Kiribati Climate Plan: More Resorts, More Tourists

Anote Tong, President of Kiribati
Anote Tong, President of Kiribati. By Sam Beebe –, CC BY 2.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The President of Kiribati doesn’t want his people to be seen as climate charity cases – instead he wants investment, new tourist resorts to give his people jobs and economic opportunities, to help pay for reclaiming land from the sea like Singapore.

As climate change threatens islands, Kiribati’s president plans development

The low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati is one of the parts of the world most threatened by climate change and rising sea levels. Scientists say the islands could be uninhabitable within decades, and in recent years, some leaders there have begun planning for a worst-case scenario that could involve relocating the population to other countries.

However, in a video presentation to the international climate conference in Bonn, Germany, last week, the president of Kiribati appeared to be turning away from such a plan.

“Climate change is indeed a serious problem,” President H.E Taneti Maamau said in the video.”But we don’t believe that Kiribati will sink like the Titanic ship. Our country, our beautiful lands, are created by the hands of God.”

Later in the video, far from discussing abandoning the islands, a narrator instead proclaims the goal of promoting tourism by attracting foreign investors to develop “5-star eco-friendly resorts that would promote world-class diving, fishing and surfing experiences” on currently uninhabited islands.

Government officials say they are working on a plan to raise the level of a large area of currently uninhabitable land to make it habitable.

Read more:

I can’t find a link to the video – please post in comments if you find it.

I’m really starting to like President Anote Tong. He plays the game to an extent, happy to host and be seen with globe trotting eco-celebrities, but he has a charming habit of going off script when it comes to climate change.

Anote Tong simply refuses liberal attempts to herd his people onto their allotted lefty intellectual reservation, to play the part of victims of Western greed helplessly waiting for the West to decide their fate.

Anote Tong’s response when asked why Kiribati residents weren’t flocking to New Zealand, why New Zealand was struggling to fill a 75 position annual citizenship lottery;

But there hasn’t been a dramatic exodus just yet. The New Zealand immigration department sets aside 75 places a year in a lottery for migrants from Kiribati, and at the moment it can’t fill them.

President Anote Tong suggests that is because things aren’t desperate enough yet.

It’s not a critical issue yet. I think if there are people who migrate now, I hope they would do it out of choice. But as to the question, is it so critical that people would be regarded as refugees? My answer would be no, not at this point in time.”

Read more:

I have no idea what kind of leader Anote Tong is at home, but at least in terms of his appearance on the world stage, my impression is Kiribati could have done a lot worse.

Correction (EW) – h/t Bruce Cobb – Anote Tong was voted out in 2016, so this latest climate plan is an initiative of the current President Taneti Mamau. Fixed a typo in the title (h/t Oldseadog)

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November 21, 2017 12:26 am

Or is he just expecting money from the climate faithful to create habitable areas to build hotels and resorts on?

Reply to  HotScot
November 21, 2017 3:53 am

Surely you don’t expect them to put their hands in their own pockets??

Hot under the collar
Reply to  HotScot
November 21, 2017 4:45 am

I take it the intended hotels and resorts are to be built on the “sinking” coastline?

Reply to  Hot under the collar
November 21, 2017 6:49 am

“here’s your room key and a complimentary snorkel for sleeping (in the event the sea level rises too much by morning), please enjoy your stay with us…”

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  HotScot
November 21, 2017 11:33 am

I would give him credit for being more honest about the state of his nation, and for proposing productive answers to his people’s needs rather than victimhood.

Reply to  Andy Pattullo
November 21, 2017 11:38 am

Andy Pattullo

But then, you’re not a politician.

Speaking with a forked tongue is an occupational prerequisite.

Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
November 21, 2017 12:45 am

No, that looks like Auckland NZ.
I wonder why the hell they posted that pic at all, with the article??????

Reply to  D B H
November 21, 2017 12:47 am

The picture I am referring to is the top most picture

Reply to  D B H
November 21, 2017 12:50 am

Mind you, if all the people of Kirabati move to NZ, then Auckland may well become their capital city.

Thanks Jacinda…..not!!!!

Reply to  D B H
November 21, 2017 12:54 am

And….further to the article….the site “NationalPedia” which had the article and mis-matched photo, seems to be rather new…which explains something…..for when you go to their “About Us” section… is blank.

Nuff said?

Reply to  D B H
November 21, 2017 2:24 am

Yeah, I looked at the picture and I thought “that looks like a first world city” You are right, that is Auckland. NZ.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  D B H
November 21, 2017 3:08 am

There has been talk of moving the Capital of NZ to Melbourne.

