Residents of the Carteret Islands, low-lying atolls in the South Pacific, became the world's first climate change refugees as planned evacuations have saved them from rising sea levels, which threaten to submerge the islands by 2015. In 2005, at least 1,000 residents called the islands home, but as the ocean slowly lapped further and further ashore, their fate became clear. Nowhere on the islands is currently more than 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) above sea level.
As temperatures rise due to global warming, sea levels could engulf island nations and coastal communities around the world. The Carteret Islands could be a sign of things to come.