Since the beginning of the industrial era in the 18th century, the world has experienced an increase in average temperatures which has resulted in climate change. The United Nations reports that global temperatures have increased by 0.85℃ since the industrial era began. This has led to several impacts including the rising of sea levels due to the melting of ice in the Arctic region.
Sea level rise is one of the most catastrophic impacts that can destroy homes, farmlands, and properties. These affected territories can become uninhabitable countries in the near future due to climate change.
In 1992, the UN recognised 58 countries that face social, economic and vulnerable challenges called the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Most of these countries which are made up of Caribbean countries and Pacific islands are mostly tourist attraction sites due to their beautiful beaches however, they currently face some of the most devastating impacts of climate change.
Sea level rise, coastal erosion, salinization and a host of other impacts are now threatening some of these small countries that have seen some of their cities disappear underwater. This could render these countries uninhabitable possibly leading to mass migration.
In this article, we have compiled a list of 10 potentially uninhabitable countries currently under the threat of extinction due to climate change. Keep reading.
10 countries that may be uninhabitable by 2050
1. The Maldives
Officially called The Republic of Maldives, this country is located in south Asia along the Indian Ocean. This small country lies southwest of Sri Lanka and consists of 20 atolls making it an archipelago.
With a total land area of 300km, The Maldives is home to 579,000 people. The country has a tropical monsoon climate with two dominant seasons which are the dry and rainy seasons.
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report predicted that the sea level will rise by 23 inches by 2100. Researchers from Southampton university also name the Maldives the most endangered island nation as a result of its vulnerability to flooding caused by climate change.
This beautiful Island country may be gone in a few years so make hay while the sun shines and make that visit happen before the Maldives goes under water.
See also: Is Climate Change a Hoax?
One of the countries most susceptible to climate change is Kiribati. Kiribati is an exceptionally remote and low-lying island country that is very vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise. Kiribati had an estimated population of 113,000 in 2020, of which over half lived on the island of South Tarawa, where the capital Tarawa is located.
The entire population and most infrastructure are concentrated along the coast making it directly exposed to the impacts of climate change. The country faces the threat of persistent flooding as well as the deterioration of land and marine ecosystems due to the current rate at which the sea levels rise.
Vanuatu is a remote archipelago country that is home to about 260,000 residents. The country consists of 82 volcanic islands that spread across 800 miles.
Vanuatu is one of the countries that could cease to exist in the nearest future due to the impacts of climate change. By 2030, temperatures are expected to rise by up to 1 degree which can cause the sea levels to rise.
In addition, Vanuatu is also expected to experience more severe cyclones and ocean acidification that makes the food sources vulnerable to pests and diseases. If you are planning to see this country in your lifetime, now is the time to plan that trip before it actually becomes one of the uninhabitable countries.
4. Solomon Island
This south pacific island is an archipelago containing about 1000 islands. Within the past century, 6 islands had already disappeared with an additional 6 islands already submerged in seawater by an average of 41%.
This is proof that if nothing is done to mitigate the effects of climate change on this small Island country, it may cease to exist in the near future.
Tuvalu is a small island situated in the Pacific between Hawaii and Australia. The country is made up of nine small islands with the majority of these islands being coral atolls.
Due to climate change, there has been a recorded rise in sea levels as high tides are becoming more dangerous. This could mean that this Island country may be completely buried in seawater in a few years’ time making it one of the uninhabitable countries if strict measures are not taken to limit these impacts.
This country has experienced an increase of 1.5 degrees in average annual temperature as a result of climate change that is projected to cause increased precipitation and hotter temperatures.
Samoa faces the risk of sea level rise and saltwater intrusion that can have major impacts on their agriculture and as well, threaten the existence of the country.
In 2021 Samoa government with the support of the UN Environment programme began a National Adaptation Plan to help improve climate adaptation efforts.
7. Fiji Island
This country is vulnerable to rising sea levels, extreme weather and coastal erosion. The economy of Fiji may likely be affected by these changes, which can also result in a temperature rise.
Tourism, agriculture, and fisheries, which make up the majority of the country’s GDP, would be adversely damaged by climate change, leading to rises in poverty and food insecurity.
According to studies, there is a very high chance that as a result of climate change, the water stress on Pacific islands would increase. This is expected to feature problems in Nauru brought on by heavy rainfall events.
While this sounds good for Nauru due to their lack of water sources except for the rain and the sea, it could pose a threat to this small island by causing more coastal erosions, higher tides and sea level rise which can threaten the existence of this small country.
9. Marshall Island
High tides and frequent storms have caused sea level rise that is threatening inhabitants of this Pacific ocean atolls. Research indicates that this island has experienced a 3.4-millimetre increase in sea levels annually which could lead to an 80% loss if the sea level rises by a metre.
At this rate, it is not hard to imagine that this country may go underwater in a few years if stringent measures are not taken to prevent this.
Grenada is located between the Atlantic and the Caribbean oceans. This island country has a total land area of 345 square km with an estimated population of 113,000 people in 2020. The highest point of Grenada is 840m (mount saint Catharine) however, about 3% of its land is at sea level.
Grenada has experienced increased forest fires, water shortages and crop loss in recent years due to climate change. Consequently, these effects could force inhabitants to look for other habitable areas as this territory could be declared an uninhabitable country soon.
It is sad to see how many lives and homes are being threatened in many SIDS countries and cities around the world due to climate Change. Some of these vulnerable states have called for adaptation and mitigation efforts with support from organisations such as the UN, CARICOM, PIF and a host of others.
Indeed, mitigation efforts are being made with the hope that these efforts may have a positive impact on not only the countries but the planet at large.