Climate Changes Implications To Pacific Islands

Based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) fourth assessment report, it identifies small island states as being the most vulnerable countries of the world to the adverse impacts of climate change. The Pacific islands in fact without doubt one of world’s most vulnerable regions when it comes to the risks of disaster due to climate change, especially to the several of the low-laying coral islands. Climate change is already affecting Pacific islands with dramatic revenue loss across sectors such as agriculture, water resources, forestry, tourism and other industry-related sectors. The Pacific islands are subjected to the impacts of climate change caused by excessive fossil burning, deforestation and atmospheric pollution. The Pacific islands see climate change is the major disaster and have openly and continually blame the industrialized nations for failure to take definitive steps towards deteriorating pollution of the global atmosphere. Climate change poses an existential threat to the Pacific islands and may further aggravate conflicts over increasingly scarce resources. This paper examines the implications of climate change on economic, social and political security in the Pacific islands states.
KEYWORDS: Climate change, Pacific islands, Small Island states, Pollution
Pacific islands consist of small islands like Kiribati, Tuvalu, Fiji, Cook Islands, Marshal Islands, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Pacific islands are one of the region are being affected by climate change. Due to their geographical size, the impacts of climate change seem faster that other regions.
What is climate change? According to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC), climate change refers to a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that changes the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods. As the United Nations Secretary General has said, it is the major, overriding environmental issue of our time, and the single greatest challenge facing environmental regulators. It is a growing crisis with economic, health and safety, food production, security, and other dimensions.

