February 2, 2017: IRES Faculty Seminar
Speaker: Simon Donner

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (every Thursday)

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall


Living Islands: Coping with Sea-level Rise in Kiribati and the Pacific Islands


Pacific Island countries like Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands are existentially threatened by climate change and sea-level rise. The people and the islands themselves are also more resilient than the bold-faced headlines about disappearing islands may have you think. In this presentation, I’ll discuss the science of coral reef islands, the gaps in perception about their present and future, and the immense challenge of helping the local people respond to climate change. The presentation draws upon a decade of research on coastal systems, migration history and adaptation decision-making in the Republic Kiribati, the low-lying central equatorial Pacific nation struggling to deal with sea-level rise.


Simon Donner is an Associate Professor of Climatology in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia. He teaches and conducts interdisciplinary research at the interface of climate science, marine science, and public policy. Current areas of research include climate change and coral reefs; ocean warming and El Nino; climate change adaptation in small island developing states; public engagement on climate change. He is also the director of UBC’s NSERC-supported “Ocean Leaders” program  and is affiliated with UBC’s Institute of Oceans and Fisheries, Liu Institute for Global Issues, Atmospheric Sciences Program, and Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability.


Photo credit: Graham McDowell