The City of Manila Could be Underwater by 2050 if Climate Change Isn’t Stopped


A new report from Climate Central published in Nature Communications has found that 300 million people living in flood-prone areas around the world could potentially be displaced if climate change continues unstopped.

According to the report by Climate Central, an organization of leading scientists and journalists, rising sea levels could by 2050 push floods to occupy land that is currently home to 300 million people. Climate Central also created a world map that lets you view the land projected to be below the tideline by 2050.

As seen on the map, the threat is concentrated largely in Asia due to the amount of coastal towns and cities in low-lying areas. The eight most vulnerable Asian countries are: China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, and the Philippines.

In the Philippines alone, the entire city of Manila could find itself underwater if climate change doesn’t slow down. Other affected areas in Metro Manila include parts of Pasay, Navotas, Malabon, and Valenzuela. Most of these areas run along the coast or the west end of Pasig River. If the map’s predictions are true, all of Intramuros, half of Rizal Park, Cultural Complex of the Philippines, De La Salle University – Manila, and even City of Dreams could be gone, or relocated, by 2050. 

In this new future shaped by climate change, Makati could be the new coastal city of Metro Manila and Intramuros could become our Atlantis.

On the maps below, the areas in red indicate places that are prone to permanent flooding due to climate change. 


Metro Manila.
Photo courtesy of Climate Central.

Pasay City.
Photo courtesy of Climate Central.

Manila City.
Photo courtesy of Climate Central.
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Photo courtesy of Climate Central.

Coastal regions in Cavite, Sorsogon Bay, Siargao Island, and Cebu City are also facing the risks of rising sea levels. Outside the Philippines, the following mega cities could also be underwater in 30 years: Shanghai, China; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thailand; Venice, Italy; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Alexandria, Egypt; and San Francisco, U.S.A.

Ho Chi Minh City.
Photo courtesy of Climate Central.

Photo courtesy of Climate Central.

The scientists calculated these results by combining sea level rise models and coastal flood models to create a more accurate prediction. However, it should be noted that the map does not account for protective features like levees and seawalls that could help abate rising sea levels.

But it also doesn’t account for other factors, like increased rainfall due to climate change, storm intensification, and population growth, which implies that the map by Climate Central could very well be an underestimation of the global effects of climate change.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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