As Sea Levels Rise, Pacific Island Nations Call for Urgent Action on Climate Change
Two small Pacific Island nations called on the United Nations this week to facilitate immediate action and a legally binding agreement to curb global warming, which has caused steadily rising ocean levels, immediately threatening the soon to be submerged states.
In separate speeches at the UN 67th General Assembly this week the leaders, President Christopher Loeak of the Marshall Islands and President Sprent Dabwido of Nauru reminded all nations of their roles in the climate catastrophe and of a global unwillingness to do what is necessary to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Such effects, the presidents reminded the UN, will not only effect small islands states, but eventually the entire world.
“The time is now over for endless North-South division and all-too predictable finger pointing must end,” Loeak of the Marshall Islands told the 67th General Assembly on the opening day of the annual General Debate.
The Marshall Islands currently have a national energy plan to cut its own emissions drastically. "I ask the rest of the world if you will also meet us in ambition,” Loeak said. “Will it come soon enough?”
In his statement at the General Debate, Dabwido of Nauru noted that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise each year with no end in sight. “Small islands may be the canary in the coalmine, but we are all staring a global catastrophe right in the face,” he warned.
“If multilateralism is to have any credibility, then we must move to an emergency footing and those countries with the greatest capacity must immediately begin mobilizing the significant resources necessary to remake the energy infrastructure that powers the global economy,” he added.
The Presidents' arguments were complimented this week by the release of a new report that predicts more than a 100 million people will die by 2030 if there is no action on climate change, with more than 90 per cent of those deaths occurring in developing countries.
Additionally, Speaking at the Assembly’s opening debate, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accused governments of complacency and negligence over climate action and said urgency is now required to save human life on the planet.
"The severe and growing impacts of climate change are there before our eyes – yet too many people in power seem willfully blind to the threat,” said Ban.
“This is a time of turmoil, transition and transformation – a time when time itself is not on our side."
“Last December, Member States agreed to reach a legally binding agreement by 2015. Now, you must make good on this promise. Time is running out on our ability to limit the rise in global temperature to 2°C,” he urged.