In one of our recent climate change fantasies, we proposed that the richest and most intensive carbon producing countries should set aside “reservations” in their own territories — and not just in some arid, treeless corner of New Mexico, for instance, but in prime real estate, say, Malibu — for refugees whose Pacific island nations have been swept under the ocean by sea level rise.
Now someone has pointed us to a Wikipedia article on the Nauru Phosphate Corporation, the government entity in charge of phosphate mining in Nauru. Specifically, we were directed to the unfortunately small section about the country's long-term investments intended to support its citizens once the phosphate reserves have been exhausted.
There, we read that “the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Development group has constructed two of five hi-rise luxury condos in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. The five towers (two completed as of 10/05) are located on prime Honolulu real estate with ocean views, and represent a benchmark in Honolulu luxury high-rises. Other investments included Nauru House [N.B. divested in 2004 to pay off debts] in Melbourne and Hawaiki Tower in Honolulu.”
Should Nauru's co-investors feel charitable and transfer their shares of these luxury condos to the struggling island, we can imagine these towers, then, being granted extraterritorial status. In spacious floorplans and lushly decorated rooms, Nauru's citizens can ride out the flood in foreign land while still preserving their sovereignty, if not their island culture.
Put in some wind turbines on top, drill a few geothermal pipes into the molten underbelly of Oahu, harness the power of the waves and maybe New Nauru can become a sustainable settlement, something which its most recent incarnation was definitely not. Of course, they may have to battle their neighbors who must protect the market value of their multi-million dollar condos.
Alternatively, they could be employed as migrant service workers by the tennant associations, their wages being sent back home as remittances.