Monday, December 3, 2012

Pacific islanders face major losses from climate change

Megan Rowling in AlertNet: The livelihoods of some 10 million people in Pacific island communities are increasingly vulnerable to climate change, which poses "unprecedented challenges" to the region's economies and environment, a U.N.-backed report said on Friday.

Incomes - in many cases already low - are at risk from sea-level rise, tropical cyclones, floods and drought, as well as pressures linked to over-fishing and coastal development, said the report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

Low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean could face projected losses of up to 18 percent of gross domestic product due to climate change, UNEP added. “This report presents concrete evidence that food, freshwater and the livelihoods of Pacific islanders are under threat," UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a statement.

Other challenges include population increases, a reliance on imported food and commodities, a growing waste problem and invasive species - pressures that are being exacerbated by climate change and more frequent extreme weather events, said the report....

Enderbury Island, in Kiribati, shot by NASA

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