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Island nations face 'extinction'

Low-lying island nations say their peoples are threatened with 'extinction' by rising sea levels, and are calling for a 'climate change insurance fund' at the UN climate change conference in Cancun.

Sea levels could rise two meters over the next 90 years, according to the United Nations. That would displace 260,000 people from low-lying islands, while putting another million at risk of flooding, according to research from Oxford University.

A group of 40 nations calling themselves the Association of Small Island States is warning that many indigenous groups would be lost. According to The Telegraph:

Antonio Lima, Vice Chairman of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), said whole nations will be washed away by sea level rise.

He said the people of Kiribati, Tuvalu, most of the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives, that are just a few metres above sea level now, could be lost as a race.

“We are going to be the first human species endangered in the 21st century. We are going to be in danger of going extinct,” he said.

“We do not want to be the forgotten of the 21st century. We do not want to be sacrificed. We want to survive and to survive we need solidarity from those who can do something about the weather.”

AOSIS is calling for an insurance fund to be part of any global deal on climate change, with most of the money coming from carbon-emitting rich nations. The fund would pay out according to damage, or could be use to help whole nations resettle to new homelands.

Monte Paulsen reports on carbon shift for The Tyee.

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