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Friend of Tortoise Exclusive

Disappeared nations and flooded cities: what happens when a country drowns?

Disappeared nations and flooded cities: what happens when a country drowns?

This event is exclusive to Friends of Tortoise

This is a newsroom ThinkIn. In-person and digital-only tickets are available.

Kiribati is an independent island nation in the Pacific Ocean and home to 120,000 people. It’s also under threat from rising sea levels caused by global warming. Or to look at it another way, Kiribati is threatened by the current pace of reductions in carbon emissions. If nothing is done about rising sea levels, Kiribati, a place where humans have lived for nearly 5,000 years, will cease to exist by the end of the century. 

Kiribati is not alone. The Maldives, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and others all face an uncertain future due to climate change. And it’s not just island states under threat: cities like Bangkok, New Orleans, Jakarta and many more are vulnerable. Closer to home, Portsmouth, Chichester, Conwy and other coastal areas could be submerged by 2050. 

What happens when a town, city or nation sinks below the surface, and what does it mean for the people who live there? 

This ThinkIn is part of Tortoise’s Accelerating Net Zero coalition. The initiative brings together our members and a network of organisations across a programme of ThinkIns and journalism devoted to accelerating progress towards Net Zero.

Visit the homepage to find out more about the coalition and join us.

editor and invited experts

Ellen Halliday

Liam Saddington
ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University

Michael B. Gerrard
Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice; Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School

Simon Crowther
Flood resilience consultant