2 Apr 2014

Migration key climate change issue for Pacific says USP

3:36 pm on 2 April 2014

A lecturer at the University of the South Pacific says the latest climate change report signals increasing pressure on communities to migrate from low lying parts of the region as villages become inundated by rising sea levels.

Dr Keith Morrison says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates huge changes are inevitable for the Pacific region, including threats to traditional livelihoods from dwindling fisheries and crops.

He says nations are responding in different ways to the effects of climate change but frequent flooding from high tides means many have moved already.

The unusually high tides, the unusually bad weather is becoming more common. So people's sort of resistance or resilience to be able to cope with this is sort of wearing down. It reaches a point they're thinking 'well perhaps it's better just to go somewhere else' So they're at that point now where people are beginning to think 'yes, we're not going to keep putting up with this'.

Dr Morrison says more research is being done at the USP into the social aspects of how people can adapt to accelerating climate change.