Marshall Islands

Marshall Islands weathers climate storm, prevents foreign minister to attend key climate talks in Morroco

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Marshall Islands foreign minister Tony de Brum failed to attend this week’s key climate change talks in Morroco due to climate change related storm that affected the Pacific nation.

This week’s INDC Ministerial Forum in Morocco and next week’s final round of officials-level negotiations in Bonn is to discuss a new international agreement on climate change, due to be adopted in Paris in mid-December

Climate pledges made by national governments ahead of COP21 fall short of meeting the international goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Projections show the current pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions would put world on a path toward 3 degrees Celsius.

Marshall Islands foreign Minister Tony de Brum said locking in the current emissions targets would spell disaster.

“While still mopping up US$4.2 million in damage from Typhoon Nangka, the Marshall Islands has been hit by yet another unseasonal storm fueled by climate change.”

“In the last week alone, we have had chaotic swells, more than 150 millimeters of rain, as well as unprecedented gale force winds from the west. And this week we are expecting king tides that will reach almost 2 meters in height. My own home is under climate attack. A 40-foot boat that lost its mooring during the last storm dangles perilously close to our sea wall, threatening to smash down my family home. My children and grandchildren have been going to bed in fear.”

“Sadly, the latest crisis sadly means I cannot join ministers in Rabat this week, but I hope they have my country firmly in mind when they look at how we’re tracking for the Paris Agreement. EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Cañete and Moroccan Minister Hakima El Haite have shown real leadership in convening this meeting, but we all know the inescapable reality – we have a severe crisis of ambition. The proposed targets on the table for Paris have us on track to at least 2.7˚C of warming by the end of the century – this is three times the warming we have now. Without much more urgent and ambitious action, my country simply won’t survive,” de brum said in a statement.

“The first step to dealing with a crisis is to acknowledge it; the second step is to have a strategy to overcome it. If we lock in the current targets all the way through to 2030, we will have failed. The Paris Agreement must be ‘designed for ambition’ by kicking off with a political moment in 2020 to deepen targets in pursuit of a long-term decarbonization pathway that can limit warming to below 1.5˚C. It must also deliver the climate finance to support the transition to the new low-carbon and climate resilient economy, and tackle seriously the longer-term impacts and security threats we will inevitably face.”

“Next week’s talks in Bonn are the last chance for our negotiators to sow the seeds of success for Paris. I have read the latest text and see some important gaps. But if we don’t move forward now, we risk no agreement in Paris. We will be working hard with our friends and partners to produce a text that is simple, strong and that puts a safe future ahead of short-sighted politics. As this week’s events in my country show, failure is not an option, said de Brum.