Kiribati

Kiribati, Photo by Brook Meakins

Kiribati, Photo by Brook Meakins

Kiribati, which straddles the equator near the international date line, has found itself at the leading edge of the debate on climate change because its atolls rise just a few feet above sea level.

The government purchased a sizeable plot of land in neighboring (but mountainous) Fiji. This land enables the country of Kiribati to produce food that would not grow in their own country, and for a back-up plan as sea level continues to rise.

President Anote Tong said the half-meter sea level rise projected by climate scientists over the next century would submerge a significant proportion of the land on which his people live.

One of the least developed countries in the world, Kiribati has contributed little to worldwide carbon emissions, yet has the most to lose from global warming