‘No safe place’: Kiribati seeks donors to raise islands from encroaching seas – the Guardian

A view of mangrove shoots planted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others on Tarawa, an atoll in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, 2011(by Eskinder Debebe, UN Photo CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr).

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.

How to Pay for Climate Justice When Polluters Have All the Money – the New Yorker

COP27 Closing Plenary Session 19 November 2022 (by Kiara Worth UN ClimateChange CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr).

You can imagine the tension—the anger—that comes from watching your part of the world dry up or flood, knowing that the countries whose pollution caused your problems also have enough dollars to repair the damage…COP27 is one more reminder, however, that justice only proceeds, fitfully, through politics. Rebalancing the world’s wealth, even a little, is the trickiest of political tasks. Yet our chances for a livable world may depend on it.

How Belize Cut Its Debt by Fighting Global Warming – the New York Times

Aerial view of the Caribbean Sea and the Split in Caye Caulker, Belize (by Falco Ermert CC BY 2.0 via Flickr).

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.