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Based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) fourth assessment report, it identifies small island states as being the most vulnerable countries of the world to the unpleasant impacts of climate change. The Pacific islands in fact without doubt one of world’s most vulnerable regions when it comes to the risks of disaster due to climate change, especially to the several of the low-laying coral islands like Kiribati and Tuvalu. Climate change is already affecting Pacific islands with dramatic revenue loss across sectors such as forestry, tourism, water resources, agriculture, and other related sectors.
The 41st meeting of the Pacific islands Forum, which took place in Port Vila, Vanuatu, from 4th to 5th of August 2010, concluded with the issuance of a Communiqué, which contains a section on climate change. According to the Communiqué, climate change remains the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific islands. The Pacific islands leaders stress the need for a meaningful legally-binding agreement on emissions reduction to be reached urgently and without delay.
This paper will focus on the implications of climate change on economic, social and political security in the Pacific islands. The first part of this paper will provide a brief summary on climate change and the Pacific islands and issues arise from climate change; second, we will examine the implications of climate change: threat to human security such as food, natural resources and ecosystem, and health; migration; and political instability.
The impacts of climate change are quite varied. If we look at the physical impacts that climate change is having, we will see the issues arise from climate change are sea level rises and temperature increases. According to Espen Ronneberg, changes in atmospheric and ocean temperatures will be having impacts on Pacific islands through a mixture of physical interactions and one of them is changes in precipitation patterns. Hence, climate change creates an existential threat to the Pacific islands and may further exacerbate conflicts over increasingly scarce resources. Climate change is increasing the harshness and frequency of disasters, which are causing displacement, livelihood insecurity and increasing political instability. This research paper is attempted to discover the implications of climate change on economic, social and political security in the Pacific islands even though there are a few consensus regarding the climate change have been made for example during the 108th Congress (2003-2004), nearly 100 bills, resolutions, and amendments specifically addressing climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were introduced. The bills, resolutions, and amendments focused primarily on climate change research and comprehensive emissions cap and trade programs. Additional bills concentrated on GHG reporting and power plant emissions of CO2.
Physical Evidences of Climatic Change
The Pacific islands are subjected to the impacts of climate change caused by human influences such as excessive fossil burning, deforestation and atmospheric pollution; and due to natural reasons for instance the movement of tectonic plates, orbital variations, volcanism and ocean variability. The Pacific islands see climate change as the major disaster and have openly and continually blame the industrialized nations like United States for failure to take definitive steps towards deteriorating pollution of the global atmosphere. Besides that, the increasing of population growth, tourism and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources negatively impacts the ecosystem. The growth of population is expected to further exacerbate land and resource scarcity and make the situation more badly. Climate change poses an existential threat to the Pacific islands and may further exacerbate conflicts over increasingly scarce resources. Below are the two major issues that arise due to climate change.
Sea Level Rising
The issues arise due to climate change are sea-levels rising, extreme weather events and disasters and livelihood degradation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) agrees the primary issue arise due to climate change is rising of the sea level. Relatively small rises in sea level would make some densely settled coastal plains uninhabitable and create a significant problem. Moreover, any increase in sea level will accelerate the coastal erosion and cause the low-lying island states like what happen in Tuvalu and Kiribati. It is estimated that, the sea-levels are likely to rise for the next centuries to come. Presently, the IPCC predicts sea level rise is most probable to be just short of half a meter, and at least between 9 and 88 cm through 2100, but they also warn that climate change during that time may lead to irreversible changes in the earth’s glacial system and ultimately melt enough ice to raise sea level many meters over the next decade.
Tuvalu is the best example to explain issue of rise of sea level. In early 2000, there were a series of media reporting over sea level rise issues using Tuvalu as an example. The daily life of Tuvalu revolves around the ocean and the immediate threat on the Tuvaluan, economy, environment and its islands is of concern to the Tuvalu government. Tuvalu government has concluded that Tuvalu was destined to become the first nation to be sunk by climate change because it is one of the smallest and lowest-lying countries in the world.
Erosion due to sea level rise is not the only issue in Tuvalu. Inundation will increase further inland together with salt water intrusion to destroy underground the freshwater sources. According to McCracken of the United States Global Change Research of Climate change, a 1 cm rise in sea level can consume 1 m or more of beach width towards the sea. Below figure shows the sea level trends for Tuvalu since 1995.
Figure 1: The sea level trends Source: Than Aung, Awnesh Singh and Uma Prasad. “Sea Level Threat in Tuvalu.” (2009)
The issue of the rising of sea level is not a new issue to Tuvalu. The actual danger to Tuvalu is the rate of the sea level rise. Figure 1 shows the sea level trends with time, it is quite clear that trends for Tuvalu are more or less horizontal since 1999. It clearly indicates that the sea level rise rate is not accelerating but however, as mention earlier a 1 cm rise in sea level can consume 1 m or more of beach width towards the sea; it shows how dangerous the rising of sea level may affect small islands like Tuvalu.
Extreme Weather Events and Disasters
The Pacific islands states are more exposed to extreme weather events and climate variability than most countries. The increase in temperature and sea level rise is expected to trigger an increase in natural disasters. The region will experience increasing frequency and severity of extreme events such as heat waves, exceptional rainfall events, droughts, tropical cyclones, storm surges, EI-Nino conditions, and severe diseases.
Floods and droughts are particularly devastating for small islands. Many islands rely on regular rainfall to recharge limited groundwater resources. When there is too little rain, or too much at one time, these reservoirs are taxed, threatening food and water security. Flooding and droughts will render whole islands, particularly low-lying atolls, uninhabitable, leading to their abandonment, migration and conflicts over resources, thus endangering security on the islands.
This extreme weather has gave impacts to economy such as it led to the decline of tourists to Pacific islands, a good example was the case of Niue, in 2004 Cyclone Heta had destroyed a large part of the island. The summary of the impacts of extreme weather and events as per shown in the below table.
Table 1: Impacts of Extreme Weather Events and Disasters Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change
Implications of the Climate change to Pacific Islands
Threat to Human Security
Climate change may result a threat to human security. It may become more difficult for human to satisfy their basic needs. As far as everybody concerned, the needs of immediate action to find solutions for people whose homes, lands and livelihood, are being destroyed by rising of the sea levels and the extreme weather disasters. Ajay Chhibber, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General once said, “We recognize climate change to be a critical development challenge with enormous implications for the entire range of development concerns: poverty, livelihoods, food security, conflict and social cohesion, to name a few.” He added, “At a time of global economic crisis, climate change has the potential to reverse hard-won development gains in the region, which could compromise our collective ability to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and plans for a prosperous, peaceful and secure region.”
Sea level rise will increase salt water intrusion, thus degrading fresh water resources. The impacts of climate change on freshwater systems are mainly due to the observed and projected increases in temperature, sea level and rainfall variability. An increase in the ratio of winter to annual flows, and possibly the reduction in low flows caused by decreased glacier extent or snow water storage, is predicted. Sea-level rise will extend areas of salinisation of groundwater and estuaries, resulting in a decrease in freshwater availability for humans and ecosystems in coastal areas. Increased rainfall intensity and variability is projected to increase the risks of flooding and droughts in many areas of the world especially to small island states. This will diminish economic sectors such as agricultural production unless new resistant crops are introduced to offset these impacts.
The Pacific islands states have traditionally depended upon food production for survival and economic development. In addition, the issue of sea level rise is not the only cause a threat to human security in terms of food security, but the extreme weather also brings negative impact to food security in the Pacific islands. The extreme weather that cause drought also cause many problems particularly in agriculture all over the region. Increased risk of flooding in river catchments also threatens food production. Heavy flooding of the Wainibuka and Rewa rivers in Fiji in April 2004, for example, damaged between 50% and 70% of crops. A few studies have focused on the impacts of climate change on agriculture sector in Fiji. For example changes in temperature and rainfall have influence agricultural production. Sugarcane production is expected to drop by 9% from current conditions with losses averaging US$13.7million a year by 2050. Impacts on traditional crops with 11-15% drop in taro, yam and cassava production with a loss of US$680,000 a year in lost food crops. In terms of the economic costs of climate change impacts, the island of Viti Levu, Fiji Islands, could suffer economic damage averaging at least US$23 -US$52 million a year by 2050 (i.e. equivalent to 2-4% of Fiji’s GDP). Another best example of the impact of climate change to the lost of agricultural production or food production was Cyclone Ami, for example, caused over US$35 million in lost crops in Fiji in 2003.
Furthermore, climate change exposures are likely to affect the health status of millions of people, particularly those with low adaptive capacity, through: increases in malnutrition and consequent disorders, with implications for child growth and development; increased deaths, disease and injury due to heat waves, floods, storms, fires and droughts; the increased burden of diarrhoeal disease; and the increased frequency of cardio-respiratory diseases due to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone related to climate change. Moreover, climate change may cause the spread of disease such as malaria and dengue fever. For instance, warming in Papua New Guinea is likely to cause a contraction of the cooler malaria free zone in the highlands. Studies show positive associations between temperature increases and diarrhoea, and between warmer sea-surface temperatures and ciguatera outbreaks. Since the health services in most Pacific islands states already ill equipped and struggling to cope with existing health problems, it is unlikely there will be capacity to effectively respond to the increased health burden caused by climate change.
Furthermore, climate change was likely to increase the rates of diarrhoeal disease in Fiji and Kiribati due to decreases in rainfall and increases in temperature. No evidence was presented to show relationship between flooding or heavy rainfall and cases of diarrhoea. yet, the 1997/98 drought (associated with El-Nino) had widespread impact, including malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency in children and infants.
In addition, we may see the implications or impacts of the climate change to the Pacific islands states in case of Vanuatu. According to Edward Natapei, the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, more than 80%, of the population of Vanuatu depend on the land for their subsistence farming and contributions to the national economy. Their traditional farming practices have been shaped by their subsistence needs and climatic conditions. Land has always been culturally precious to the Ni-Vanuatu mainly because rights to its ownership and use form a central part of their culture and traditional governance. Increasingly considerable pressure is being placed on access to land by the rapidly growing population.
Above has discussed, the three fundamental pillars of human security are natural resources and ecosystems, food, and health. According to United Nations University writer Christian Webersik (2010) identifies climate change as a variable that can drastically undermine each of these pillars, with stark consequences. “A poor response to natural hazards and may create anti-government grievances in societies with weak governance structures and stricken by political violence and poverty.”
The impact of sea level rise from climate change could be catastrophic for the Pacific islands states. The increasing of population growth, shrinking of land mass and declining of income opportunities may result to migration from outer to central islands or to other countries. The unpleasant impacts of climate change increase the rate of domestic migration and relocation, with people from rural areas and remote islands moving to urban centres. The number is growing as people in rural areas are losing their livelihoods and land because of natural disasters and sea level rise. The International Federation of the Red Cross in the World Disasters Report 2001 estimated that more people are now forced to leave their homes because of environmental disasters than war.