Bill Illis
Reply to  D B H
November 21, 2017 5:39 am

Save people some time. Capital of Kiribati. As if they need sea level flooding relief money.

Bill Illis
Reply to  D B H
November 21, 2017 7:05 am

Sorry, that is Auckland. Read more before posting Bill.

Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
November 21, 2017 12:16 pm

Here ya go.
comment image

Tom Halla
November 21, 2017 12:37 am

I do suppose it is long enough that all the unpleasant associations with Tarawa from WWII have gone away.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 21, 2017 8:46 am

There was a documentary in recent years showing that any earth moving projects on Tarawa revealed buried unpleasantries and that garbage dumps covered all manner of gravesites.
When every inch of their island was covered in bloody hell combat, there isn’t much else they can do.

On the other hand, mimicking Chinese (and others) efforts to slow the entire planet’s land rush to the sea, can’t be all bad, if they can muster the economic muscle to pay for it.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 23, 2017 4:50 am

Maybe they could do invasion reenactments as part of the tourist experience. Works for Gettysburg.

Phillip Bratby
November 21, 2017 12:41 am

Where is Noah when you really need him?

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
November 21, 2017 1:39 am

Chasing rainbows?

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
November 21, 2017 5:29 am

I thought that was Merkel?

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
November 21, 2017 8:10 am

Ba dum tiss 😀

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
November 21, 2017 3:42 am

Sleeping from to much drinking. That’s one of the good thing of the Bible and its Patriarchs : they did great enough to be reported in the book, but the book do not report them as perfects, they also sin as much, and sometime even worse, than everybody.

Reply to  paqyfelyc
November 21, 2017 7:59 am

IOW, some things never change.

Henning Nielsen
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
November 21, 2017 10:35 am

Trying to get the giraffes on board.

November 21, 2017 12:43 am

It would seem Kirabati has better leadership that we do, at the moment.

Carl Friis-Hansen
November 21, 2017 12:45 am

The good Anote Kiribati would have made a 180 degree turn then, over the last year.
Eric Worrall, you could be right, because there are lots of videos from the president until after the Paris COP and none I can find thereafter.

November 21, 2017 12:54 am

I assume he knows the tide gauge measurements and therefore there is no reason to be alarmed. The other leaders of the Pacific Islands are groaning for having a lot of $$$ when, I think, they should know that the terrible rise of the Pacific is a utopia … and therefore they are particularly hypocritical …

November 21, 2017 1:01 am

Surely adding too many tourists would just make the islands sink faster? (Sarc)

Reply to  Quilter
November 21, 2017 2:28 am

Given the fact that the tourist resorts are in one side of the island, it will tip over. Sure thing.

Reply to  Quilter
November 21, 2017 3:54 am

Too many visitors could make it capsize – just like Guam.

Reply to  toorightmate
November 21, 2017 4:22 am

Nah…..It wasn’t people who were going to cause Guam to tip over and sink — It was all the military hardware that was being staged on Guam for transshipment further to the west that was speculated (sarcastically) to be causing the danger of the island flipping over and sinking. And that was fifty years or so ago. Didn’t sink? Not a problem.

Brian B
Reply to  Quilter
November 21, 2017 6:36 am

According to one of our illustrious congress clowns it would likely capsize not sink.

tom s
Reply to  Brian B
November 21, 2017 7:05 am

Is that idiot elected official that said that nonsense still in office. What an effing ignorant fool.

Reply to  Quilter
November 21, 2017 7:58 am

Or capsize…

Reply to  Quilter
November 21, 2017 12:15 pm

Or capsize like Guam would with more Marines?

November 21, 2017 1:02 am

So I learned some more about Kiribati. 🙂

November 21, 2017 1:08 am

Taking out water from a structure is fatal for the level.
Sea Level has been blamed but it is often fresh water capturing that is the cause.

November 21, 2017 1:22 am

Let me get this right, they tell us –
CO2 from aircraft brings catastrophic climate change that floods islands, so the islanders want to encourage more tourists (& aircraft)…that will bring even more catastrophic climate change, that floods islands.
Why do they want to flood their islands, are they now to lazy to go out in fishing boats & want the fish to come to them ???

Reply to  1saveenergy
November 21, 2017 5:32 am

It’s eco friendly tourism you have to swim. They take a deposit if you don’t get there to bad. It’s a sound eco friendly business model.

Reply to  LdB
November 21, 2017 9:22 am

Sorry to be a pedant, but why is it that hardly any blogger can tell the difference between ‘to’ and ‘too’ anymore?
I find it most annoying
End of rant.

