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14 islands threatened by climate change

By: Katherine Butler on Jan. 10, 2018, 11:44 a.m.
Cape Verde coastal cliffs

Photo: dickdotcom/flickr

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Republic of Cape Verde

The Cape Verde Islands are located some 300 miles off the west coast of Africa. An archipelago of 10 islands and five islets, Cape Verde has a population of about 545,000. In 2011, diplomats, legal scholars and other experts met at Columbia University Law School in New York City to discuss the fate of the Republic of Cape Verde and other island nations. One of the main issues discussed was the responsibility of the greatest greenhouse emitters — such as the United States and China — to the nations that may soon disappear into the seas. Ambassador Antonio Lima of the Cape Verde Islands pointed out that the largest nations will condemn themselves to the same fate if they continue to ignore this crisis. "We are sentinels of the world," he told reporters. "What is happening to us will happen to all of us tomorrow."

Cape Verde is doing what it can to reduce its own impact on the environment by expanding its energy portfolio. The country is aggressively shifting to renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and geothermal.