According to Jonathan Adams in his article written for the New York Times (2007), some experts warn that, ultimately, these issues will combine to power a wave of emigrants fleeing the Pacific islands. Indeed, there are already signs of flight: according to a study by the Australian government, applications for New Zealand residency from eligible Pacific island nations shot up sharply in 2005 and 2006, compared with 2003.
Afifi and Warner (2008) find a statistically significant link between environmental degradation and outward migration. Due to the extreme weather events and disasters such as hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, and sea level rise in the source country are found to have a significant and positive link with migration flows. For example, flooding in the source country is found to increase migration, but this relationship is not statistically significant. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change report noted that climate change is likely to very likely to cause higher maximum temperatures, more intense rainfall events, increased risk of drought, increase in tropical cyclone peak wind intensities, and an increasing number of floods in some areas.
Tuvalu is the best example to explain the impacts of climate change in the case of migration. Economic factors associated with environmental factors, forcing people from Tuvalu to migrate to new place, this will result in a brain drain. Tuvalu already has an ad hoc agreement with New Zealand to allow phased relocation and many residents have been leaving the islands. The New Zealand government already takes in a quota of Tuvaluans every year, many of whom have found jobs in the strawberry fields and packing plants around Auckland. It has assured Tuvalu that it will absorb the entire population if the worst comes to pass. That is a lifeline that many similarly threatened island nations – including Kiribati, Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, the Cook Islands, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
There was a debate on the issue of climate change, “Climate change Threatens International Peace, Pacific islands Tell UN Debate,” on 26 September 2008. The Pacific Island states voice out at the General Assembly on the issue of climate change, promising to table a draft resolution during the climate session that will call on the United Nations to scrutinize the threat posed by climate change to international peace and security. Prime Minister Feleti Vaka’uta Sevele of Tonga, addressed to the Assembly’s annual General Debate to urge other Member States outside the region to show their support for the draft resolution. “The prospect of climate refugees from some of the Pacific Island Forum countries is no longer a prospect but a reality, with relocations of communities due to sea level rise already taking place,” he said. The resolution is expected to ask United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to commission a report on climate change and security, and to invite the Security Council and the General Assembly to work together on possible recommendations to deal with any problems identified. In addition, Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuila’epa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, urged countries to convert the commitments they made about greenhouse gas reduction into reality. “Only through selfless and concerted efforts by all countries led by the major greenhouse gas emitters can we have a fighting chance of lessening the destructive impact of climate change,” he said, adding that it also enhances the chances of a credible agreement beyond the current Kyoto Protocol. Derek Sikua, Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister said he feared that the magnitude of climate change has already outgrown the existing capacity of the UN system to respond. Many smaller countries were being left to find their own solution for themselves against the impact of climate change, as regional groups and other organizations charted their own course. The Prime Minister called for the UN’s Small Islands Developing States Unit to be strengthened so that it can help countries, such as those in the Pacific Ocean facing rising sea levels, with special needs.
There are a lot of actions was taken by many institution bodies to overcome this problem, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change has changed its initial position on the likely patterns of migration in response to increased disasters and negative effects of climate change. The second change is recognition that physical vulnerability to climate change constitutes only one factor in a person’s overall vulnerability to environmental hazards.
Political Instability
The nations of the Pacific are, in general, developing island states that are geographically distributed and economically varied. The level of development of the Forum’s island member countries varies considerably across the region as does the quality of governance. Access to resources is often difficult due to the geographic distances and resources are often scarce and in demand. Climate change is increasing the unpredictability of weather patterns, such as increasing the incidence and intensity of cyclones. Political stability is volatile in many of the regions nations especially to Pacific islands region. Across the region, the population demographics are changing with the average age reducing; while education and access to it is improving opportunities for youth are still limited compared to the more developed nations of the world.
If a country becomes unstable and no longer capable to respond to other challenges, it will diminish the capacity of the country to peacefully interfere domestic and international conflicts. The multiple stresses may give rise of to several conflicts constellations, where the interactions of climate change with other factors increase the risk of violent conflicts. Disputes over land as a result of inequalities and frictions between traditional and introduced of land management system as well as intra-state migration may become aggravated.
Many conflicts were related to land issues. However, the scale and intensity of conflicts and the level of instability vary across the regions. The adverse impacts of climate change alter the distribution and quality of natural resources such as fresh water, arable land, coastal territory, and marine resources. These changes can increase competition for scarce resources, with the increased possibility of armed conflict. Existing tensions within the Pacific islands states will similarly be heightened especially in already unstable areas and can endanger national security as well as be a threat to international peace and security.
According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (2001), owing to factors of limited size, availability, and geology and topography, water resources in small islands are extremely vulnerable to changes and variations in climate. Moreover, a reduction in the size of the island, resulting from land loss accompanying sea level rise, is likely to reduce the thickness of the freshwater lens on atolls by as much as 29%. Increases in demand related to population and economic growth, in particular tourism continue to place serious stress on existing water resources.
Shifting boundaries of existing land are particularly problematic for communities with collectively owned lands. The blurring of boundaries can intensify the disputes between communities over land ownership and usage, as communities may fight to re-claim their share of natural resources. This could lead to conflicts between individuals and communities as they try to redistribute resources, and is likely to evolve into a security threat if not dealt with in a transparent and equitable manner.
Multipliers of Conflicts
Climate change is not like other conventional security threats. The combination of the threats stemming from climate change impacts of increased water and food insecurities, rising sea levels, and increased extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and cyclones, will create risks to national and regional security as well as to international peace and security. Because climate change has multiple impacts in many different areas, it has the potential to cause multiple problems simultaneously and erode already fragile conditions, both environmental and economic.
The combination of increased disease due to lack of potable water, flooding and coastal erosion, lack of food, and migration will continue to escalate into humanitarian crises that will strain government resources around the globe and especially within the Pacific. In the Solomon Islands, the combination of various adverse impacts of climate change led to armed conflict, requiring the deployment of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). As environmental migration is usually internal and short term, the possible for instigating conflict is quite minimal. Yet, unstable urban and rural demographics are related to higher risks of civil war and low level communal conflicts during periods of environmental stress are common.
The Future of Pacific Islands – The Survival of Pacific Islands
Environmentalists have warned that the effects of climate change, caused by a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, will include thermal expansion and a meltdown of glaciers. That could lead to the rising of the sea level and extreme weather events and disasters, and would be devastating for countries such as Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and China.
However, the small nations of the Pacific, where some of the world’s lowest-lying islands are situated, would be the first to be swamped. Those considered mostly in danger, as well as Kiribati, are Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and parts of Papua New Guinea. Dozens of families have been forced to move, dismantling their wooden huts piece by piece and reassembling them further back from the water. Now the population is being squeezed into an ever narrower strip of land between the lagoon and the Pacific. Environmentalists have predicted that the effects of rising sea levels will be borne disproportionately by the world’s most poor countries, which make a insignificant contribution to climate change and are least well equipped to adapt.
A report this month by the CSIRO, Australia’s government scientific organisation, forecast that climate change in the Asia-Pacific region could see the rising of sea level by up to 19 inches by 2070. So, there are possibilities that small islands states in the Pacific islands could be sunk in the future.
So, what are the options that the Pacific islands have? For those islanders who are worried about the future, have been leaving their island for other Pacific states like Australia and New Zealand. In the case of the New Zealand, their government has a scheme entitled Pacific Access Category (PAC) that allocate up to 75 Tuvaluans per year to settle in New Zealand as Climate Changed refugees.
According to Oxfam, in order to overcome or at least reduce the impact of climate change, they have outlined a few adaptation projects. Among the adaptation are protective planting, crops diversifications, water harvesting, irrigation and water reservoirs, community climate-proofing programmes and so forth. In the protective planting what they do is they plant trees to combat erosion problem. For example, in Tuvalu, work is being done in response to the flooding of agricultural land. Communities are drawing on local knowledge, with a strong focus on planting mangroves to stabilise the coastal environment. Activities like this are developed using local people’s traditional methods rather than new and unfamiliar ones. Moreover, on Fiji and Kiribati, mangroves are being planted to stabilise coastlines and riverbanks to help combat the effects of erosion.
On the other hands, in crop diversification programme, the Members of the Tuvalu Climate Action Network (TuCAN) are looking at climate adaptation initiatives to address issues like coastal erosion and food security. Root crops like taro take years to be harvested; with the current sea surges, the salty water gets into the taro pits and kills the plants. The group is looking at bringing in species from other countries to help overcome this problem. Climate change adaptation in the Pacific involves, among other projects, rainwater harvesting and desalination. The Tuvalu government’s Water and Sanitation Strategy includes the construction of around 300 large rainwater tanks in the capital, Funafuti. Households are instructed in the maintenance of roof catchment and guttering and the management of the collected water for domestic use.
Following the Samoa tsunami in 2009, Oxfam provided affected families with rainwater harvesting materials. Guttering and collection tanks were provided for families who had relocated inland, and the system was incorporated into the design of new homes. This means an ongoing supply of clean water, with communities able to respond to future water shortages.
Small grant schemes in Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga provide funds for community-initiated climate change adaptation projects. In Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu, communities have increased their water storage capacity by constructing rainwater tanks. On the drought-prone island of Aniwa in Vanuatu, communities have built small solar desalination stills capable of producing enough fresh water for drinking.
In the Pacific islands itself, there are many innovative community-based projects initiate by Oxfam that aim to climate-proof villages and develop resilience to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. For instance in Fiji, the Fijian village of Korotarase is located on low-lying, swampy land alongside a river and beach on the northern island of Vanua Levu. In March 2007, heavy upstream rainfall combined with a king tide and the village was flooded. The people of Korotarase have since joined with five other Fijian villages and are working to climate-proof their homes and communities in preparation for future impacts caused by tidal surges, coastal erosion or flooding. They are trialling salt-resistant varieties of staple foods such as taro; planting mangroves, native grasses and other trees to halt coastal and riverbank erosion; protecting fresh water wells from salt-water intrusion; and relocating homes and community buildings away from vulnerable coastlines.
Another example is Kiribati. The Republic of Kiribati is one of the world’s least developed countries (LDCs). The low-lying nation is made up of 33 atolls and reef islands stretching 5000 kilometres across the central Pacific. The Kiribati Adaptation Program is made up of a range of actions, including raising awar

