Positive Environment News

Tuvalu, About to Disappear, Pleas on Global Warming

Date: 14-Sep-07

The group of atolls and reefs, home to some 10,000 people,
is barely two metres on average above sea-level and one study
predicted at the current rate the ocean is rising could
disappear in the next 30 to 50 years.

"We keep thinking that the time will never come. The
alternative is to turn ourselves into fish and live under
water," Tuvalu Deputy Prime Tavau Teii told Reuters in the
South Korean capital where he was attending a conference on the

"All countries must make an effort to reduce their
emissions before it is too late for countries like Tuvalu," he
said, calling the country one of the most vulnerable in the
world to man-made climate change.

He reeled off a list of threats to the country, one of
whose few export earnings comes from its Internet country
suffix which it can sell to anyone wanting their Website site
to end with .tv.

Coral reefs are being damaged by the warming ocean and so
threatening fish stocks -- the main source of protein.

The sea is increasingly invading underground fresh water
supplies, creating problems for farmers, while drought
constantly threatened to limit drinking water.

Annual spring tides appear to be getting higher each year,
eroding the coastline. As the coral reefs die, that protection
goes and the risk only increases.

And the mounting ferocity of cyclones from a warmer ocean
also brought greater risks, he said, noting another island
state in the area had been buffeted by waves three years ago
that crashed over its 30 metre cliffs.

"We'll try and maintain our own way of living on the island
as long as we can. If the time comes we should leave the
islands, there is no other choice but to leave."

Teii said his government had received indications from New
Zealand it was prepared to take in people from the islands.
About 2,000 of its population already live there.

But Australia, the other major economy in the region, had
only given vague commitments.

"Australia was very reluctant to make a commitment even
though they have been approached in a diplomatic way."

© Thomson Reuters 2007 All rights reserved

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