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Pacific News Minute: Tuvalu official famous for climate speech is nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

tuvalu island funafuti associated press file
FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2011 photo, Funafuti, the main island nation state Tuvalu, is seen from a Royal New Zealand airforce C130 aircraft as it approaches at Funafuti, Tuvalu, South Pacific. Funafuti is the capital of Tuvalu, a group of atolls situated north of Fiji and northwest of Samoa, in the South Pacific ocean. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Climate change is a personal focus for one of the nominees for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. It’s related to his home — a Pacific Island nation dealing with the environmental impacts of this continuing issue.

Tuvalu's Foreign Minister Simon Kofe made headlines at last year's United Nations Climate Change summit when he gave a speech while standing knee-deep in the ocean to highlight rising sea levels.

In an interview with the Emirates News Agency, Kofe says that Tuvalu would probably be one of the first countries to go underwater if sea levels continue to rise.

Located in the Central Pacific Ocean, Tuvalu is about 370 miles north of Fiji. It’s the fourth smallest nation in the world, with a population of around 11,000 people.

Tuvalu is made up of six coral atolls and three islands, covering an area of about 11 square miles.

Among the effects of climate change in the country are coastal erosion, coral bleaching that affects the ecosystem of fisheries, and saltwater intrusion into agricultural lands.

Tuvalu may face extinction in the next 50 to 100 years if climate change continues to affect its existence, forcing its residents to relocate.

“As a nation, we want to draw the line here and say if you save Tuvalu, you are saving the world," Kofe said.

Derrick Malama is the local anchor of Morning Edition.
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