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As Seas Rise, Maldives Seek To Buy a New Homeland 521

Peace Corps Online writes "The Maldives will begin to divert a portion of the country's billion-dollar annual tourist revenue to buy a new homeland as insurance against climate change. Rising sea levels threaten to turn the 300,000 islanders into environmental refugees as the chain of 1,200 island and coral atolls dotted 500 miles from the tip of India is likely to disappear under the waves if the current pace of climate change continues to raise sea levels. The UN forecasts that the seas are likely to rise by up to 59 cm by the year 2100. Most parts of the Maldives are just 150 cm above water so even a 'small rise' in sea levels would inundate large parts of the archipelago. 'We can do nothing to stop climate change on our own and so we have to buy land elsewhere. It's an insurance policy for the worst possible outcome,' says the Muslim country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, adding that he has already broached the subject with a number of countries and found them to be 'receptive.' India and Sri Lanka are targets because they have similar cultures and climates; Australia is worth looking at because of the immense amount of unoccupied land in that country. 'We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades.'"

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