Fact sheet

Fact Check: Is the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu growing, and not sinking, as Craig Kelly says?

Liberal Party of Australia Sea level rise Tuvalu
At a local party event Liberal MP and climate sceptic Craig Kelly set out to debunk several justifications for climate change action, including the argument that Tuvalu, the Pacific island nation, was slipping beneath the sea. He claimed: "The science tells us that Tuvalu, which I often hear about, is actually growing not sinking." RMIT ABC Fact Check found Mr Kelly's claim checks out. In the four decades to 2014, Tuvalu's total land area grew by 73 hectares, or 2.9 per cent. The expert behind this research told Fact Check the nation's islands were continually adjusting, and that the new land was habitable. But that's not to say Pacific nations are not at risk from rising seas. One expert said that among the Solomon Islands, for example, reef and volcanic islands had disappeared or been eroded, in some cases displacing indigenous communities. Smaller islands in Tuvalu, though uninhabited, have also shrunk. The research cited by Mr Kelly suggests certain islands ' specifically, larger atolls and reef platforms ' can adapt to the current pace of sea level rise. However, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sets out four scenarios for future rises, three of them more severe than what Tuvalu has so far faced.
Verdict: Checks Out
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