Before we drown we may die of thirst
I see that a couple of weeks back, Nature had a balanced article about climate change and its effects on the small Pacific Island nations.
Long time readers may recall that I have always backed away* from relying on the celebrity victim status (as it were) of these islands for communicating the seriousness of climate change, because it seemed to me that their continued existence, being barely above sea level anyway, was always in doubt.
I think, on the whole, this article vindicates that position. The islands have several problems and indeed climate change will exacerbate them, but in the big picture, the seriousness of a metre or two of sea level increase on the vastly populated and developed regions of other countries is really the much more profound problem. (As well as the regional effects on food production, handling more frequent flooding, and the possible vast changes in the ocean food chain.)
* Yes, that linked post was written back in 2006 when I was taking a "sitting on the fence" approach to climate change, before I became convinced that it (and ocean acidification) were indeed serious issues.