Can looking at past climate changes help determine current and future climate change?

Scientists from the United States have been studying caves in Niue, a tiny Polynesian country to look at different climate change patterns dating tens of thousands of years ago.  The coral atolls of Polynesia are under great threat of being submerged by rising sea levels resulting from climate change and global warming. 

If findings show that these island nations have endured such drastic climate change in the past, would this then give reason for Polynesian locals to take a deep breath and have some hope that once again the islands will survive a catastrophic weather change?  Only time can tell.