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14 islands threatened by climate change

By: Katherine Butler on Jan. 10, 2018, 11:44 a.m.
Tuvalu has demonstrated some resistance to rising sea levels.

Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Wikimedia Commons

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An island nation midway between Australia and Hawaii, Tuvalu is home to 10,640 people as of 2012, with a total land area of 10 square miles across three islands and six atolls. At its highest, Tuvalu is about 15 feet above sea level. Tuvalu has been on the front lines of demanding action on climate change. In 2015, the prime minster, Enele Sopoaga, addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference and said, "Tuvalu's future at current warming, is already bleak, any further temperature increase will spell the total demise of Tuvalu."

The atolls and islands of Tuvalu have demonstrated some resistance to sea level rise, thanks in part to sand and coral debris accumulated during cyclones. Coral growth has also helped, but neither it or the debris accumulation are long-term solutions should sea levels rise a rate that outpaces those natural occurrences..