Marshall Islands

Climate Risk Country Profile - Marshall Islands

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KEY MESSAGES

  • The Republic of the Marshall Islands’ (RMI) island groups have experienced warming of around 0.6°C since 1980.

  • Future trends in warming are obscured by the inability of climate models to accurately simulate trends at sufficiently small spatial scales. Warming is likely to take place at a rate slightly lower than the global average. On the highest emissions pathway (RCP8.5) warming of around 2.8°C is projected by the end of the century.

  • RMI faces a diverse set of risks from climate change; however, data and reliable model projections are lacking, presenting challenges for decision makers.

  • Potential threats to human well-being and natural ecosystems include increased prevalence of heatwave, intensified cyclones, saline intrusion, wave-driven flooding, and permanent inundation.

  • Biodiversity and the natural environment of RMI face extreme pressure, and loss of some species of fish, coral, bird, and terrestrial species is likely without very effective conservation measures.

  • RMI faces a potential long-term threat from permanent inundation and wave-driven flooding, and some studies have suggested that many of its low-lying islands will become uninhabitable within the 21st century.

  • Other research has suggested that the risk of large-scale net loss of land may previously have been overstated and if natural processes and assets, such as coral reefs are conserved, human inhabitancy might be sustained over the long-term.

  • RMI’s population already lives in a dynamic ecosystem, to which it has adapted, but climate change is likely to increase its variability, pose new threats, and place stress on livelihoods.

  • Communities are likely to need support to adapt and manage disaster risks facing their wellbeing, livelihoods, and infrastructure. Geographic isolation and economic vulnerabilities, including dependence on remittance and foreign aid, will increase the challenges faced by communities and decision makers.

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