It’s either now or never. Scientists have been warning us about the numerous consequences of climate change for quite some time. You’ve probably heard about the severe impact of climate change and how it has been impacting our lives, but did you realize that as global warming and climate change worsen, some countries across the world are about to face severe and devastating threats?
These countries are allegedly on the edge of extinction. Let’s look up the names of these countries now. Not only that, but here you’ll learn why these countries are supposed to disappear, the current status, and the measures we could adopt.
Table of Contents
What is Climate Change? What Causes Climate Change?
In simple words, climate change is the continual and fast shift in the earth’s weather pattern, such as a rise in temperature or uneven rainfall. This shift may be due to natural causes or may also be due to anthropogenic causes.
However, the ongoing climate crisis is mainly due to higher emissions of CO2, CFCs, and other hazardous chemicals due to different human activities. Now, below are listed some of the leading causes of climate change;
- Increased fossil fuel consumption: We humans primarily depend on fossil fuels by running vehicles or powering industries. But now, the massive increase in the use of fossil fuels has impacted our planet. Burning of such fossil fuels releases harmful gases like methane, nitrogen oxide, or carbon monoxide, responsible for climate change.
- Deforestation: Many of you may not know that the trees and forest not only provides us with oxygen but also protects and balances our planet by absorbing the carbon emission. But due to the cutting down of these trees and forests, excessive carbon remains in the atmosphere leading to climate change.
- Agriculture and Livestock Farming: The excessive use of chemical fertilizers in agriculture emits harmful greenhouse gases like nitrogen oxide. According to a study, around 62% of NO2 is released from agricultural products.
Likewise, not only agriculture but livestock like cows, goats are responsible for releasing a massive amount of methane gas into the atmosphere.
A recent IPCC report declared Climate Code Red with a possibility of global warming of 1.5 degrees. Many nations are on the edge of extinction in the future if people do not take the required steps to reduce their carbon footprints.
Here is a list of ten countries that are facing a significant threat of disappearance.
Countries That Are Expected to Disappear Due to Climate Change
Bangladesh is located in South Asia with an estimated population of more than 163 million, making it the eighth-most populated nation on the planet.
Though this country is not a very big contributor to climate change, the people of this country are constantly threatened by the adverse threat of floods and cyclones. And, as the threat of climate change increases, these calamities are becoming more common.
According to the BBC, sea levels along the Bangladesh coastline are expected to rise by 1.5m. Furthermore, 25% of the country’s land is flooded every year. This surge is likely to result in even more significant weather changes and flooding.
So, people in Bangladesh have been dealing with floods, increasing water levels for a long time, and have learned to adjust to a new reality. The traditional waterlogged land has made it almost impossible to grow crops normally, so the people have now begun to grow crops on large boats and rafts that can later float when water levels rise.
An island country, Maldives, is located in South Asia with a population of 557,426. The country comprises 1190 small, low-lying tropical islands, out of which only 358 islands are suitable for human habitation. The Maldives is a group of 25 coral atolls in the Indian Ocean.
Many of the country’s economic activities, like fishing and tourism infrastructure, are concentrated within 100 meters of the shoreline, as are half of the country’s communities.
According to the UNDP, even a one-meter rise in sea level will lose a large portion of the Maldives. Furthermore, the major problem faced by the citizens of Maldives includes beach erosion, which reduces the limited available land for human settlement.
The Republic of Nauru is a country in the Central Pacific with nearly 20 square kilometers. The population of 100,651 is currently suffering from the harsh effects of climate change due to the low average height of its territory above sea level.
The majority of the country’s soil has been made unfit for human habitation due to resource exploitation through mining. As a result, people have begun to settle along the coast.
The current rise in sea level caused by melting ice-capped mountains due to climate change poses the greatest threat to Nauru. The ice melt rate will jeopardize the existence of the small Nauru population in this area.
Palau is a country of about 300 islands located to the southeast of the Philippines. Its population of about 21,000 people lives mainly on one of the eight big islands.
Increasing erosion has eaten away at available land, and saltwater has reached crops; thus, rising sea levels have tolled the populations here. Warmer ocean temperatures also harm nearby coral reefs, allowing for increased erosion and negatively impacting the local fishing business.
According to studies by the Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science Program (PACCSP), the sea level in Palau, a country of over 700 islands, has risen by about 0.35 inches, or 9 mm per year since 1993, almost three times the global average rise.
The faster rate could be attributed to natural weather patterns that occur regularly, such as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation. Depending on the quantity of global greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere, sea level is anticipated to rise between 5.5 and 13.8 inches by 2050.
Comoros is a small island nation off the east coast of Africa that lies between Madagascar and Mozambique. With a population of 798,000 people, it comprises three big islands and several smaller islands.
