If Greenland and Antarctica continue to melt, Gore says the maps of the world will need to be redrawn. Low-lying areas near southern Florida, Manhattan and the area surrounding the San Francisco Bay could end up under water, Gore warns.
In the low countries of Western Europe—the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg—millions of people would need to relocate. In Beijing, 20 million people live in areas that would be flooded, and in Shanghai, the devastation would be even worse. Forty million Chinese citizens would become climate refugees.
Although Gore says he doesn't feel like Noah from the Bible, he does feel compelled to warn others about the frightening reality of rising sea levels. "If you found a message in a bottle that washed up on the beach that said, 'Life or death, deliver this message,' you would feel an obligation to do it," he says.
Many Americans don't want to listen to the warnings because this culture focuses on short-term gratification instead of the future, Gore tells Oprah. "You know the old cliché, 'Denial ain't just a river in Egypt,'" he says. "It's painful to think about. ... Actually, the older way of thinking in previous generations had more responsibility carved out for the future consequences of what we do now."