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58. Bangkok • Thailand

We have selected 100 unique places on Earth that are projected to undergo profound changes within the next few generations. We based our selection of the 100 places on the 4th Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Simply by drawing attention to the beauty of these places, 100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear creates an argument to preserve them. The 100 Places we have chosen to highlight, and the people who live in them, are in serious danger because of rising sea levels, rising temperatures and extreme weather events triggered by climate change. Among ambassadors are Joss Stone, Desmund Tutu for more info visit http://www.100places.com. The Sinking City of Angels Home to hundreds of Buddhist temples and tiny canals, a multitude of street vendors, thousands of skyscrapers, an elevated urban sky train and a brand new airport, Bangkok is a tropical metropolis where the traditional East meets the modernity of the West. Dissected by the Chao Phraya river and built on the soft, loamy soil of its banks and delta, Bangkok, now home to a population of almost 15 million, used to be a minor port and trading centre. In 1782, it became the capital of the independent kingdom of Siam, the official name for Thailand until 1939. The Thai name for Bangkok is Krung Thep, meaning City of Angels. Since US soldiers serving in the Vietnam War began spending their leave in Bangkok in the 1960s, Thailand has developed rapidly as a tourist destination. The capital now serves as a gateway to South-East Asia from the rest of the world, with up to 15 million tourists passing through every year. Located in one of Asias mega deltas and only two metres above sea level, Bangkok is massively exposed to flooding, especially during the monsoon season. This is compounded by the fact that the city is sinking due to the soft underground, heavy urbanisation and excessive pumping of groundwater. Some estimates suggest that the whole city is subsiding by as much as 5 cm a year. All of these conditions make the Thai capital particularly vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels. Any increase in extreme storm surges would erode the coastal area and cause severe flooding. Salt-water intrusion could also seriously affect supplies of drinking water. Unless urgent steps are taken, large parts of Bangkok could be under water before the end of the century.
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