World

Kiribati president tours Arctic glaciers ahead of UN climate summit

  • In this photo made available by Greenpeace International, President Anote Tong of the Pacific Island nation Kiribati stands during a retreat to the high Arctic glacier Nordenskioldbreen, on Svalbard, Norway. Fearing that his Pacific island nation could be swallowed by a rising ocean, the president of Kiribati says a visit to the melting Arctic has helped him appreciate the scale of the threat. President Anote Tong on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 ended a Greenpeace-organized tour of glaciers in Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago, a trip he said left a deep impression that he would share with world leaders at a U.N. climate summit next week in New York. (AP Photo/Greenpeace International, Christian Aslund)

    In this photo made available by Greenpeace International, President Anote Tong of the Pacific Island nation Kiribati stands during a retreat to the high Arctic glacier Nordenskioldbreen, on Svalbard, Norway. Fearing that his Pacific island nation could be swallowed by a rising ocean, the president of Kiribati says a visit to the melting Arctic has helped him appreciate the scale of the threat. President Anote Tong on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 ended a Greenpeace-organized tour of glaciers in Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago, a trip he said left a deep impression that he would share with world leaders at a U.N. climate summit next week in New York. (AP Photo/Greenpeace International, Christian Aslund)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo made available by Greenpeace International, President Anote Tong of the Pacific Island nation Kiribati in front of glacier ice from the retreating glacier Sveabreen on Svalbard. Norway. Fearing that his Pacific island nation could be swallowed by a rising ocean, the president of Kiribati says a visit to the melting Arctic has helped him appreciate the scale of the threat. President Anote Tong on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 ended a Greenpeace-organized tour of glaciers in Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago, a trip he said left a deep impression that he would share with world leaders at a U.N. climate summit next week in New York. (AP Photo/Greenpeace International, Christian Aslund)

    In this photo made available by Greenpeace International, President Anote Tong of the Pacific Island nation Kiribati in front of glacier ice from the retreating glacier Sveabreen on Svalbard. Norway. Fearing that his Pacific island nation could be swallowed by a rising ocean, the president of Kiribati says a visit to the melting Arctic has helped him appreciate the scale of the threat. President Anote Tong on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 ended a Greenpeace-organized tour of glaciers in Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago, a trip he said left a deep impression that he would share with world leaders at a U.N. climate summit next week in New York. (AP Photo/Greenpeace International, Christian Aslund)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo made available by Greenpeace International, President Anote Tong of the Pacific Island nation Kiribati stands during a retreat to the high Arctic glacier Nordenskioldbreen, on Svalbard, in Norway. Fearing that his Pacific island nation could be swallowed by a rising ocean, the president of Kiribati says a visit to the melting Arctic has helped him appreciate the scale of the threat. President Anote Tong on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 ended a Greenpeace-organized tour of glaciers in Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago, a trip he said left a deep impression that he would share with world leaders at a U.N. climate summit next week in New York. (AP Photo/Greenpeace International, Christian Aslund)

    In this photo made available by Greenpeace International, President Anote Tong of the Pacific Island nation Kiribati stands during a retreat to the high Arctic glacier Nordenskioldbreen, on Svalbard, in Norway. Fearing that his Pacific island nation could be swallowed by a rising ocean, the president of Kiribati says a visit to the melting Arctic has helped him appreciate the scale of the threat. President Anote Tong on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 ended a Greenpeace-organized tour of glaciers in Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago, a trip he said left a deep impression that he would share with world leaders at a U.N. climate summit next week in New York. (AP Photo/Greenpeace International, Christian Aslund)  (The Associated Press)

The president of Kiribati who fears that his Pacific island nation could be swallowed by a rising ocean, says a visit to the melting Arctic has helped him appreciate the scale of the threat.

President Anote Tong on Saturday ended a Greenpeace-organized tour of glaciers in Norway's Svalbard Archipelago, a trip he said left a deep impression that he would share with world leaders at a U.N. climate summit next week in New York.

Scientists say the melt of Arctic glaciers is a key factor in the sea level rise that is threatening island nations such as Kiribati, an impoverished string of 33 coral atolls located about halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Many of its atolls rise just a few feet above sea level.