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Rising sea levels force nation’s relocation

In what could be the world’s first climate-induced migration of modern times, Anote Tong, the Kiribati president, said he was in talks with Fiji’s military government to buy up to 5,000 acres of freehold land on which his countrymen could be housed.

None of the coral atolls rises more than a few feet above sea level

Some of Kiribati’s 32 pancake-flat coral atolls, which straddle the equator over 1,350,000 square miles of ocean, are already disappearing beneath the waves.

Most of its 113,000 people are crammed on to Tarawa, the administrative centre, a chain of islets which curve in a horseshoe shape around a lagoon.

“This is the last resort, there’s no way out of this one,” Mr Tong said.

“Our people will have to move as the tides have reached our homes and villages.”

Mr Tong said the plan would be to send a trickle of skilled workers first, so they could merge more easily with the Fijian population and make a positive contribution to that country’s economy.

“We don’t want 100,000 people from Kiribati coming to Fiji in one go,” he told the state-run Fiji One television channel.

“They need to find employment, not as refugees but as immigrant people with skills to offer, people who have a place in the community, people who will not be seen as second-class citizens. Continue reading Rising sea levels force nation’s relocation

Climate change is lapping at our feet

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 07 Sep 2011

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that visiting Pacific nations threatened by rising seas had reinforced his belief that climate change was real and posed a genuine threat to humanity.

The island of Kiribati is on the front line of climate change. Photograph: Richard Vogel/AP

Ban stopped in the Solomon Islands and Kiribati on his way to New Zealand for the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and described the two small nations as “on the front line” of the climate change issue.

He said Kiribati, where some villagers have been forced to relocate as the rising ocean encroaches on their land, dramatically illustrated climate change’s impact on the planet.

“For those who believe climate change is about some distant future, I invite them to visit Kiribati or the Solomon Islands and most of the Pacific island countries,” he said in a speech at Auckland University.

“Climate change is not about tomorrow. It is lapping at our feet — quite literally in Kiribati and elsewhere.”

Ban said that in his role as UN leader he had seen the impact of climate change first-hand in areas of the globe ranging from Antarctica to the Amazon Basin and Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

He said scientific evidence backed up his view. Continue reading Climate change is lapping at our feet