"Climate change poses the greatest threats to the development of small island nations, a new U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) report out today finds.
From damage to the world's coral reef cover -- expected to cost the global economy $11.9 trillion and devastate the Caribbean -- to sea-level rise, which is hitting island nations like the Federated States of Micronesia at four times the global average rate, the report highlights the most worrisome environmental threats to the world's 52 island nations. It also calls for an "immediate shift" toward clean energy investment and new policies to improve the ocean management of natural resources.
"These are pretty serious problems," said Patricia Beneke, UNEP's regional director for North America. "First and foremost, the impacts of climate change are a serious threat to these small island developing states. They are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to the fact that they are relatively small landmasses. They have a high dependence on coastal ecosystems for food, for livelihood and also for protection against extreme events.""