund growth and to get the global awareness and brand recognition much needed by the company.

When Vespa meets Tesla?

The proceeds will fuel the long-awaited launch of the i300 model with a goal of 10,000 units sold in European markets next year (2023). The high-performance city scooter targets the urban and climate-friendly middle-upper class. With your Zapp i300, you will beat the traffic, arrive early at work and impress your colleagues by charging the removable battery right by your desk in the office. Partly made of recycled material, the cheapest model is advertised at 6,900 euros on their website.


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