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Kiribati mulls buying higher ground


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POSTED: Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New Delhi » Kiribati, a Pacific island nation in danger of being submerged because of global warming, might purchase land elsewhere to relocate its people, President Anote Tong said.

“;We would consider buying land,”; Tong said in an interview in New Delhi. “;The alternative is that we die, we go extinct.”; Kiribati, located between Hawaii and Australia, is the second island nation after the Maldives that has floated the idea of buying land should their islands be swamped by rising seas and more powerful storms.

Warmer temperatures are melting icecaps, expanding the volume of oceans and causing more intense storm systems. Higher tides in Kiribati's 33-island archipelago are making potable water for its 100,000 residents too salty to drink. Tong appealed Thursday to leaders who will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December to turn their attention to islanders hurt by global warming.