last week when making a speech in Parliament in relation to the debate on the budget, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Jeremiah Manele called for more action on climate change to be taken by the developed world before, as he put it, a tipping point is reached when climate impact becomes irreversible.
Minister Manele explained how the Solomon Islands, as a Small Islands Developing State was vulnerable to climate change that was already impacting on the lives of Solomon Islanders and especially those living on low level islands
He went on to add, “Sadly mitigation commitments by the international community under the Paris Agreement are not ambitious enough to put us on a 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway.
“Lives and future of our people especially remains uncertain and under threat.
“I wish to use this occasion to call on all countries in particular the developed world to take more climate action before we reach the tipping point when climate impact becomes irreversible.
“We may need a stronger climate Agreement that makes climate action mandatory,” he said.
During the same budget debate, the Opposition Leader, Hon Mathew Wale urged the government to seriously consider the establishment of a Climate Fund, which would be responsible for the funding of all matters that are climate related including mitigation, adaptation, relocation, disaster resilience, response, rehabilitation, etc.
“Government cannot justify its postponement of meaningful action on this existential matter,” he said.
Mr.Wale said the response to Covid-19 had demonstrated the government was able to galvanize attention and focus resources to tackle an issue effectively.
He said a similar commitment needs to be made to tackling the consequences of sea level rise on vulnerable communities. “It is now not good enough to wait until disaster strikes before responding to alleviate the plight of our people.” he added.
In separate but related debate on climate change, in the USA the President, Joe Biden, has asked 40 world leaders to a virtual two-day summit to ramp up efforts in tackling the climate emergency, beginning on Earth Day, 22 April.
Invitations have gone out to leaders of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which total about 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Nations on the frontlines of the climate crisis, already facing more extreme weather and rising sea levels, have also been invited along with a number of nations championing climate action.
The list includes Russian president Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinxing a signal that the US is willing to put the climate crisis above even its most strained international relations. President Xi is expected to attend, according to a report, while Mr Putin remains a question mark.
For its part, the US is expected to announce a tougher 2030 emissions-reduction target ahead of the summit. The “nationally determined contribution” (NDC), as it’s known, is each nation’s short-term pledge on emissions and a required part of the Paris Agreement. The Biden administration has been urged by environmentalists and business leaders alike to slash admissions by at least half this decade.
Sources. Island Sun newspaper and the Guardian (UK)
It will be of interest to see which of the 40 world leaders will participate in the virtual two day summit and what, if any, pledges are made to tackle the climate change crises that so adversely is impacting on the Solomon Islands which has the very least carbon footprint.