Reply to  LdB
November 21, 2017 9:36 am

Well first that is an extra letter and I am being Green and saving the planet 1 letter at a time using less electricity. Griff would be proud of me.

Second English isn’t my first language and I do that and put “you” instead of “your”. Now if I would like to suggest some changes to the English language which would help but nobody ever listens.

November 21, 2017 1:36 am

The media and the U.N. may want to cherry pick the one location on the planet which they believe to be experiencing the higher degree of relative SLR.
If we were as unscrupulous as alarmists, then we could continually point to locations where sea level is dropping due to uplift.
But, the real question should surely be, is there a net loss of coastal land overall.
And the answer to that question is – no.
Not only that BUT – “scientists who mapped where land and water have shifted were surprised to find that Earth has gained more land than it has lost since 1985.”
So, apocalypse cancelled, once again.
Now, who is going to start a campaign to “save the sea”. The seas which are being inundated and engulfed and overwhelmed (etc) by the unstoppable expansion of coastal land.

Ed Zuiderwijk
November 21, 2017 1:37 am

I will start believing those sinking-feeling stories when they stop building runways to bring in visitors with those nasty airplanes.

November 21, 2017 1:43 am

Like nearly all these island cases, Kirabati has a growing population.
More people more real pollution more stress on the local environment.
2017 Kirabati population 116,398, with a growth of 1.76%, up from 2000 figures of 84,406 and a growth of 1.66%.
In 1965 the population was 46,453 and a growth rate of 2.41%.

Remind me, why does the rest of the world have to pay for people to inhabit a tropical island paradise?

Reply to  tom0mason
November 21, 2017 8:00 am

Oops that’s Kiribati,
Not as I cut and pasted from the web page address of ‘kirabati-climate-plan-more-resorts-more-tourists’.

November 21, 2017 1:48 am

Should be plenty of aerial photos of Tarawa from 1942 to compare sea levels.

November 21, 2017 2:10 am
November 21, 2017 2:37 am

OT, I wonder is ABC (Australia) realise just how STUPID this heading and article are !!

130 years ago, and they still might, maybe break this ridiculously silly record.

AGW screeching at its best 🙂

Reply to  AndyG55
November 21, 2017 4:15 am


And just to tug at your heartstrings, a picture of a cute animal and a child.

Probably better with a picture of a Tiger snake on a porch to really scare the gullible.

Phil R
Reply to  AndyG55
November 21, 2017 5:51 am

A heat wave with six consecutive days above 25°C, or 77°F, for those of us in ‘murica. How can they stand it?

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Phil R
November 21, 2017 8:42 am

Even if he ‘2’ is a typo and meant to be a ‘3’, that is only 95°F.
That’s a little on the warm side, but not going to stop ordinary activities.
Some workers, say roofers, might start early and knock off after lunch.
Common enough. Time for a cold beer.

Reply to  AndyG55
November 21, 2017 9:41 am

As an Australian that is about the funniest thing I have ever seen. Give the Snowflakes a cup of concrete.

Reply to  LdB
November 21, 2017 10:15 am

When it starts getting to the 40’s .. ok.. that’s warm !! by 25?

A normal spring day on the mainland.

Reply to  LdB
November 21, 2017 10:18 am

Remember once being on a motor bike on the tarmac road when temperature was 44ºC.

That was kinda toasty on the face!

Bruce Cobb
November 21, 2017 3:45 am

Anote Tong is the former president of Kiribati.

November 21, 2017 3:55 am

Invasion of Betio island, Tarawa atoll, Nov 20-23, 1943
If they want tourism they have to figure out what to do about their trash. The beaches of Betio Island where the 2nd Marine division stormed ashore November 1943 are covered in trash.

That island has to be a prime candidate for the most concentrated fury of any battlefield during WW II. Casualties for both sides higher than Iwo Jima as measured in casualties per square yard of ground.

That event was also where the American public during WW II learned just how terrible war was going to be. Footage showing masses of dead Marines on the beaches of Betio accidently made it through the sensors to newsreels shown in theaters all over the US. They were the first American war dead shown where they died (Or where their bodies had washed ashore) in the US press since Pearl Harbor. FDR was furious but Admirals King and Nimitz convinced the POTUS that the American public had a right to know just how tough the advance on Japan would be because there were a lot more coming. Thus later, when a short documentary film titled ‘With the Marines at Tarawa’ was produced, FDR approved it’s release and it won an Academy award.

