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Event Details

Sea-level Rise event report

Category: Sea-level Rise
Observation: 09.02.2009
Continent: Pacific ocean - middle
Country: Kiribati
Area: Statewide
Severity: Hight
Event details
Kiribati, a Pacific island-nation in danger of being submerged because of global warming, may purchase land elsewhere to relocate its people, President Anote Tong said. “We would consider buying land,” Tong said in an interview in New Delhi. “The alternative is that we die, we go extinct.” Kiribati, between Hawaii and Australia, is the second island-nation after the Maldives that’s floated the idea of buying land should their islands be swamped by rising seas and more powerful storms. Warmer temperatures are melting icecaps, expanding the volume of oceans and causing more intense storm systems. Higher tides in Kiribati’s 33-island archipelago are making potable water for its 100,000 residents too salty to drink. Tong appealed Feb. 5 to leaders who will meet in Copenhagen in December to turn their attention to islanders hurt by global warming. “I can fully understand why responsible leaders of countries like Kiribati and the Maldives want to take action now and I think we’ll see more of this,” said Kim Carstensen, climate-change program director for the environmental group WWF International. Increasingly, “we’re facing a situation where hundreds of millions of people will be at risk from the consequences of climate change in the form of rising sea levels for small island-states and low-lying countries like Bangladesh,” Carstensen said Feb. 6 in a telephone interview from Copenhagen. “We are the face of the victims,” Tong said. “There has to be an international commitment that those countries that are willing to provide land will be compensated and a fund will be provided. But we will be willing to spend our own money if nothing else was coming forth.”
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