Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rising tide of global warming threatens Pacific island states

While rich nations tinker with policies that may shave their carbon dioxide emissions, low-lying South Pacific nations such as Kiribati are sinking beneath the waves.

Kiribati, an archipelago of 33 coral atolls barely 6ft above sea level, is vanishing as global warming sees the oceans rise. Yesterday, its president, Anote Tong, warned Australia and New Zealand - the two developed countries in the region - to prepare for a mass exodus within the next decade.

Speaking at the annual South Pacific Forum in Fiji, Mr Tong said that rising sea levels would create countless environmental refugees. "If we are talking about our island states submerging in 10 years' time, we simply have to find somewhere else to go," he said.

Environmentalists have warned that global warming, caused by a build-up of greenhouse gases, will cause thermal expansion and a meltdown of glaciers. That could lead to seas rising by up to 23ft, and would be devastating for countries such as Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and China. But the tiny nations of the Pacific, where some of the world's lowest-lying islands are situated, would be the first to be swamped. Those considered particularly vulnerable, as well as Kiribati, are Vanuatu; the Marshall Islands; Tuvalu and parts of Papua New Guinea.


P.S. There is already a major shortage of dock space for mega-yachts, so please plan your day accordingly.

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