Island and coastal nations are grappling with rising sea levels attributed to global warming — and some want industrialized nations to help foot the bill for an expected surge in evacuations, refugee crises and other impacts.
Papua New Guinea’s Carteret Islands are quickly becoming a paradise lost, with ocean waters expected to submerge the seven low-lying atolls by 2015.
Already, rising tides and storm surges have polluted freshwater supplies and devastated crops. Evacuation of the 2,700 residents is underway, and will continue over the next five years, reports Australia’s The Age.
Climate change could force as many as 75 million people from their homes in Asia-Pacific over the next 40 years, Radio Australia reports. From Fiji to the Solomon Islands, governments are planting salt-resistant crops, and making resettlement plans.
In Bangladesh, experts fear a third of the country could be under water by the middle of the century, producing at least 35 million refugees; Environment Minister Mostafizur Rahman Khan went so far as to say that developed nations should take responsibility, and “give us due compensation,” according to reports in The New Nation and United News of Bangladesh.
In July, Oxfam International also blamed climate change for increased global poverty, especially in rural areas where farmers can no longer rely on regular weather patterns to sustain their crops. Their study lists South Asia and Africa as current global warming hot spots.
“First climate refugees start move to new island home”
The Age, July 29, 2009
“Sun Come up, an intimate look at the world’s first climate refugees”
The Daily Green, July 8, 2009
“Grim Climate Warning for Asia Pacific”
Radio Australia News, July 27, 2009
“This is what climate change looks like”
UN Dispatch, July 10, 2009
“Millions face climate-related hunger as seasons shift and change”
Oxfam International, July 6, 2009
“Bangladesh calls for developed countries’ compensation for climate change impact”
Xinhua/China View (Chinese government-funded), July 21, 2009