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Op-ed: Climate change has reached our shores

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By Christopher J. Loeak
The New York Times

As the world barrels toward a climate crisis of its own making, my country stands at the precipice. In the Marshall Islands, like elsewhere in the Pacific, climate change is no longer a distant threat, nor at the doorstep. Climate change is here.

Op-ed: Climate change has reached our shores

Christopher J. Loeak, President of the Marshall Islands, speaks at the UN

As the world barrels toward a climate crisis of its own making, my country stands at the precipice. In the Marshall Islands, like elsewhere in the Pacific, climate change is no longer a distant threat, nor at the doorstep. Climate change is here.

No one can seriously contest that humanity’s carbon-polluting ways are the main cause of global warming, and that the consequences are set to intensify. As Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier this month to an audience in the Marshall Islands, “The science is clear. It is irrefutable, and it is alarming.”

Nowhere in the world is this threat more immediate than in the Marshall Islands, a loose string of more than 1,000 small islands a short plane ride southwest of Hawaii. As one of only four low-lying coral atoll nations in the world, we are increasingly panicked by recent scientific reports suggesting that the world is currently heading for a three- to six-foot rise in sea levels by the end of the century. If such predictions are accurate, my country will be lost forever.

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