What are the Impacts of Climate Change in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific?
Despite Pacific Islanders having experience adapting to different weather and climate-related events, climate change represents an existential threat to their land, culture, and livelihoods.
The islands face different challenges; however, typical challenges include rapid sea-level rise swallowing land and threatening freshwater supplies, intense storms and changes in rainfall patterns, and rising soil salinity, making it harder to grow food.
In Papua New Guinea, the challenges mainly relate to sea-level rise, which is already occurring twice the global average rate. This causes soil to erode and threatens the existence of coastal communities, such as the Salamaua Isthmus, in the Morobe Province, where the sea has already swallowed a primary school or the Carteret Islanders who have had to relocate from their island homes.
Another challenge is related to the changes in weather patterns, such as increasing temperatures and the increase of annual rainfall. This is expected to significantly impact future yields of everything from rice and wheat to fish.