Development and Climate: The President's Dilemma| 10mins
Director: Various | Producer: IIED
Focus Years: 2010 | Country: United Kingdom
Anote Tong is President of a small nation â€“ a group of 33 atoll islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, half-way between Australia and Hawaii. Tong is faced with a dilemma the likes of which most government leaders couldnâ€™t image. Scientists predict that within 30 to 50 years the nation he governs will have disappeared, covered over by rising seas resulting from global climate change.
â€œFor some time I did not sleep because I didnâ€™t have a solution to a problem that there wasnâ€™t a solution to,â€ says Tong. â€œWhat happens to us in the future? Do we disappear as a culture? So these are the issues that keep me awake.â€
"The President's Dilemma" explores some of the issues that keep Tong awake and put his nationâ€™s 108,000 residents at risk. It takes a hard look at the impact that climate change is having on poor, low-lying island nations like Kiribati and what can be done to help ease the burden for those who are living on the front lines.
â€œAlready we have whole villages being washed out,â€ Tong says in the documentary. â€œThereâ€™s no running away from the reality that the seas are rising. There is no running away from that reality.â€