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November 28, 2005

First climate change refugees

For more than 30 years the 980 people living on the Carteret atolls have battled the Pacific to stop salt water destroying their coconut palms and waves crashing over their houses. They failed.

One week before UN Climate Change conference in Montreal, the Carterets' people became the first to be officially evacuated because of climate change. 10 families at a time will be moved by the authorities to Bougainville, an island 62 miles away. Within two years the six Carterets will be uninhabited and undefended. By 2015 they are likely to be completely submerged.

The Carterets will join many other Pacific islands that are on the point of being swallowed by the sea. According to the Red Cross, the number of people in the Oceania region affected by weather-related disasters has soared by 65 times during the past 30 years. Increased numbers of cyclones, droughts and floods, all predicted by climate change scientists, are making life unviable on many islands. Rising sea levels swamping the islands is the last act of a long, perhaps unstoppable process.

Via The Guardian.

Posted by dymaxion at November 28, 2005 10:28 PM



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