When the water comes | TIME ONLINE

Cochin, India Before Ambika Thankappan went to work in the morning, she called her son,
      to tell him that their world is going down. "The nearby villages are already flooded",
      she explained to him. "Now the water comes to us." Arun, who was visiting relatives, jumped
      on his motorcycle and made his way home in the rain. He was afraid. What would he do?
      Find home?
                
                
            On normal days, Arun works in a shop at Cochin International Airport in Kerala, the state on the southwest coast of India. Ambika collects luggage carts there and ranks them up for the travelers. Meanwhile, on a normal day, on the other side of the world, in Florida's American Immokalee, a man named Wilson Perez is picking tomatoes; and in Toronto, Canada, Klever Freire and Gabriel Otrin are doing something that 81 million people do every day without seeing a deadly danger: they get into the elevator after work in the office.
            But this text is not about normal days. It's about those who drink water in Cochin, Immokalee and Toronto. It provides an outlook on a world of rising sea levels, rising tides and extreme rainfall, which is becoming more likely with climate change. The possible consequences can already be studied in some places today.
            The 15th of August 2018, the Independence Day of India, was such a day for Arun and his mother. After three days of heavy rain, the water in Cochin rose inexorably. Normally the journey from Arun's relatives to his home village takes an hour. But in the knee-deep water he was traveling for two and a half hours. Above all, he was worried about Messi, his dog, who usually greeted him at home with his tail wagging.
                
                
            When he finally arrived, he was relieved at first. The house was not yet under water, Messi was in the yard in safety. That's why Arun first looked to his neighbors, who, like his family, live in the lush, lush green fields behind the airport.
            This is actually an ecological flagship project: Cochin Airport is the first in the world to derive its power exclusively from solar energy. But on that day nothing was normal at the airport. There, too, the water rose and gradually flooded the solar panels. At noon, the wall behind the runway broke through with a similar explosive force as when a dam breaks. Startled, Arun watched this spectacle. He had climbed a wall to get an overview, and was mesmerized by the flood of mud, until he suddenly realized that the water would soon be there.
            
        The message of the IPCC
        
        
                                
                    
                        The message of the IPCC
                
                
                                                                    The statement is clear: only through "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all areas of society" is it still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees (compared to pre-industrial levels). This is stated in the Special Report of the IPCC, which was presented this week in South Korea. The 400-page work of 91 authors serves as preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice in December and is "as politically close as no other report before," says Hans-Otto Pörtner, one of the working group leaders of the IPCC.
                                                                    Although recent results show that overall a bit more CO₂ emissions can be emitted than previously thought, the climate gives us a sort of reprieve. But for the IPCC, that is no reason for relaxation, "but the prerequisite for achieving the 1.5 degree goal in the first place". The climate conference in Paris had decided on a 2-degree target, but already called the stricter brand desirable, because then the climate impacts were still reasonably under control. Because the higher the temperatures rise, the more frequent are droughts, heavy rain and floods. Climbing the temperatures by two degrees, the Arctic sea ice would often melt in the summer and survive no coral reef. At four degrees (which would be reached in the year 2100 if the decisions of the Paris Conference are not implemented), many human and animal habitats would be irreversibly damaged, for example, by rising sea levels. It would be too late for an adaptation. Therefore, the researchers now increase the pressure: "The report shows that the 1.5-degree target is technically feasible," says Pörtner. "So there is no excuse for politicians to say goodbye to it." FRA
                                    
            
    
In fact, it took only minutes for the waters to flood their house and carry away all the moving goods: beds, printer, computer, washing machine, sewing machine, stove, motorbike, blender, radio, TV. Arun was still trying to save the dog, but in the rapidly rising tide he could not hold on to Messi and had to let him go. In the muddy water he could only bring himself to safety.
                
            When scientists describe climate change, they often work with the tense: then it's about how the world will look in 50, 100 or 200 years. The IPCC's 1.5-degree report, released this week, also talks about Zukunfts (see next page). Given the current developments, the IPCC predicts that global average temperatures will increase by 1.5 degrees by 2040 (compared to pre-industrial levels). By the end of the century, a rise of 4 degrees could be expected, unless "an immediate and radical reduction of global emissions on an unprecedented scale" is tackled.
            
        
        This article is from TIME no. 42/2018. Here you can read the entire issue.
    
But what comes out of sight in all the terrifying scenarios of the future: the world is already experiencing the effects of a temperature rise of 1 degree. And for more and more people, the times of rising water are already a reality. They face extreme rainfall or flooding. With temperatures still rising by half a degree, the IPCC says 46 million people will live in areas "threatened by permanent flooding caused by sea-level rise". In particular, the inhabitants of Asia are affected, in China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, but also the people of Brazil, the USA or the Netherlands. They will all try to adapt to the rising levels. But this change already has its price today.

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