Allied planners would typically plan to land their troops during a rising tide because landing craft beaching during an ebb tide were more likely not to be able to retract. The problem was that the tides did not occur as projected. the reefs prevented passage of the landing craft except for a very few points (Which the defenders had zeroed in). There were not nearly enough “Alligators” (LVTs- Landing Vehicles, Tracked) available yet so conventional landing craft carried the bulk of the troops. Thus most of the Marines of the first waves had to wade distances up to 1/4 of a mile while under heavy fire just to get to the beach. This reconnaissance failure resulted in the formation of the UDTs (Underwater Demolition Teams) which were the forerunners of the USN SEAL teams.

Rear Admiral Keiji Shibazaki, commander of the defenders had boasted that “it would take one million men one hundred years” to take the island. US forces secured the island in 76 hours.

Defenses Betio

Only 17 Japanese combat troops (Almost all taken wounded or incapacitated by shell shock) were captured. 129 Korean construction workers (Which the Japanese called “flies”) were also taken alive. Actor Eddie Albert, a Navy Lt. serving as a salvage specialist, captured a Japanese Imperial Naval Landing Force Officer that was delusional.

Reply to  RAH
November 21, 2017 5:09 am

Crap! Censors not “Sensors”.

Reply to  RAH
November 21, 2017 12:34 pm

Great write up. I read in almost all of my history books that a neap tide occured at the time of the landing. The Marines (General Howlin’ Mad Smith) did not know about neap tides, and the Navy failed to tell him about them. A real FUBAR.

Reply to  ibnsaud
November 23, 2017 5:00 pm

Taking Tarawa started the central pacific route of advance and put a capstone on the isolation of 10s of 1,000s of Japanese troops in the Solomon Islands and New Britain (Rabaul). It was worth it.

November 21, 2017 4:03 am

Kirabati or Kiribati?

Reply to  Oldseadog
November 21, 2017 4:48 am


michael hart
November 21, 2017 4:44 am

The islands also showed themselves remarkably resilient to nuclear weapons testing.

November 21, 2017 4:54 am

If people believe a new resort is about to sink into the sea, it might make the experience even more rare and valuable. Extreme tourism is expensive.

Reply to  lloydr56
November 21, 2017 5:40 am

I tried to book a full flood room but none were offering the proper experience

Bruce Cobb
November 21, 2017 5:41 am

It’s great to see countries taking a page out of the Trump book of the “Action on Climate” of Drill Baby Drill, Dig Baby Dig, and It’s the Economy, Stupid. Next year’s Climate confab will even be in Katowice, Poland – smack in the middle of coal country. I suppose some may still be holding out for the promised much-ballyhooed $100bn/year Climate Cash, but I’m guessing they are beginning to see the writing on the wall: it’s not coming, despite all the blather about it previously.

November 21, 2017 5:53 am

Surely Tong is shooting himself in the foot here though. He’s badly failing to stick with the green blob’s climate victim playbook and they will drop him like a poisonous coconut. Suggesting that the way to go is to invest in extensive new building projects on an island about to disappear beneath the accelerating sea is very obviously sending the wrong message. Media and funding attention will pass over these islands like a squall and seek for more compliant ‘victims’ on other Pacific island chains.

Reply to  cephus0
November 21, 2017 6:30 am

Yes, the information on Kiribati seems to indicate those who live there want to move to a modern society, not backward to more grass huts and outhouses. They are obviously not understanding how this “save us from climate change” mantra actually works.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Sheri
November 21, 2017 7:00 am

Indeed, their concerns are purely economic. If allowing themselves to be climate poster boys gets some free US EU tax payer cash from the UN, then so be it

Jacob Frank
Reply to  cephus0
November 21, 2017 6:56 am

I have noticed a lot of car commercials show the car zipping around in snowy conditions. Isn’t this going to trigger the faithful climate drones into safe spaces instead of the dealership? Shame on these advertisers.

November 21, 2017 6:47 am

The Chinese have shown that they can build islands that did not exist before, so raising an existing island to keep it above sea level should be trivial.

Dredging the sea bed for materials is a poor way of creating farm land, because of the salt, but it is fine for building hotels. Waste created by the tourists could also be used as land fill.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  BillP
November 21, 2017 7:01 am

and if this nonsense of SLR doom was true, these things would not be built

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
November 21, 2017 7:01 am
Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
November 21, 2017 8:29 am

If people actually believed it Manhattan would have a new sea wall around it by now. Hanson’s time is about up and the West Side Hwy is high and dry.,4123490&hl=en

If people actually believed it then the Big Dig in Boston would never have been constructed.

