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Articles by William Brangham

William Brangham is a producer at PBS Need to Know.

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A few of Palau's hundreds of tropical islands. (Photo by Nick Lucey.)

A few of Palau’s hundreds of tropical islands. (Photo by Nick Lucey.)

The tiny Pacific island nation of Palau is a paradise on Earth. This band of several hundred islands is home to some of the world’s most stunning marine life, and to the 20,000 people who live there.

But like many low-lying nations across the world, Palau is threatened by the effects of climate change and sea-level rise. Palau’s coasts are being eroded, its local farmlands tainted by seawater, and its valuable reefs threatened. Johnson Toribiong, president of Palau, calls the damage he’s witnessing “a slow-moving tsunami.”

But Palau isn’t resigning itself to a doomsday fate. Palau has crafted a novel legal strategy at the United Nations to try to hold the industrialized world accountable for the damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions, which most scientists say are driving climate change.

Could this David vs. Goliath strategy actually work? Need to Know went to Palau to investigate. Here’s our video report:

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