Climate Change Problems For The Fiji Islands

This paper explores the risks that climate change poses to the tourism development in Fiji islands. It shows the adverse effects of the changing climate and the dangers pose by the tourism activities and also pose a major hazard for the local people in the region. It also deals with the dangerous carbon emissions and CO2 effect on the landscape, food, water, energy.
Key words: pacific, climate change, carbon and CO2 emissions.
The pacific is the world`s largest ocean with a surface area of 175 million sq km and constitutes for 40% of the planet`s waters. Located in the tropical latitudes, it covers more than half the globe`s circumference. Temperature of the surface water in the western tropical regions is always more than 28 ÌŠC over a depth of several hundred meters. This makes up the world`s storage of thermal energy for exchange with atmosphere. Here the interaction between atmosphere and ocean is most extreme and influences the climate not only regionally but planet-wide. The nations of the pacific are obscured human settlements absorbed in this vast fluid universe. The ocean is the most important factor controlling the environment and life. Hence any change in oceanic conditions and climatic changes are important for environment and life (Philander, 1990).

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The mean climate of a region is defined by the average conditions observed over 3 decades or more, considering all characteristics that makes weather felt by everyone and predicted by meteorologists. The main characteristics are temperature, wind conditions, atmospheric pressure, cloud cover and rainfall. The south pacific is bounded by an area of low pressure near the equator and high pressure around 30 S parallel. North-south pressure creates the regular winds in these two areas known as the south-east trades (Philander, 1990).
Any change in earth`s climate has an impact on mankind, biodiversity, health and services provided by ecosystems worldwide. For adapting to such climate changes it is necessary to understand variation of climate, why and how the climate changes, and how it impacts the earth`s ecosystems. Climate mode is an important way of understanding climate variability, changes and impacts. Earth`s climate is changing and such changes tend to take place with different patterns which may be characterised by one or many modes of the climate systems (Philander, 1990).
Fiji is the largest tourism destination in the south pacific but international arrivals are unstable over the last 5 years because of harmful events like political coup in Fiji in 2000, terrorist attacks in United States on 11th September 2001, the Bali attack in 2002, and severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in Asia in 2003. Tourism is endangered to natural hazards and disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, flood, droughts, and cyclones. Climate change is an important characteristic in disaster management as it is likely to affect Fiji through sea level rise and storm surge, changing temperature and extreme weather events (Wilbanks, 2003).
About 400,000 tourist visited Fiji in 2002 with an average length of stay of 8 days. While most visitors come for rest and relaxation linked to beach environments, current marketing campaigns aim to shift the image from pure beach promotion to a wider experience (Ministry of tourism-Fiji, 2003).
The main aim of this journal paper is to analyse effects of climate change in Fiji islands and adapting and minimizing climate change by the tourist resorts. The reason for behind this is that surveys and interviews were undertaken resulting in many operators already prepared for climate related changes and adapt to potential impacts resulting in climate change.
Tourism in Fiji is largely based on resorts therefore accommodation sector is prominent tourism sub-sector. Tourists spend most of their time at the resorts. For the above reasons it was appropriate to focus on this analysis of accommodation.
Effects of climate change on tourism in Fiji
Tourism operators are familiar with ecological factors like strong reefs and plain water crucial for tourism in Fiji. Operators were conscious of the climate change associated impacts like cyclones, the thrashing of coral reefs and flooding. Polluted water was related to mounting water temperature and climate change. Increasing sea levels were mentioned by three businesses, two of which lie in low lying Mamanuca Islands. Generally accommodation business had experienced at least one of the climate related impact. The most common impacts were erosion, water availability, and interruption of electricity. Many resorts were affected by cyclones resulting in coral bleaching and property harm (Short, 2004).
Climate related impacts previously experienced
Frequency out of 25
Comments by respondents
Shore line/beach erosion
Banks on edge property/beach give way
Reduced water availability
In recent droughts
Interrupted supply chain
Power cuts
Coral bleaching
Noticed by tourists, snorkelling affected
Damage to property
From sea surge
Sea level rise

