Marshall Islands Ponder Island Building Solution to Rising Seas
The President of the Marshall Islands, Hilda Heine, has outlined how her government is considering the possibility of building artificial islands as a response to the threat of sea level rise. Made up of coral atolls rising no more than 6 feet above the ocean, the Marshall Islands are highly vulnerable to a sea level rise of 1-4 ft, which is projected to occur in this century. Heine’s comments reintroduce the idea of land reclamation and island building as a possible solution, but experts warn of prohibitive costs as well as no guarantee of success for such an ambitious undertaking. Other possible national strategies to address this issue include relocating the entirety of the Marshall Island’s population in the coming decades. The nation has already begun to feel the effects of rising seas with high tide flooding, erosion, and crop failure due to saltwater intrusion becoming more common. These same effects will be seen along much of the world’s coastlines in the years ahead as climate change contributes to higher seas and more powerful storms, and many more nations than just the Marshall Islands will face their own dilemma of how to respond.