The results of a new study published on Monday, reveal the shocking news that no matter what we do to curb global warming, it’s already too late for Miami and New Orleans. These cities are sure to sink below rising sea levels. And this could happen as early as the next century.

Findings of this study have been published in the October 12 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal.

However the scientists are saying that if we work quickly and make extreme carbon cuts and move to renewable energy, then we might still be able to save millions of people living in coastal areas of the United States. The study has pin-pointed at-risk areas where more than 20 million people reside.

The team has issued a warning, saying that it could even happen earlier. Ben Strauss, the lead author and vice president for sea level and climate impacts at Climate Central says, “Just think of a pile of ice in a warm room. You know it is going to melt, but it is harder to say how quickly”.

The authors projected normal carbon emissions, melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet that some experts fear is irreversible, and the world reaching peak carbon emissions by 2020. Using an advanced tool, they found that US cities may face lock-in dates, beyond which the cumulative effects of carbon emissions will lead to long-term sea-level rise that could submerge more than half of the city’s population.

The limits have exceeded already for Miami and New Orleans. Norfolk, Virginia has a lock-in date of 2045.

“In our analysis, a lot of cities have futures that depend on our carbon choices but some appear to be already lost”, Strauss says. “It is hard to imagine how we could defend Miami in the long run”, he adds.

Florida has the most number of big cities at risk from sea level rise. The states of California, Louisiana and New York are next. New Orleans, home to jazz music and some of the nation’s most beloved cuisine, is already sinking.

The study reveals that NYC is also at risk. In the worst-case scenario, the city could become un-livable by 2085.