Storm frequency and intensity
Maintenance of gardens
(Short, 2004).
Eight businesses said that they were not affected by any of the factors listed. There are five areas located in the Mamanuca Islands, which are relatively exposed to climate change due to the risk of cyclones, sea level rise, poor water quality, disappearing corals, and inadequate water availability. There is need of understanding of climate change problems and the managers do not share the problems faced by climate change (Short, 2004).
Tourist accommodation uses large variety of energy resources with electrical energy created from hydropower or diesel generator being most important for energy use. Petrol and diesel is use for business vehicles and other purposes. Also liquefied petroleum gas is used by most businesses mostly for cooking, hot water and in laundry. Energy utilization and greenhouse gas emissions differ broadly for diverse businesses. The standard of accommodation and geographical location are the two factors that have major influence on energy consumption and carbon-dioxide emissions (Becken, 2002). Tourist accommodation in the Mamanuca Islands is around 2-3 times as carbon-intensive as that in Viti Levu. The key cause for this is in electricity generation, which is to a great extent less carbon-intensive in Viti Levu. Because of the high quantity of renewable energy sources (hydro and bagasse) compared with diesel production on islands with its natural inadequacy (about 65-70% of energy input is lost during the process of generation). Resorts on remote islands run more or less self-sufficiently, and hence have supplementary energy needs (e.g., sewage treatment, freezing rubbish). Transport energy utilization is also high given that not only do tourists have to be transported to and from the resort, but so also do food supplies, energy (diesel and gas), water and other devices required for operating the resort (Becken, 2002).
The rough feasible estimate is obtained of energy use and carbon monoxide emissions related with tourism for the Fiji. The total number of visitor nights spent in Fiji was 2,891,295 in 2002 (Department of energy, 2003). 82% of visitor-nights were spent in hotels, 13% in backpacker/budget accommodation, and the remaining nights were being spent in motels, on boats or in other forms of commercial and non-commercial accommodation. Total energy used due to tourist accommodation was calculated at 1,078,373,475 MJ per annum which is equivalent to national energy use of 6.5%. in terms of carbon monoxide the accommodation industry emits 68,219 tonnes per annum.( Department of energy, 2003)
Tourism in Fiji is extremely exposed to climate change related hazards such as cyclones, flooding and storms, sea level rise, erosion, transport and communication interruption, and momentarily less water availability. Another most important apprehension for the tourism industry is the deprivation of natural systems, such as coral reefs and forest ecosystems, further exasperated by climate change. Tourism businesses in common are affected in the form of physical damage from a cyclone or storm surge, erosion, and coral bleaching. In spite of the high risk linked with tourist facilities built on the waterfront, most new developments spotlight on coastal areas. Mangroves are been cut down in large scale who in turn acts like a protection against climate related changes (Jones, 2003).
Tourist accommodation providers adapt to climatic conditions that may affect their business, and in doing so they are also prepared for impacts that may result from a changing climate. Typically, operators focus on relatively concrete and foreseeable high-risk impacts, such as cyclones and storm surges, for example by cyclone-proofing their structures and erecting seawalls. A number of accommodation providers have insurance cover against cyclones and storm surges. Generally, it seems that the risk of accumulative impacts or more abstract impacts are less recognised and addressed. Pollution control, sewage treatment, and water management are examples of this. The vulnerability to extreme climate-related events can be reduced when climate change adaptation is integrated in the development process from the earliest stages (Jones, 2003).
The exact location of the development and design such as building material, orientation, structures and landscaping helps in reducing the vulnerability. There is a opportunity to change tourism development in at destinations less vulnerable to climate change, with current attempts to diversifying Fiji`s tourism product in relation to ecotourism. New and unique tourism products can be developed in Fiji on high land areas using Japanese concept of shakkei (borrowed landscape), where hotel layout, garden landscaping and scenery are mixed together into an overall experience of ecosystem that is different from the typical beachfront (Ayala, 1995).
A number of greenhouse gas moderation procedures are in place such as adapting generator sizes, switching off lights, energy efficient light bulbs and solar hot water. There is a huge potential for solar energy and wind-generated power especially on the Coral Coast, the Mamanuca Islands, and Sonasavu, these technologies are taken up slowly, inhibited by lack of knowledge, capital, capacity and government incentives. Often, the energy demand of a single tourist resort is too small to justify investment in a wind turbine. The policy focus and interests of resort operators in Fiji are development-driven, although there is a strong recognition of the concept of sustainable development. Climate change is mainly seen from the perspective of tourism’s vulnerability and adaptation. Mitigation seems to be less pressing, although in the medium term increasing greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., as a result of increasing tourist arrivals) could undermine Fiji’s credibility in international negotiations on climate change. The above order of Government and industry priorities has to be recognised when trying to implement any climate-change-related measures (Ayala, 1995). Climate change can be mixed with sustainable development by identifying key problems and then linking those to climate change. In the case of Fiji tourism these major local problems are land use issues, old stock accommodation, lack of new capital and investment, limited air capacity, dependence on air travel, economic leakage, lack of unique selling point, environment degradation and political instability (Narayan, 2000).
Environmental problems like pollution, deforestation and excessive use of resources are to be considered. Potential issues in addition to these problems are more likely to be funded by donor agencies, stakeholders and industry members (Hay et al., 2003). Recognizing co-benefits of climate change policies is as important as its effect, for example, heavy use of air conditioning leads to increase in greenhouse gas emissions or the relocation of sand adds to local environmental impacts. Future work would need to take into account technological and economic aspects, as well as the expected amount of reduced or increased greenhouse gas emissions (Dang et al., 2003).
Energy is a major cost driver for the operation of a tourism accommodation business, especially when energy is derived from fossil fuels either for transport or electricity generation. The operation of diesel generators is costly, because of inefficiencies, transportation costs (diesel shipment), maintenance, and salaries for powerhouse staff. Thus, managers have an economic interest in keeping electricity consumption low. The crux with diesel generators, however, is that once a generator is purchased, the optimum range of electricity generation is determined at about 80% of the maximum performance. Mini hydropower schemes are less relevant for coastal resorts, but could be an option for tourism ventures operated in inland communities (referred to as ecotourism operators by the Fiji Ministry of Tourism and Visitor Bureau). The capital costs are very high, however, and consequently the uptake is minimal. The Department of Energy currently assesses potential sites for mini hydropower schemes, and it is also exploring potential for geothermal electricity generation on Vanua Levu, the second largest island of Fiji. Wind energy is not widely used in Fiji, but the Coral Coast, Mamanuca Islands, and Sonasavu are promising locations for wind-powered generation. Wind energy systems are available at different scales, ranging from small 1-kW ones to 100-700 kW schemes (medium scale), or even larger ones (UNEP, 2003). Tourist resorts would need small- to medium-scale wind systems if they want to meet their whole electricity demand by wind power. Small islands are unlikely to erect wind turbines because of lack of space and noise pollution. Resorts on larger areas are in a better position to pursue wind energy. No renewable energy sources are currently seriously discussed for transport, although one resort looked into wind-driven boats, and there are explorations into replacing fossil fuel with bio-fuel, for example derived from coconut (copra) oil (Sopac, 2004).
Steps to minimize the effect of climate change in Fiji
Reforestation is the most important means of reducing climate change. Trees minimizes vulnerable nature of cyclones, improve microclimate and enhances landscapes which are used in tourism activities. Trees reduce carbon content in the air and are useful in adaptive measures like erosion control and watershed management. Forest protection and plantation should be done under adaption policies. Developing small scale technologies for wind and solar energy on the remote island would help reduce the dependency on imported fossil fuel and economic leakage (Dang et al., 2003).
Impact on mitigation
Impact on environment
Tree plantation
Reduces net CO2 emissions through carbon sinks
Benefits biodiversity, water management, soils
Water conservation
Reduces energy costs for supplying water
Positive in areas where water is limited
Renewable natural resources
Reduces CO2 emissions
Overall, less polluting than fossil fuels
Natural building materials
Small carbon footprint for locally produced materials
Depends on sustainability of plantations
Reducing water pollution
Increased energy used for sewage treatment
Positive for coral reefs and marine life
Marine protection
Positive for marine biodiversity
Rain water collection
Saves transport energy for supplying water
Possibly interrupts the natural water cycle
Guest education
Increases awareness
Setting back structures
Positive when structures built away from beachfront
Diversifying markets
Positive if markets are eco-efficient
Depends on environmental impacts of new markets
Weather proofing tourist activities
Depends on the type of activities
Depends on the type of activities
Water desalinisation
High energy costs
Takes pressure off freshwater resources
Increasing beach conditioning
Increases CO2 emissions
Air pollution in case of diesel generation
Beach nourishment
Energy use for mining and transportation
Disturbs eco systems
Reducing beach erosion with sea walls
Disturbs natural currents and cause erosion
(Dang et al., 2003).
There is no common strategy to address interactions between climate change and tourism in Fiji, nor is there a sector-wide industry association that could promote any climate-change-related initiatives. However, there are isolated examples among industry members that reveal a high understanding and advanced use of technology and management to address climatically unfavourable conditions. Those operators are also best prepared for increased risks resulting from climate change. Also, a number of operators engage in wider environmental management, energy conservation, and therefore climate change mitigation, although the greenhouse gas emission aspect is rarely the reason for the mitigating measures undertaken
Overall, there is a need for tourism-specific information on what climate change is, how it will affect tourism, and what operators could do to adapt and mitigate. In the medium term it would also be important to include climate change in the curricula of tertiary education for students in the field of tourism, resource management engineering and architecture. Since the scope and costs for many adaptation and mitigation measures are largely determined by the design of tourist facilities, the incorporation of these aspects into architectural courses is particularly important. Alongside information and education initiatives, the Government could assist businesses in undertaking energy audits, facilitating the implementation of Environmental Management Systems (e.g., Green Globe 21), and providing incentives, for example for the uptake of renewable energy sources.
Climate change could form part of a wider risk management plan for tourism. Such an initiative is currently being discussed between the Ministry of Tourism and the Disaster Management Office. A two-level approach could be possible, where guidelines are provided for tourism operators to develop their own risk or disaster management plan at the business level, while Government covers wider issues beyond individual businesses, such as tourism infrastructure and larger evacuation plans. The current attempt by the Fiji Visitor Bureau to diversify the product could be seen as part of national-level risk management, as they attempt to spread risk across different markets (e.g., event tourism, sport tourism, nature tourism) and seasons. Fewer initiatives exist to weather-proof tourism, as suggested for tourism in Phuket, Thailand (Raksakulthai, 2003). Another important step towards implementing a nation-wide risk management strategy for tourism and climate change would be the mapping of all tourism infrastructure, as well as the risk of various hazards in different locations.
The Department of Environment in their climate change policy or the Ministry of Tourism in their risk management plan are best advised to pursue measures that offer win-win situations, namely for adaptation, mitigation, wider environmental management and development. Examples of such measures are reforestation, water conservation, and the use of renewable energy sources. It is recommended that the synergies between adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development be explored further and that the effects be quantified where possible; i.e., how much carbon can be saved as a result of a particular measure and what costs are involved. This is even more important given the lack of resources in Fiji, which requires maximising benefits from any implemented measure (Dang et al., 2003).
Reducing the consumption of hot water for laundry and showers and reducing the water temperature are saving measures. Other energy use reductions measures in accommodation are lighting, including energy efficient light bulbs, sensor lighting in the garden, solar panel lights, and room keys used to operate lights inside the room. Although energy efficient bulbs are good option they are expensive and do not last long because of the fluctuating supply of power from generators. In the smaller islands the energy costs of shipping are higher, so the managers tend to increase the ship load with passengers on board with food, waste or water. One way of saving fuel is to minimize shipping trips.
The increase in global mean temperature to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels is necessary to keep the risk of dangerous climate change at an acceptable level and to limit climate impacts. Temperatures increase certain level of atmospheric concentration. The results indicate that in order to have a good chance of limiting global average temperature in the long run to 2 degrees atmospheric concentration of all greenhouse gases needs to be stabilised. Intergovernmental policy on climate change i.e. IPCC indicates that keeping concentration in the range of 445-490 ppm requires global emissions to peak by 2015, and to fall by between 50-85% by 2050. Current trends would result in much higher concentrations and high risks of catastrophic climate change.
The clean development mechanism means to make compliance with easier target commitments , the Kyoto Protocol allows using offset credits from emissions reduction projects in developing countries, under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Governments can propose and implement emissions reductions on a project-by-project basis under CDM. The resulting credits are bought by governments that are under emissions reduction obligations. Large projects categories are renewable energy mainly using hydropower instead of fossil fuels, reduction of methane emissions from landfills and coal mines, emissions from cement production, and destruction of potent industrial gases. There were over three thousand CDM projects underway in may 2008, which, is implemented and approved, would yield expected emissions reductions of 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide. The Asian Pacific region accounts for 80 per cent of the CDM credits that expected to be generated. The World Bank cites supply estimates of 1.4 to 2.2 billion credits by 2012
Conclusions and recommendations
Global concern over climate change impacts and risks has increased greatly in recent times, and climate change is recognised not only an environmental challenge but also an economic challenge. The Pacific region is home to the fast growing, large economies in the world and the dominant source of growth in greenhouse gas emissions. To limit and reduce emissions action is required in developing countries. There is large number of opportunities to reduce emissions but most of these are expensive and cannot be implemented unless policy settings change. More ambitious policies will be needed to turn emission trends around in developing and developed countries. The international dynamics are of the mutually reinforcing type: one country`s action depends on other countries doing their bit. The more countries commit to significant policies, the easier it will become to draw others in. In contrast, if some countries refuse to take part in collective action, others will also refuse to do so. An effective response to global climate change will need to involve bilateral deal or multilateral agreement. Large and medium sized economies will need to be a part of it. For an agreement to succeed, the door must be kept wide open for developing countries to engage fully in policies, with the support of high income countries.
Climate change analysts predict that within the coming decades, sea level will rise gradually. So the affecting nation might have begun identifying the effects of climate change on tourism activities and overall people living in that region. Small islands are at risk to adapt to the adverse affects of climate change because of high costs as well as benefits. Not only just people but unique human cultures are also at high risk. Migration is another option for local people but again the cost factor is crucial, as most of these people are illiterate and unemployed. They will have to relocate unwillingly. Survival is the main concern in this case. It is also highly impossible for any recipient nation to grant asylum to an entire country. The larger impact of climate change will challenge the capacity of the country. The secondary impacts will be water scarcity, food security, health services, land scarcity. At some point many land areas will become incapable of sustaining life and people will be forced to migrate.

