Sea levels around the Republic of Kiribati in the South Pacific have been rising by several millimeters each year for the past two decades, prompting cries of submergence. The area around Tarawa, the capital city of Kiribati, is said to rise by up to 30 centimeters by the year 2055, and the World Bank warns that up to 80% of the island where the capital city is located could be inundated in 50 years. Therefore, the Kiribati government is seriously considering overseas migration of its citizens in the future.
Kiribati is also known to be the first country where the sun rises in the world.
As Kiribati is located near the date line, the sun rises earlier there than it does in countries such as New Zealand. The country that sees the first sunrise in the world surely would not want the sea level rise and their land sink.
Fiji has announced that it will accept emigration.
Fiji’s President officially told the Kiribati government that if Kiribati is submerged, Fiji will accept the migration of all Kiribati people. Kiribati has already purchased large tracts of farmland in Fiji and is preparing for a situation where Kiribati will be unable to cultivate its land because of salt damage. The two countries will work together to deal with the situation in the future. Kiribati is not the only nation threatened with extinction due to rising sea levels.
Tuvalu in the South Pacific and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean are also in danger. Tuvalu consists of coral reef islands with an average elevation of 2 to 5 meters. It has a population of 10,000. The country has already experienced flooding, saltwater inundation, and salt damage because of rising sea levels and land subsidence. The Maldives, with 80% of its land area only 1.5 meters above sea level, has more than 1,000 islands, almost all of which have had their coasts eroded. Because these countries are islands, they also have water problems. Flooding has damaged groundwater storage tanks and increased the salinity of the water, and imports of safe water are increasing. The Maldives spends 27% of its GDP on related costs.
Rising sea levels worldwide
The rise in sea level due to global warming has been pointed out numerous times in the past. According to a 1990 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “Over the past 100 years, global average surface temperatures have increased by 0.3-0.6°C and sea levels by 10-20 cm, and if no special measures are taken, global average surface temperatures will rise by about 1-3°C and global average sea levels by 65. If no special measures are taken, the global average surface temperature is expected to rise about 1 to 3 degrees Celsius and the global average sea level will rise 65 centimeters (maximum 1 meter) by the end of the 21st century. It is predicted that the state of Florida and most of Manhattan would be inundated, about 90% of the current beaches would be lost, and some parts of Tokyo would be nearly submerged. In some areas, rising sea levels are threatening the very survival of entire countries. These include Tuvalu and Kiribati in the South Pacific and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Many of the islands in danger of submersion or coastal inundation are small countries without water or resources. They need assistance from other countries, but in some cases, land development to accommodate tourists is causing further erosion of the islands.
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