On Global warming – Kiribati

2015 was shown to be the hottest year on record and there seems no sign of these record breaking natural events abating.

Case in point Kiribati, no other group of people will validate this truth that the residents of Kiribati, a country in the pacific which straddles both sides of the international date line, an atoll which at its highest point is 88m, but most of its 811 km2 at sea level, the entire landmass is 2 meters above sea level the consequences of the change are dire to say the least. The president of Kiribati Anote Tong in a recent address at a TED conference expressed concern over the impact of climate change to his country.  In the worst case scenario 100% of the country will be underwater and all of its population. To compound the situation, it is also one of the poorest countries in the world. Its major source of income is fisheries and agriculture, by the year 2100, most of the limited arable land will be underwater and will result in jeopardizing the survival of the 100,000 or so inhabitants.

Kiribati is an unfortunate case of a country that has suffered at the cost of development of others. The fallout of this situation ultimately has to be borne by neighboring countries and partners, the impact of 100,000 people displaced into their countries will have a significant social, economic and political impact.

Its pacific neighbors and trade partners will be the first ones to feel its impact. The bigger economies of Australia and New Zealand might be able to absorb a large portion of the climate refugees but what about the I-Kiribati themselves? What is become of their identities, will they integrate into their adopted countries and carve out a little piece of their identity or will they become marginalized, reduced a mere statistic.