SOURCE: 60 Minutes Digital and 9News

DATE: May 12, 2019

SNIP: With crystal clear blue waters and white sandy beaches, the Solomon Islands are one of the most stunning and remote parts of the Pacific Ocean.

But despite the archipelago’s isolation, it’s no stranger to the unforgiving impacts of climate change: the island paradise is drowning.

In the past 20 years, sea levels in the Solomon Islands have risen over 15 centimetres. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s led to many islands losing critical land mass. Others have disappeared completely.

Sceptics say the vanishing islands occur as a result of natural erosion, but Bartlett reports that’s not the case. The remnants of 300-year-old trees which once stood tall, but are now all but drowning, prove the point.

Renowned marine ecologist Dr Simon Albert agrees. He’s been studying the effects of climate change and sea level rises in the Solomon Islands for years and has seen the devastating impact of climate change on the small nation.

“It’s just mind-blowing really,” he says.

“These are permanent islands that have been on these reef platforms for at least the last few hundred years.”

“The rates of change we’ve seen over the last 20 years are unprecedented in that history.”