Quantcast

Marshall Islands' Bold Pledge of 'Zero Emissions by 2050'

Climate

Faced with the disastrous impacts of the growing climate crisis, the Marshall Islands, a remote Pacific island nation, has taken a decisive step towards the preservation of the planet, as well as its own land and people.

"Our message is simple: If one of the world’s smallest, poorest and most geographically isolated countries can do it, so can you." Photo credit: Christopher Michel

On Sunday, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) President Christopher Loeak announced his country is the first small island nation to submit to the United Nations a clear climate target for 2025 ahead of the upcoming Paris climate summit.

"I am proud that, despite the climate disasters hitting our shores with increasing regularity, we remain committed to showing the way in the transition to a low-carbon economy," he said. "We may be small, but we exemplify the new reality that going low carbon is in everyone’s interests.  It improves our economy, our security, our health and our prosperity, particularly in the Pacific and more broadly in the developing world."

According to the pledge, known as an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (or INDC), the island nation has committed to reduce emissions by 32 percent below 2010 levels by 2025, and 45 percent by 2030, with the longer-term vision of zero emissions by 2050, if not earlier.

This goal, Loaek says, makes RMI the first developing country to adopt a "more robust absolute economy-wide target" usually expected of industrialized countries. Previous negotiations have been stifled largely because rich nations have failed to commit to binding climate targets or take responsibility for their outsized contribution to the climate crisis.

Referencing this ongoing debate between developed and developing countries, RMI Minister of Foreign Affairs Tony de Brum added: "With most of the big emitters’ targets now on the table, everyone know s we are falling well short. This is not something that can be ignored, nor swept away by political expediency."

"There can be no more excuses for delay or for low-balling ambition on the false premise that coal and other dirty fuels somehow increase prosperity," de Brum continued. "Exactly the opposite is true."

"Our message is simple: If one of the world’s smallest, poorest and most geographically isolated countries can do it, so can you," he said.

Responding to the news, EU Climate Action Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete called the pledge "inspiring" and "exemplary."

The Marshall Islands, de Brum noted, has already led the world in its transition to renewable energy. "But going forward," he added, "we’ll need to go harder, upscaling not only on solar, but also biofuels and wind, as well as the potential use of transformational technology, such as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

World Scientists: Climate Change as Serious a Risk as Nuclear War

7 Climate Records Broken in 2014 Indicates Earth Is ‘Gravely Ill’

And the Cheapest Electricity in America Is … Solar

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Thanasis Zovoilis / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Infants less than a year old should not be exposed to electronic screens, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

By Wenonah Hauter

Five years ago this week, an emergency manager appointed by then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made the devastating decision to save money by switching Flint's water supply over from Detroit's water system to the Flint River. Seen as a temporary fix, the new water supply was not properly treated. High levels of lead leached from the old pipes, poisoning a generation of Flint's children, and bacteria responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease killed more than a dozen residents.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Los Angeles-Long Beach, California is listed as the nation's smoggiest city. Pixabay

Seven million more Americans lived in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution between 2015 and 2017 than between 2014 and 2016, and climate change is partly to blame, Time reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
Kissing bug. Pavel Kirillov / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the kissing bug, which can transmit a potentially deadly parasite, has spread to Delaware, ABC News reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
"Take the pledge today." Screenshot / StopFoodWasteDay.com

Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.

Stop Food Waste Day is an initiative of food service company Compass Group. It was launched first in the U.S, in 2017 and went global the year after, making today it's second worldwide celebration.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Berries are among the healthiest foods you can eat.

Read More Show Less
Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15 in Paris, France. Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images

When Paris's Notre Dame caught fire on April 15, the flames threatened more than eight centuries of culture and history. The fire evoked shock, horror and grief worldwide. While the cathedral burned, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed determination to rebuild what the French regard as a sacred site.

Read More Show Less
An artist's impression of NASA's InSight lander on Mars. NASA / JPL-CALTECH

Scientists have likely detected a so-called marsquake — an earthquake on Mars — for the first time, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less