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‘Tens of millions of people could be displaced’

MELTING ice poses one of the greatest threats to the modern world, a top Australian climate change professor has warned.

UNSW Sydney professor Matthew England is one of six keynote speakers at an international conference which kicked off in Sydney yesterday. The international gathering is seeking to address climate change and in particular is intent on looking for solutions to problems in the Southern Hemisphere.

Prof England says up to 15 metres of Antarctica ice could melt into the oceans if the Earth gets hot enough over the next several centuries. “And that’s enough to make many of the world’s coasts unviable if we do nothing to limit atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.”

“Tens of millions of people could be displaced.”

It comes after 2017 research showed about eight islands in the Pacific Ocean have disappeared due to rising sea-levels, with many others being drastically reduced in size as their shorelines are swallowed by creeping oceans.

Past meetings of scientists at the national forum have led to global policies to ban the use of ozone-depleting chemicals, managing commercial activity to protect Southern Ocean ecosystems and have informed international discussions on climate change.

The other five keynote speakers have expertise in subjects ranging from space studies, atmospheric research, coral reef studies, climate science and weather extremes.

The 25th AMOS-ICSHMO 2018 will be the largest ever meeting of meteorologists, oceanographers and climate scientists in the Southern Hemisphere involving 35 countries.

Prof England received the Tinker-Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica for his research, leadership and advocacy in Antarctic science on Monday.

The conference runs until Friday at the University of NSW.

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