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That sinking feeling: Tonga’s plight reveals Pacific’s climate ...

World

That sinking feeling: Tonga’s plight reveals Pacific’s climate change peril

Islanders set to be world’s first climate refugees as rising sea levels worsen tsunamis, storm surges and heatwaves

Kanupriya Kapoor and Gloria Dickie

For Tonga, the tsunami unleashed by Saturday’s volcanic eruption demonstrated some of the ways climate change is threatening the islands’ existence.

By increasing temperatures and driving up sea levels, climate change will likely worsen disasters wrought by tsunamis, storm surges and heatwaves, experts say.

Acutely aware of this risk, the South Pacific island nation has been a key voice representing climate-vulnerable nations, saying at the UN climate talks in November that global warming “beyond the 1.5°C threshold would spell absolute catastrophe for Tonga” and other Pacific Islands as they are subsumed by the sea...

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