Pacific state needs billions for its ambitious plan – its president demands wealthy nations act to help now
Developing countries vulnerable to the worst ravages of global heating have spent the past week at United Nations climate talks urging more support from wealthy nations. The Pacific state of Kiribati has a very specific and unusual demand – that its islands be physically raised up to escape the encroaching seas.
Kiribati (pronounced Ki-ri-bahss, a local translation of “Gilberts”, its name under British colonial rule) is comprised of 33 coral atolls scattered across a huge expanse of ocean in the central Pacific ocean, between Hawaii and Australia. It covers more than 1.3m sq miles, making it one of the world’s largest nations when sea area is included, but is one of the smallest in terms of land, with most of its 120,000 population crammed into the narrow outcrops that make up Tarawa, its capital.
No part of Kiribati’s land rises more than two metres above the ocean, making it one of the most vulnerable places in the world to the sea level rise being driven by global heating. Several small islands have already been inundated by water, with parts of others eroded by the advancing tides. Intruding salt water threatens the ability to grow crops and risks the fresh groundwater that sits upon the porous reefs that form the basis of the islands.
As climate change gets worse, tribes like Shoalwater Bay are being squeezed between existential threats and brutal financial arithmetic. Consigned to marginal land more than a century ago by the United States government, some tribes are now trying to relocate to areas better protected from extreme weather yet lack the money to pay for that move.
Five California tribes will reclaim their right to manage coastal land significant to their history under a first-in-the-nation program backed with $3.6 million in state money. Valentin Lopez, chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band … said climate change has forced governments with a history of exploiting Indigenous lands to acknowledge tribes’ deep-rooted knowledge of protecting ecosystems.“We’re in the crisis mode,” he said.
Surfrider’s State of the Beach Report Finds Coastal States Most At Risk Are Least Prepared For Climate Impacts – The Inertia
This week, the Surfrider Foundation released its sixth annual State of the Beach Report…For the second year in a row, the report reveals that 67 percent of coastal areas assessed are performing at ‘adequate’ to ‘poor’ levels, with some of the lowest grades earned by states that are most often affected by extreme weather and worsening climate events.
Belize faced an economic meltdown. The pandemic had sent it into its worst ever recession, putting the government on the brink of bankruptcy.
A solution came from unexpected quarters. A local marine biologist offered Prime Minister Johnny Briceño a novel proposal: Her nonprofit would lend the country money to pay its creditors if his government agreed to spend part of the savings this deal would generate to preserve its marine resources.