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Island nation of Kiribati prepares for possible global warming prompted move

Michael Santo's picture

The island nation of Kiribati has announced that it is considering a move, and not a science-fiction based teleportation or levitation, either: the leaders of the country are considering an unusual backup plan if climate change threatens their island: moving the entire population to Fiji.

Joining the likes of fellow island nation The Maldives, which has already expressed significant concerns over the long-term prospects of their own islands, Kiribati is concerned that its very survival is threatened by global warming, or global climate change as it is more properly called.

On Friday, Kiribati's President, Anote Tong, told the Associated Press that earlier this week his Cabinet endorsed a plan to buy nearly 6,000 acres on Fiji's main island, Viti Levu. The land is being sold by a church group for about $9.6 million, and could be used in the event that Kiribati's shores are swamped by rising seas from global warming.

Kiribati has 103,000 people.

Tong said, "We would hope not to put everyone on one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it. It wouldn't be for me, personally, but would apply more to a younger generation. For them, moving won't be a matter of choice. It's basically going to be a matter of survival."

Much as with The Maldives, Kiribati has found itself at the forefront of the debate on global climate change as many of the nation's atolls rise just a few feet above sea level. Kiribati is composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, covering a total of 1,351,000 square miles, both straddling the equator and bordering the International Date Line at its easternmost point.

Some scientists have estimated the current rate of sea rise in the Pacific to be approximately 2 millimeters or 0.1 inches per year, which sounds like very little, but isn't for an island nation that rises just a few feet above sea level. Additionally, many scientists expect the rate of sea level rise annual to accelerate along with climate change.

Tong has not discussed the plan with Fijian officials yet; he said he is awaiting full parliamentary approval for the land purchase before doing so. He expects that in April.

Kiribati was known as the Gilbert Islands when it was a British colony. It has been an independent nation since 1979. One of its atolls, Tarawa, was heavily involved in a battle during World War II in 1943.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons


Submitted by cbrtxus (not verified) on
Sea levels have been increasing on average since the end of the last ice age. As the seas rise, atolls rise along with it. That's how atolls were formed in the first place. The material comes from the coral reefs that surround them. The islands might become over populated. There is a limit supply of fresh water on such islands. All of the fresh water has to come from rainfall. The islands are in no danger of being swallowed by the ocean. I suspect such claims are about money.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
no climate change is happening. 97 percent of scientists agree with climate change being caused by humans, while only 50% of the public does. The united states government needs the public to keep thinking that climate change is not caused by humans so that big corporations like ford can keep making gasoline cars (which is more profitable than electric) and keep the oil and coal industry in business and a whole bunch of other political stuff do some reasearch and ignore the government. They aren't actually trying to do any good for you, of course they may have brainwashed you to not believe me

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