This country is considered sensitive to climate change, and rising sea levels and increased flooding have caused significant damage. These problems have reduced agricultural output, harmed coral reefs, and impacted the local fishing business.
The Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) is collaborating with the government of this country to help combat the detrimental consequences of climate change through plans and policies.
Tonga is a group of 169 islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. There are only 36 inhabited islands, with a population of slightly over 103,000 people. Rapidly increasing sea levels are one of the most severe concerns facing this country.
Residents and businesses in the area have already dealt with receding beaches, forcing them to relocate their houses, offices, and restaurants further inland to avoid the invading sea. The shoreline has already been exposed to storms and erosion due to the destruction of mangroves.
Kiribati is a three-million-square-kilometer island nation located in the northeast of Australia. Every new day and year, it is the first populated place on the planet to begin. The Spanish discovered it in the 16th century, and it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1979.
In the Pacific Ocean, the country consists of 33 coral atolls and one island, with 102,351 people as of 2013. The capital city of Kiribati is South Tarawa.
The primary concern it faces is rising sea levels. Kiribati is the most likely country to vanish owing to rising sea levels in the following years, with an altitude of barely three meters and water growing at a rate of 1.2 millimeters per year (four times faster than the global average).
The Federated States of Micronesia is located east of the Philippines, with 607 islands and atolls. Rising sea levels have already wreaked havoc on the area, with local cemeteries disappearing beneath the seas.
The government has adopted measures for sustainable economic development and climate adaptation in response to these issues. By the end of the century, the seawater surrounding these islands will rise anywhere from 16 to 62 inches.
Since 1993, the global average rate of sea-level rise has been 3.1 millimeters per year. However, the Federated States of Micronesia, which comprises four main islands — Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae — is losing land three times faster than the rest of the world.
The water level is rising at a ten-millimeter-per-year rate. Coastal inundation, flooding, erosion, and storm surges are threatening the country’s survival.
Seychelles is a country group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean that span 177 square miles. The coral reefs around the islands have been devastated by rising ocean temperatures.
These reefs protected the islands from erosion; now, they are gone most significantly and are in danger of eroding. The 92,000 people who live here will have nowhere to go if sea levels rise only 3 feet.
The Indian Ocean’s 115-island archipelago is primarily a tourist attraction, but its beaches are deteriorating. In theory, just one meter (39 inches) of sea-level rise could submerge 70% of the country’s territory.
The yearly sea-level rise in Seychelles had fluctuated in recent years, although there were five times between 2002 and 2006 when it reached over 4 inches owing to severe storms and flooding.
Tuvalu is a South Pacific island nation that is part of the British Commonwealth. The nine Tuvalu islands are tiny, thinly populated atolls and coral islands with palm-fringed beaches and WWII ruins.
The archipelago of Tuvalu was discovered by the Spanish about 1568 and won independence from Britain in 1978. In the Pacific Ocean, the territory comprises four coral reefs, five atolls, and three islands. Funafuti is the capital city, with a population of 9876 people as of 2013.
Tuvalu’s position exemplifies the inequity of climate change: the least polluting country is one of the most vulnerable to global warming. Tuvalu is a victim of the emissions from other nations and the absence of global warming limits due to its low average height above sea level.
Tuvalu, close to Vanuatu, was also hit by Cyclone Pam and is on the verge of sinking due to global warming, prompting its government to be particularly strict about Kyoto Protocol compliance. Tuvalu is a Pacific island chain made up of a limited number of islands. Its tiny size and remote location have attracted tourists, but it is also vulnerable to climate change.
Its representatives have been warning for more than 25 years that climate change will boost sea levels high enough to drown the islands. Tuvalu may become uninhabitable even if sea levels never rise that high because increasing sea levels have poisoned the nation’s groundwater resources with salt and lowered food harvests.
What Can Be Done?
The following are some actions to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change:
- Reduce the emission of Greenhouse Gases.
- Switch to the clean and green economy options.
- Use renewable energy sources like solar energy.
- Be aware of your carbon footprints.
- Increase climate resilience.
- Enhance energy efficiency.
- Sustainable land-use policies.
- Protect and manage available forests and other natural resources.
Even while climate change is a worldwide phenomenon, its effects are not evenly distributed. The countries with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions are expected to suffer the brunt of the consequences.
Despite contributing just 0.03 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, Pacific island countries are presently under the worst threat of climate change than any country on the planet. These countries have little forest cover, which is one of the causes of rapidly rising water levels.
So, if immediate worldwide mitigation actions are not adopted, these island countries would be buried inside water bodies in no time.
(Last Updated on September 23, 2021 by Sadrish Dabadi)