The island nation of Kiribati, located in the South Pacific, sits just six feet above sea level on average. In 60 years Kiribati’s President Anote Tong predicts that his island will be inhabitable due to climate change.
Kiribati is at risk of disappearing because of sea level rise caused by melting sea ice and and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. These changes in climate are blamed on carbon emissions from power plants, cars, and other human activities.
Unfortunately, like many islands, Kiribati is in the unlucky position of being the most likely to suffer from the effects of climate change even though it has done little to cause it. In 2005, Kiribati’s emissions per capita were only 7% of the global average and less than 2% of U.S. per capita emissions, according to officials.
Kiribati has a hot, humid tropical climate, but average annual temperatures have steadily increased since 1950.
Residents have built walls to protect their villages from rising waters, but it is not a permanent solution.
Under a 'high emissions scenario' the rise is projected to be in the range of 5 -- 14 centimeters by 2030.
Because Kiribati stands only a few feet above sea level, its islands are extremely vulnerable to rising waters.
Sea level rise affect all aspects of life on Kiribati, including agriculture, health, and water quality.
As sea levels have risen, wells have become inundated with salt water, threatening the supply of fresh water.
Coastal erosion has displaced citizens, especially on Kiribati's main island of Tarawa, which suffers from severe overcrowding.
Increases in temperatures and rainfall also pose public health problems, raising the risk of diarrhoeal disease and dengue fever.
But that is only being considered as a last resort. For now, they are focusing on adaptation techniques like improving water supply management and building sandbag walls to protect the coast.
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