Will Climate Change Force the Maldives Islands to Become the Second Atlantis?

 Over the past few years, worldwide news and international meetings have been dealing with the topic of climate change. Discussing not if climate change is occurring, but rather why it is occurring. Will the nations of world need to spend money on infrastructure or reduce their carbon footprint to slow it down? Yes! But, because climate change has been a reoccurring past phenomenon, many feel it is just a passing phase and have chosen wait-and-see attitude toward dealing with topic and any consequences. However, many areas of the world will not be able to tolerate rising sea levels or other resulting phenomenon while the world wait and watches. Consideration of aid for low lying areas such as islands and coastal areas may be necessary this time around. One such island nation facing the devastating effects of climate change and taking a proactive attitude toward reducing climatic impacts is the Maldives Islands.

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Climate change is not a new phenomenon to the planet. During the last 650,000 years the planet has experienced seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat (National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA], 2019). As NASA (2019) points out, these events probably occurred because of minor variations in the Earth’s orbit which affect the amount of solar energy the earth receives. In addition, NASA (2019) reports that ice core analysis and other evidence from ocean and sedimentary rocks suggest that the current warming trend is most likely due to human activity beginning during the industrial revolution.  To make matters worse, the current warming trend resulting from human activity releasing greenhouse gases is now occurring at a rate approximately ten time faster than the average rate of the previous seven glacial cycles (NASA 2019).  Figure 1 below shows this climatic trend.

Figure 1. Table of Greenhouse Gas Levels. Adapted from “Comparison of Atmospheric Samples Contained in Ice Cores and More Recent Direct Measurements”, by NASA, 2019, retrieved from

  As a result of increasing amounts of greenhouse gases, the global average surface temperature has risen approximately 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit, the oceans have warmed more than 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit, the ice sheets of Greenland, the Arctic and Antarctica have decreased, glaciers have retreated around the world, spring snow cover has decreased and is melting earlier, acidity of ocean has increased about 30%, and the sea level has rose globally about eight inches (NASA, 2019). While eight inches of sea level rise may seem insignificant, one must remember that many of the coastlines and islands are less than a few meters above sea level. One such island state is the Maldives Islands which is now facing the very real possibility of physical destruction and even legal extinction due to rising sea levels.

The Maldives Islands can best be described as a tropical paradise with beautiful white sand beaches greeting thousands of tourists a year. However, “Will the same ocean which defines this island state and promotes its tourist industry, actually force the Islands to become the next Atlantis?” Located about 750 kilometers southwest from both India and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives Islands consist of approximately 1,190 small islands and atolls (Reis de Freitas, 2013).  Roughly 200 of these islands are inhabited and support a total population of around 330,000 people (Reis de Freitas, 2013).

   The geography of the Islands and rising ocean levels are the main cause for concern.  Abdullahi Majeed, the Maldives’ Minister of State for Environment & Energy, was reported by Cécile Barbière of EurActiv (2015) that he “fears that many island states will be wiped off the map, even if an ambitious agreement is reached at COP21” (para. 1).  Majeed further was quoted as saying, “Our main problem is that we are very small countries at very low altitudes. The average height of the Maldives is only 1.2 metres above sea level, so of course we are seriously threatened by rising sea levels!” (Barbière, 2015, para. 8).  In December 2015, the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) addressed and passed a legally binding agreement on cooperating nations to keep any increase of global warming to below 2°C (Figueres, 2015).  COP21 was one of the largest international conferences ever held (Figueres, 2015). According to Figueres (2015), “the conference included about 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and civil societies” (para. 4).

The Maldives have had to consider options to adapt to the rising ocean levels through infrastructure construction and modifications to even formulating plans for a climatic migration of their population to other countries.  So, while acknowledgement, cooperation and agreements among the nations of the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to be applauded, the problem remains that even if it were possible to get 100% cooperation and compliance of all the nations of the world, the reality is that the Maldives may not survive the effects of rising sea levels in meantime.

So how will the Maldives Islands with elevations only one or two meters above sea level cope and survive with changing climate events? Minister Majeed worries that if extreme events such as cyclones and tsunamis become more common that they may destroy in a few moments what generations have taken to build (Barbière, 2015).  Even more subtle events such as changing precipitation patterns may also affect life on the Islands.  Majeed commented on the changes in precipitation patterns that have already occurred:

What is more, ten years ago the dry season lasted three months in the Maldives. Now it lasts for five months and causes water shortages, because drinking water on many of the small islands comes from rain water and wells. Right now, 53 islands are asking for water to be delivered from the capital. We have had to rent a cargo ship, fill it with water and send it out to supply the islands, some of which take two days to reach by boat. This is a costly exercise that we have been doing for almost ten years. (Barbière, 2015, para.11)

Even if rising ocean levels are held at bay, storms which are increasing in number and intensity may also allow saltwater to contaminate the groundwater supplies and further erode shorelines (Maumoon, 2015).

To combat the concerns of rising ocean levels, the Maldives’ government has implemented several infrastructure projects and policies. Three main projects: The “Wetlands Conservation and Coral Reef Monitoring for Adaptation to Climate Change” Project, the “Ari Atoll Solid Waste Management” Project, and the “Clean energy for climate mitigation” (Global Campaign for Climate Action [GCCA], 2015). These projects are underway to beef up coastal infrastructure, such as seawall construction, flood-proofing waste management systems, and protecting critical seaside vegetation (GCCA, 2015). Lastly, one of the world’s most impressive adaptive projects is the construction of their artificial island, named Hulhumale or the City of Hope (Gagain, 2011). This island is their “Noah’s Ark” attempt to preserve their statehood and maritime zones (Gagain, 2011).  Dauenhauer (2019) reports that the City of Hope when finished in 2023, will be able to accommodate approximately 130,000 people. He further states that eight man-made islands have already been completed with three more planned. A photo of the City of Hope is show in Figure 2.

Figure 2. The City of Hope is growing out of the sea [Getty Image]. Adapted from “On Front Line of Climate Change as Maldives Fights Rising Seas”, by Nenad Jaric Dauenhauer, retrieved from

A further complication is that their legal existence as an island state is also in jeopardy. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects the ocean may rise 28 to 98 centimeters (11.0 to 35.6 inches) during this century (Reuters, 2015).  If sea levels continue to rise the Maldives Islands may indeed be submerged and thus physically and possible legally cease to exist (Gagain, 2011).  Without suitable island area to inhabit, the Maldives Islands will sink into the ocean just as the fabled Atlantis.  Thus, the crucial importance of the new man-made island areas.  Further if current strategies do fail, hopefully the world would accept the Maldives’ refugees into their countries.

 Currently there are countless arguments of whether or not long-term climatic change is really occurring at an increased rate or whether is it just another normal climatic cycle.  Evidence has been reviewed with the scientific community on one side and the politicians of the world holding the finances on the other.  Regardless of the reason why there is global warming or any climatic change, it is very possible that during this century the world may witness, as a result of its complacency and denial, the first Atlantis type disappearance of an island nation – The Maldives Islands.


