On the island of Tarawa, under gently drifting popcorn-shaped clouds in the remotest part of the south Pacific, you don’t think of ice.
Tarawa is a sliver of land bent like a sickle against the blue flat sheen of tropical ocean that seems to stretch forever in all directions. There is no naturally formed ice within thousands of miles. Yet in this capital city of the Republic of Kiribati, ice will have much to do with the survival of its people.
Sea-level rise caused by the expansion of warmer water and the addition of new water from melting ice due to global climate change represents a serious threat to the world’s low-lying regions. For an atoll like Tarawa — an island built of coral resting atop an underwater volcano — it is a clear and imminent danger.