Kiribati

Climate Risk Country Profile - Kiribati

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KEY MESSAGES

• Kiribati’s island groups have experienced historical warming of between 0.1°C–0.2°C per decade since 1950.

• Future trends in warming are obscured by the inability of climate models to accurately simulate trends at sufficiently small spatial resolutions. Warming is likely to take place at a rate slightly lower than the global average. On the highest emissions pathway (RCP8.5), warming of approximately 3°C is projected by the end of the century.

• Kiribati faces a diverse set of risks from climate change but data and reliable model projections are lacking, presenting challenges for decision makers.

• Potential threats to human well-being and natural ecosystems include increased prevalence of heatwave and drought, intensified cyclones, saline intrusion, wave-driven flooding, and permanent inundation.

• Biodiversity and the natural environment of Kiribati face extreme pressure, and loss of some species of fish, coral, bird, and terrestrial species is likely without very effective conservation measures.

• Kiribati faces a potential long-term threat from permanent inundation, and some studies have suggested that many of its low-lying islands will become uninhabitable within the 21st century.

• Some displacement of communities has already been documented from Kiribati’s atolls. However, other research has suggested that the risk of large-scale net loss of land may previously have been overstated.

• Kiribati’s population already lives in a dynamic ecosystem, to which it has adapted, climate change is likely to increase its variability, pose new threats, and place stress on livelihoods.

• Communities are likely to need support to adapt and manage disaster risks facing their wellbeing, livelihoods, and infrastructure. Geographic isolation and economic vulnerabilities, including dependence on remittance and foreign aid, will increase the challenges faced by communities and decision makers.

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