Doomed Kiribati needs escape plan

Kiribati’s President, Anote Tong, says his country may already be doomed by global warming – and he wants New Zealand and Australia to consider the issue of environmental refugees.

“We may already be at the point of no return, where the emissions in the atmosphere will carry on contributing to climate change, so in time our small low-lying islands will be submerged,” Mr Tong said yesterday in Wellington.

Kiribati’s highest point of land is just 2m above sea level, and under “worst-case” scenarios it will be flooded by the Pacific this century and its 94,000 people will have to be re-settled in other countries.

Mr Tong, a graduate of the London School of Economics, said climate change “is not an issue of economic development, it’s an issue of human survival”.

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