Two Island Presidents make a stand for Islanders threatened by sea level rise

By Cristine Russell

February 28th, 2009; Vol.175 #5 (p. 24)

Summarised by Veronique Carola, Sea Level Rise Foundation

Special and Vulnerable

island nations of Maldives and Kiribati highlight a hidden challenge
for coping with climate change. It is now about figuring out what to do
for localities threatened with the possibility of extinction from
rising ocean waters. As says Harvard University biological
oceanographer James J. McCarthy, “They didn’t cause the problem, but
they will be among the first to feel it.”

These two exotic
equatorial paradises may soon be the lowest spots on Earth and
consequently are in danger of becoming the first drowning victims of
global warming and sea level rise. In island and coastal countries, the
impact may become so drastic that adaptation is not really an option,
eventually forcing people out of their homes.

Since taking
office in November, President of Maldives, Mr Mohamed Nasheed has been
drawing international attention with his proposal to set aside funds to
purchase lands abroad and relocate his population within this century.

Kiribati, President Anote Tong has travelled the globe speaking to the
UN and other international gatherings on how his country will suffer
with climate change. He is not optimistic on getting land elsewhere but
he is asking for help from various countries such as New Zealand and

Posted By Rolph Payet to Climate Change and Sea Level Rise at 3/11/2009 01:07:00 A