WB Warns Against Dire Impacts of Climate Change on Pacific Islands
Canberra – The World Bank (WB) warned, on Thursday, against the dire impacts of climate change on the Pacific islands.
Climate change will hit the Pacific harder than anywhere else on Earth and the region’s tiny island nations need major international aid to deal with the challenge, the WB said in a report released at the Pacific Islands Forum in Samoa.
The report noted that even under a best-case scenario – with oceans rising 40 centimetres by 2100 – island nations would face huge costs building seawalls to protect their coastlines.
The worst-case outcome – waters up 126 centimetres by 2100 – would swamp large areas of habitable land in low-lying nations such as Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.
“There is little prospect that the high costs of building sea walls could be financed by the countries themselves,” the report added.
It said that Kiribati and Tuvalu, which are both only a few metres above sea level, may need to consider wholesale migration, calling on Australia and New Zealand, the region’s richest and most developed nations, to give islanders open access to their labour markets.
“It would allow for gradual migration from the atoll nations and be less costly and preferable to a last-minute abandonment, which would require significant emergency assistance and be difficult to manage,” the report underlined.