Rising sea level is putting island nations such as Nauru, the world’s smallest independent republic on the verge of disappearing.
“The weather patterns were predictable,” foreign minister of Nauru Kieren Keke said.
“There was a wet season and a dry season, an annual cycle. When there was drought, it was limited,” Keke said, adding: “Now it’s different. There’s no predictability-periods of drought can last seven or eight years, and when we get storms they are more intense. The coastline is being eroded. Now the sea is right up to people’s doorsteps.”
According to CNN, Keke leads the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the current U.N. Climate Change conference in Doha, Qatar. The Alliance is fighting a David-and-Goliath battle with the world’s biggest polluters, trying to shame them into tougher action to limit emissions and curb the warming of the planet, the report said.
The 43 members of the Alliance include countries that are literally disappearing amid rising sea levels. They have accused the likes of India, China and the United States of not addressing climate change with enough urgency.
According to the report, the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change said in 2007 that sea levels would rise between seven and 23 inches (18 and 59 centimeters) this century, but a rate of ice-melt in the Arctic that is much faster than anticipated has prompted many scientists to raise the projection to about one meter, more than three feet.
Among those most threatened are the Marshall Islands, halfway between Hawaii and Papua New Guinea. They are demanding that countries like China and India-now the first and third emitters of greenhouse gases-to be bound by new targets, along with the industrialized world.
According to the report, measuring sea levels among the Pacific islands-and trying to establish trends-is complicated by the effects of the weather systems known as El Nino and La Nina, according to climatologists. But beyond the threat of higher sea levels, the warming climate produces more extreme storms, and more acidic water bleaches coral reefs, the report added.