The Tuvaluan parliament building on Funafuti, built by aid from Taiwan


Funafuti atol Tuvalu on the front line of the battle against global warming Only 15 feet above sea level at the highest point with many parts of the island lying at or barely above current sea levels rising sea levels are increasingly putting the island population of 10 000 Tuvaluans at risk It seems likely that this island nation will be the first country to disapear completely as a result of climate change global warming Sea levels in the Pacific have risen slowly over the last 20 years and the rate of rise seems likely to increase as ice sheets and glaciers melt more rapidly with ever warming temperatures Tuvalu is the smallest country in the world only 26 Km2 and most vulnerable to sea level rise It lies close to the equator and virtually on the international date line Ever rising seas threaten to make the island uninhabitable Already during the highest tides sea water is forced up through the porous coral atol and floods many low lying areas of the island during the highest tides This salt water incursion poisons the thin soils and makes growing crops increasingly difficult leaving the Tuvaluans increasingly dependant on expensive imports As well as sea level rise the weather patterns are altering with a shift in the cyclone period by a month and an increase in stormy weather The stormy weather is creating greater wave erosion and many parts of the island are suffering land loss as palm trees are washed into the sea as the island is undercut by wave action