Funny, both are places where the majority of the people presumably believe that sea levels will rise catastrophically due to human caused “climate change”.

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
November 21, 2017 9:54 am

They need to build a small nuclear plant and use it to distill water and inject it into the fresh water bubble to keep the island up and give them more fresh water for tourism.

November 21, 2017 7:36 am

President H.E Taneti Maamau’s video:

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  kev1701e
November 21, 2017 8:15 am

it clearly says global warming, not man made global warming

How long does it take 1.5mm\y to rise three meters 😀 The Dutch dealt with it, even in my hometown Dublin Ireland, we took back slices of land from the sea.

Kiribati needs to 1, raise coast ground level and 2 install concrete erosion barriers, we did this in Ireland ffs.
If they can just be honest and say erosion and slow creeping natural sea level rise is gonna hurt us, yeah sure, I’d donate myself, this climate crap is laughable and deserves no pity

Bruce Cobb
November 21, 2017 8:24 am

It’s hilarious how “climate change” is the reason intoned for doing something you should, or planned to do anyway.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 21, 2017 8:33 am

Sounds a lot like all discretionary spending from U.S. (UN) budgets.

November 21, 2017 8:31 am

What is the resort discount for those visitors with green creds and advocacy membership?

November 21, 2017 8:41 am

Kiribati is how the natives pronounce the former name, Gilbert Islands. I find this utterly ridiculous, why change the maps…

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Michael Moon
November 21, 2017 8:46 am

Whose maps?

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
November 21, 2017 10:22 am

Umm, the people who print maps, genius

Reply to  Michael Moon
November 21, 2017 8:59 am

Guess the people there have every right to change the name to reflect their own culture instead of that of the French who named it. But Kiribati does not include all of the Gilbert Islands.

Reply to  Michael Moon
November 21, 2017 9:55 am

I had a memory that a lot of these islands had super phosphate that was historically mined. I was looking for which islands had been mined and ran across this timeline.

The legal actions were intersting but note the 1989 enrty:

Overcrowding prompts resettlement of inhabitants to other low-lying atolls.

It would be interesting to know which islands this was but I have been unable to get that detail.

Chris Hogg
Reply to  LdB
November 22, 2017 9:23 am
November 21, 2017 8:44 am

It should be corrected that Anote Tong is no longer President of Kiribati, however we should be thankful for his entire efforts. The currrent President is Taneti Maamau who came up with his vision for the next twenty years called Kiribati Vision 20 to transform Kiribati into a more resilient, secured and prosperous nation.

Svend Ferdinandsen
November 21, 2017 8:56 am

As usual climate change is coupled to rising sea level.
“Kiribati is one of the parts of the world most threatened by climate change and rising sea levels”
Rising sea level is not caused by climate change, or it is anyway not visible in any measure of sea level.
Placed in the Pacific ocean they will not feel any measurable temperature change.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Svend Ferdinandsen
November 21, 2017 9:24 am

To be fair, they are just staying on script. They don’t want to risk a visit by the dreaded Climate Inquisition.

November 21, 2017 10:09 am

Kiribati has been in focus several times. Sea is not at all in a rising mode as evidenced by the tide gauges.
In 2012, I had reasons to reply here:
Let me cite:
With respect to the article on March 7 by Paul Chapman on the future of Kiribati, I have to protest and urge all readers to consult the only “hard facts” there are, viz. the tide gauge record of the changes in sea level.
The graph reveals that there, in fact, is no ongoing sea level rise that threatens the habitation of the islands. This is the hard observational fact, which we should all face before starting to talk about future flooding and the need for evacuation.
If the president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, claims that the islands will soon be flooded and that there is an urgent need to buy new land for possible future refugees, it is the president’s own tactical idea in order to raise money from abroad. Let us respect the observational facts and stay away from invented disasters.
best wishes
Nils-Axel Mörner
just now working in Fiji

Chris Hogg
Reply to  nilsaxelmorner
November 22, 2017 9:25 am
Coeur de Lion
November 21, 2017 10:15 am

“Scientists say……”Oh dear.

November 21, 2017 10:32 am

If they expect help from the un, those luxury hotels are required. Is the island too small for a Mercedes dealership?

Joel Snider
November 21, 2017 12:17 pm

But we Americans should be ashamed of our reluctance to finance all this.

Brett Keane
November 22, 2017 1:11 am

Prof Kench of Auckland U has also done much research. It corroborates that of Nils-Axel Morner above.

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