Barbière, C. (2015, March 26). Maldives: Many islands will disappear, despite COP 21 agreement. Retrieved April 24, 2019, from

Dauenhauer, N.J. (2017, March 20). The City of Hope is growing out of the sea [Getty Image]. Retrieved April 27, 2019, from

Dauenhauer, N. J. (2017, March 20). On front line of climate change as Maldives fights rising seas. Retrieved April 24, 2019, from

Figueres, C. (2015). Find out more about COP21. Retrieved April 20, 2019, from

Gagain, M. (2011, November 15). Climate Change, Sea Level Rise, and Artificial Islands: Saving the Maldives’ Statehood and Maritime Claims Through the ‘Constitution of the Oceans’. Retrieved April 26, 2019, from

Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA). (2015, March 26). Support to climate change adaptation and mitigation in Maldives. Retrieved April 26, 2019, from



Maumoon, D. (2015, January 27). We should not surrender to climate change. Retrieved April 23, 2019, from

National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (2019, April 23). Climate Change Evidence: How Do We Know? Retrieved April 28, 2019, from

National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (2019, April 23). Table of Greenhouse [Online Image]. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from

Reis de Freitas, L. (2016, August 30). The Maldives Islands’ Case: Climate Change and Climate Refugees. Retrieved April 23, 2019, from

Reuters. (2015, January 15). Sea levels rising faster than previously thought says new study. Retrieved April 24, 2019, from

Impact of Humans on Toronto Islands

The Impacts of the Geomorphology, Climatology, and Hydrology on Human Activities in the Toronto Islands
By: Nerujan Sivanesan
Student No: 500510777
A place of entertainment and relaxation is what the Toronto Islands are known for presently. It still catered this tranquil and enticing environment even when it was first founded by the natives around the mid- 1700’s (Toronto Islands, n.d.). However, it was discovered and claimed by other settlers as a result the islands’ first hotel was built and this was by Michael O’Connor in 1833 (Higgens, 1999). He helped make the Toronto Islands become a popular tourist attraction for many and it became known for its amusement park, hotels, summer cottages, and other popular outdoor activities like fishing, and swimming. During the mid-1700’s, the Toronto Islands was found to be 1.6 km south of downtown Toronto, and its area was thought to be around 332 hectares (Sward, 2014). Moreover, it was known to be made up of fifteen islands (Sward, 2014) and the population of the community living in this area at the time was estimated to be over 600 people (Toronto Island Community Association, n.d.).

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These islands were not the same now as they were over 3500 years ago, they were originally a recurved sandspit whose, sediments were carried from the Scarborough Bluffs by the water currents from Lake Ontario (Toronto Islands History – City of Toronto, n.d.). This later formed into large sandbar and through weathering they formed into the Toronto Islands as we know today. In addition, the climatic conditions and hydrologic activities that these Islands encounter affected the society’s way of living. Furthermore, the Toronto Island’s were thoroughly examined on its geomorphology, hydrology, and climatology and the impacts on the general population by the natural environment.
The research for this report of acquiring peer-reviewed resources was difficult due to the specified topic. The research for this topic was conducted for credible resources were done on two scholarly search engines which were “Google Scholar” and “RULA- Articles and Database”. However, RULA did not yield the sufficient information required regarding the study of this topic. Moreover, the majority of the research was done by searching for key words on Google scholar and Google. On this search engine, key words such as “Geomorphology of the Toronto Islands” were used to retrieve specified details of the formations and evolution of the Islands. Other words were searched for instance, “Hydrology, and Climatology of the Toronto Islands”, and “the Toronto Island’s history”. These searches provided adequate information regarding the geographical aspects of the Toronto Islands. In addition, the Toronto Island’s website was used to acquire the history of the Toronto Islands and statistical information regarding the population, and the area of the islands. The information that was collected by this technique shows it was a successful approach in learning about the Islands.
Through the examined information that was collected, it was found that the Toronto Islands were not always Islands. It was a tombolo (Christopherson, Byrne, & Giles, 2012, pg 499), it was found on the North shore of Lake Ontario which linked itself to downtown Toronto. These group of islands were originally formed by sediments that were deposited by winds that moved from northeast to southwest and eroded stone which originated from the Scarborough Bluffs from over 3500 years ago (Toronto Islands History – City of Toronto, n.d.). The eroded sediments from the Bluffs were carried by the Lake Ontario currents which moved from the east as well as by the wind currents (Naim et al, 1994). In addition, the water currents moved from the east because they had a longer fetch. The eroded sediments that were transported from the Bluffs to the Toronto Islands were deemed to be 30000m3/year on average (Naim et al, 1994). However, in 1858 severely violent storms eroded the tombolo (Christopherson et al, 2012, pg 499) over time this separated the Toronto Islands from Toronto (Toronto Islands History – City of Toronto, n.d.). Many years after this incident, the Islands itself began to grow larger and larger almost doubling its size, because of sediments that was deposited into the Eastern Channel of the Islands (Naim, et al., 1994). As a result of the storms in 1858, a seawall was built to prevent future erosion however, this stopped the sediments being deposited from the Bluffs (Naim, et al., 1994).
The evolution of these islands has affected the community living in these areas as it became more commercialized with more leisurely activities. They were either forced to move to different parts of the islands or away from them in order compensate for the construction of the amusement park. The people that did decide to stay were forced to live in the Algonquin Island or Ward’s Island since the homes on the other Islands were destroyed and used for the airport, the school, nursery, and amusement parks (Toronto Islands, n.d.). In addition, the erosion of the tombolo (Christopherson et al, 2012, pg 499) necessitated travel by boat or ferries towards each other. Moreover, with the Toronto Islands sitting on Lake Ontario, it allowed more water-based activities to be present such as swimming, canoeing, boating and etc. It became more of a car-free environment and encouraged bike riding because of the size bridges built between the islands. Furthermore, the transformation of these islands shows that how geomorphology has affected and influences the human population to these areas.
The study area’s climate condition was thoroughly investigated on how it affected the Toronto Islands. Based on the data (see Table 1) (Class Environmental Assessment, 2010), the Toronto Islands have been coupled with mild summers and cooler winters. It was found that the mean daily temperature was 8.2 and encountered an annual rainfall and snowfall of 705mm and 112.8cm (see Table 1), respectively (Class Environmental Assessment, 2010). It was concluded that the Toronto Islands were confronted with warmer winters and cooler summers compared to the more localized areas. The warm conditions of Lake Ontario allowed the snow melt into rain because of the warmer winters and the colder temperatures rose to warmer ones due to its warmer conditions (Class Environmental Assessment, 2010).
These climatic conditions affect the lives of the people that are within this area and it affects their way of life. Many people will be attracted to these islands because there will be specific activities that are available in accordance to the seasonal changes. For example, during the summer, the Toronto Islands are at peak of drawing crowds of tourists. This is because their famous amusement park, Centreville, is open as well as the appeal of biking, going for picnics, swimming at the beach, tourists staying over at hotels and etc. During the winter times most of the water bodies will be frozen therefore, these areas will be open for ice fishing. This research shows that the climate of this area is a factor in attracting people to the Islands in different seasonal conditions.
The hydrological conditions of the Toronto Islands have been a source for promoting more water based activities as well as supplying safe drinking water. The water currents that transported the sediments from the Bluffs moved from the east however, the wind blew from the west. The water currents were able surpass the wind since, it had a long fetch. In addition, a water treatment plant has been built on this site and collects the water from Lake Ontario and converts it to safe drinking water. The treatment plant was mainly used as a backup when other treatment plants were out of service for maintenance (Island Water Treatment Plant – City of Toronto, n.d.). This water treatment plant is one of the plants which provide clean drinking water for the Islands as well as the rest of Toronto (Island Water Treatment Plant, n.d.). In addition, it is statistically reported that the plant water that is produced is 87, 947 million litres (on Table 2) (Island Water Treatment Plant – City of Toronto, n.d.). Despite having a treatment plant, it is known for water based activities such as the ferries that are taken to travel to the Toronto Islands, boating and fishing. Furthermore, the research shows water conditions tend to attract the human population because of the elegance the water and the resources it provides which shows that this physical environment attracted the people going to the Islands.
The Toronto Islands is an alluring tourist destination for many due to its climate conditions, geological features, and water bodies. The climatic conditions encountered, geomorphology, and the hydrologic features helped shape the Toronto Islands into a popular tourist attraction for many because of the abundance of leisurely activities it possesses and the environmental features that it embodies. Furthermore, the features of this physical environment has helped propel the Toronto Islands become an active place for human recreation.
Table 1:

Note. From Class Environmental Assessment, 2010.
Table 2:
2013 statistics

Total annual plant water produced

87,947million litres

Percentage of plant water produced to the overall system


Number of days the plant operated

341 days

Average daily production

254 million litres

Maximum day’s production

354million litres

Date of maximum water production

July 18, 2013

Note. From Island Water Treatment Plant, n.d..

