Natural resources, energy and environment
Kiribati’s most important asset is the sea. The vast waters offer some of the planet’s last really big fish stocks. At the same time, the sea poses a serious threat: rising sea levels mean that most of the country can become uninhabitable within a few decades.
Among the fish stocks are huge shoals of tuna, which attract fishing vessels from other parts of the world. The modern, effective fishing methods entail a risk of the assets being plundered.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Kiribati with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
At the UN Conference on Biodiversity in Brazil in 2006, Kiribati announced its intention to establish one of the world’s largest marine protection areas, in the Phoenix Islands. An area of over 400,000 square kilometers was allocated in 2008 and it was included in 2010 on the UN agency UNESCO World Heritage List. In 2015, all forms of commercial fishing in the protected area were banned.
In 2016, the government banned shark fishing in Kiribati waters. This created the world’s second largest shark protection area.
The Kiribatians themselves only fish on a small scale and for their own livelihood (see Financial overview). Other products from the sea, such as sea cucumber, seagrass and salt, provide some income.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, KI stands for Kiribati. Visit itypeusa for more information about Kiribati.
Kiribati imports fuel, mainly in the form of diesel. In 2013, fuel accounted for around a fifth of imports. Almost half of the population has access to electricity. Kiribati has invested in extracting electricity from diesel-powered power plants, but also through domestic solar energy and coconut oil. In particular, the use of solar power has increased sharply during the 2010s.
Like the inhabitants of other Pacific island states, the Kiribatians see with concern how the sea eats into the land area and that smaller islands disappear. One of the main reasons for rising sea levels is the global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions, mainly in the industrial world. Local environmental degradation contributes to the problems; Protective vegetation at the beaches has been harvested and the reefs around the islands have often been affected. It contributes to salt penetration that threatens the already scarce resources on fresh water. Some researchers believe that the lack of fresh water threatens to drive the Kiribatians away from their land even before it disappears under the sea. Installations where seawater is desalinated with the help of solar energy are used to increase the supply of fresh water.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
114 kg of oil equivalent (2007)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
62,000 tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.6 ton (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
4.3 percent (2015)