Rising sea levels are threatening to put the Pacific island nation of Kiribati underwater, potentially turning its citizens into "climate refugees."
"Our islands will be uninhabitable in the decades ahead," former president Anote Tong told CNBC on Tuesday, warning that chunks of the population may have to relocate as a result.
Despite a tiny carbon footprint, low-lying Kiribati — pronounced Kiribas — could eventually be fully submerged as rising temperatures in the Pacific Ocean lead to spiking sea levels, experts have warned.
The republic, located below Hawaii, is made up of 33 coral atolls. Most islands are less than two kilometers wide with an average height of 1.8 meters, or 6 feet, above sea level, according to the World Bank.