Christopherson, R., Byrne, M., & Giles, P. (2012, April 15). The oceans, coastal Processes, and the landforms. InGeosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography(Third edition ed., p. 499). Peasrson Education Canada.
Class Environmental Assessment. (2010). Retrieved November 10, 2014, from ESR/FINAL Lakeshore Renewal Environmental Baseline Report .pdf
Higgens, D. (1999, April 25). The Place of My Dreams. Retrieved November 7, 2014, from
Island Water Treatment Plant. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2014, from
Naim, R., Scott, R., Anglin, C., & Zuzek, P. (1994, November 24). Analysis of Coastal Processes at Toronto Islands. Retrieved November 3, 2014, from
Sward, R. (2014, September 10). Toronto Islands. Retrieved November 1, 2014, from
Toronto Islands. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2014, from
Toronto Island Community Association. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2014, from
Toronto Islands History. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2014, from ESR/FINAL Lakeshore Renewal Environmental Baseline Report .pdf

Battle Analysis of the Falkland Islands




The battle of the Falkland Island was an undeclared war in 1982 from 2 April to 14 June between the United Kingdom and Argentina. The conflict lasted ten weeks and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June, returning the islands to British control.[1] The battle also was basically the last complete war after the Second world war involving symmetric tactics by both adversaries. Falkland islands battle is of particular interest when considering the application, and combination of military/war theories by famous philosophers like  Henri Jomini, Carl Von Clausewitz, Liddell Hart and Sun Tzu amongst others. Consequently, this paper will discuss the application or misapplication of both forces to some theories propagated by Sun Tzu on Knowing the enemy, Clausewitz on the surprise and Henri Jomini on logistics, 

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“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.”[2] It implies that a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the adversary, his capability, intention and reaction to your actions would ensure success. The Falkland battle proved that Argentina did not adhere to this theory in that they had a faulty knowledge of Britain’s political, economic and military resolve before commencing the assault of the Falkland Islands. This is because they perceived the United Kingdom lacked not only the means to defend its interests 8,000 miles from England, but also the national will to employ what little capability remained.”[3] Additionally, the argentines were overoptimistic that the United Nations (UN), the USA and Russia would support its cause for claiming the Falkland islands as part of Argentina.[4] Accordingly, this strategic misconception by the Argentineans, negatively affected its operational plans. As a result, the actions of the Argentine forces were reactionary (improvising) rather than proactive when the British decided on kinetic military action to repossess the Island.[5]

Unlike the Argentines, Britain carefully analyzed its strength and weaknesses against those of its foes. The British had naval and amphibious superiority while the Argentines had air superiority regarding numbers of available aircraft.[6] Consequently, Britain in adherence to Sun Tzu’s theory of “knowing the enemy” came up with four operational objectives named “Operation Corporate”.[7] These operational objectives also buttress the  adoption of Clausewitz theory on military objective i.e. one must keep the dominant characteristics of both belligerents in mind. Out of these characteristics a certain center of gravity develops, the hub of all power and movement, on which everything depends. That is the point against which all our energies should be directed. Accordingly, the ability to Britain to adhere to this theory from the onset, accorded them the advantages of initiative and flexibility which eventually led to the recapture of the Falkland Islands.

Thus, march by an indirect route and divert the enemy by enticing him with a

Bait…… [8]

         Sun Tzu 

Surprise therefore becomes the means to gain superiority, but because of its

psychological effect it should also be considered as an independent element.

Whenever it is achieved on a grand scale, it confuses the enemy and lowers morale; many examples, great and small, show how this in turn multiplies   the results.[9]

Carl Von Clausewitz

 In the course of the war, numerous instances of the application of surprise as postulated by Clausewitz by both countries was evident. For example, on 28 March 1982, the Argentinian task force departed from its home port in Puerto Belgrano for an exercise with the Uruguayan navy; almost everybody on board the different ships except very few Officers knew about the true nature of the deployment. After one day at sea, and at the same time, the ships turned their general courses from south to east, the real aim of the underway was communicated and all realized that they were tasked to achieve Argentina’s greatest sovereignty dream, retake the “Islas Malvinas.” This act of deception by the Argentine took the royal marines off guard, and eventually led to the capture of Falkland island. However, this perceived success by Argentinian forces was short-lived. Similarly, the successful attacks by the British forces on Port San Carlos, Goose Green and Darwin were accomplished by combinations of the above stated quotes.


2. “Logistics comprises the means and arrangement which work out the plans of strategy and tactics Strategy decides where to act logistics brings the troops to this point”.[10]This preceding quotation is from Henri Jomini an 18th Century war theorist whose work was titled the art of war. It emphasized the importance of Logistics in deciding strategy and sustaining tactics in conduct of military operations with respect to the particular operating environment. As mentioned earlier the Falkland islands war was fought across the 3 major operating environments however the highlight of the operations was the formation of a naval task force to counter the Argentine seizure of the Islands which took the British by absolute surprise. The Task force comprising several frigates, submarines and landing ship logistics ships and aircraft carriers had to confront the problem of sailing over 7, 000Nautical miles to the theatre of operations.

3. This major Logistics challenge was addressed by the assistance of several British allies including France, US and the activation of a base at Ascension Island which was approximately half way between the UK and Falkland Island. A major issue addressed was the large amounts of fuel needed to ensure smooth sailing of the task force. The solution to this logistics challenges was to source for fuel in Sierra Leone which was some 4100 miles from the Falklands.Over 29 tankers were detailed to ply this route. This addressed the Logistics Requirement challenge of the Falklands Island war for the UK and thus adhered to Henri Jomini theory on the importance and influence of Logistics in determining strategy and tactics in modern warfare. Logistics was of the utmost importancean extended line of communication (LOC) made possible by the assistance of their allies and strategic partners.  Failure to maintain this LOC would have been a direct neglect of Henri Jomini theory and could have cost the British the war.



6. The Falklands Island war which was symmetric in nature was fought over 30 years ago involving movement of men and material over enormous distances that  required  coordination, supervision and sustenance of British combat units several thousands of Miles away from their home base. Curiously it was a conflict in which war was not declared officially.  It reasserts the theory of Carl Von Clausewitz which says “War is a continuation of Politics by other means”.The conflict resulted in a decisive British victory culminating in the surrender of Argentine Forces on  June 14 1982. 

7. The current threat being faced by the Armed Forces of the world is assessed to be Asymmetric as it is mainly from non state actors like the Talibans, Al Quaeda and ISIS. The Falkland Island war as earlier stated was symmetric in nature but the lessons of the conflict are encompassing and cuts across both the Symmetric and Asymmetric types of conflict.These lessons can be summed up in Logistics, Firepower and Intelligence. Modern military operations in any form or shape will be dependent on accurate and timely intelligence precise and defined firepower and a coherent and workable Logistics plan to sustain the operation.                               `

 ` `

[1]  Freedman


[3]  Admiral Harry D. Train II, U.S. Navy (Retired), “An Analysis of the Falkland/Malvinas Campaign”, in The Falklands War Officer Training Package (Toronto, Ont. : Canadian Forces College, 200-), section 12, p 36. 


[5]  Cdr F.K. Saelzer Concha “When Goliath defeated david”

[6]  ibid

[7]  Ibid

Additionally, the Argentines further failed to adhere to Sun Tzu theory by not correctly predicting that the UK would control and block the sale of the Exocet missiles through the French.  Furthermore and of more consequence was the failure of the Argentine High Command in addressing the issue of the Ascension Island which was vital to maintaining and sustaining the entire British Operation against the Argentines at the Falklands. If the Ascension Island was factored into the operational plans of the Argentines the UK might have found it difficult to maintain its forces so far away from its home base and thus their capability would have been limited due to broken lines of communications. A complete intelligence picture of the intension’s capabilities and likely/dangerous course of action open to the British should have been considered in the entire operational plans of the Argentines before deciding to capture the Island.