Quantcast

Pacific Islands States Call for Urgent Action on Climate Change at UN General Debate

Climate

United Nations News Centre

President Christopher Loeak of the Marshall Islands addresses the General Assembly calling on the United Nations to ensure rapid attainment of legally binding agreement curbing global warming gasses. UN Photo/J Carrier

At the 67th General Assembly on the opening day of the annual General Debate at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City, two small Pacific Island states at ground zero for the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change and the need for mitigation efforts called on the UN to ensure rapid attainment of legally binding agreement curbing global warming gasses.

“The time is now over for endless North-South division and all-too predictable finger pointing must end,” said President Christopher Loeak of the Marshall Islands, one of the lowest-lying nations in the world.

He said his country had a national energy plan to cut its own emissions, boost its efficiency and pursue new technology. “I ask the rest of the world if you will also meet us in ambition,” he said. “Will it come soon enough?”

President Loeak noted that the Marshall Islands is at present heavily reliant on international assistance and has little other means to provide for adaptation measures needed to mitigate the effects of rising oceans.

“The growing realization that, however, wrongful, we must finance some of our own adaptation efforts is perhaps the most compelling reason to rapidly expand our private sector,” he added.

In his statement to the General Debate, President Sprent 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.

He called for urgent action to achieve emission curbing and mitigation, and noted that many countries—including his own—are not on track to meet their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and in some cases have suffered setbacks because of the recent global economic downturn.

“At the same time, the flow of official development assistance from some channels has diminished, further jeopardizing our ability to achieve our MDGs,” President Dabwido said. “The UN's sustainable development initiatives have also been graced with an abundance of lofty rhetoric, but few resources.”

The MDGs—which seek to slash a host of social ills, including extreme hunger and poverty, infant and maternal mortality, and lack of access to education and medical care—were agreed on by world leaders at a summit in 2000. They have a 2015 deadline for their completion.

The two Pacific Island nation leaders are among scores of heads of State and government and other high-level officials present their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on Oct. 1.

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A verdant and productive urban garden in Havana. Susanne Bollinger / Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

When countries run short of food, they need to find solutions fast, and one answer can be urban farming.

Read More Show Less
Trevor Noah appears on set during a taping of "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" in New York on Nov. 26, 2018. The Daily Show With Trevor Noah / YouTube screenshot

By Lakshmi Magon

This year, three studies showed that humor is useful for engaging the public about climate change. The studies, published in The Journal of Science Communication, Comedy Studies and Science Communication, added to the growing wave of scientists, entertainers and politicians who agree.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
rhodesj / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cities around the country are considering following the lead of Berkeley, California, which became the first city to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes this summer.

Read More Show Less
Rebecca Burgess came up with the idea of a fibersheds project to develop an eco-friendly, locally sourced wardrobe. Nicolás Boullosa / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

If I were to open my refrigerator, the origins of most of the food wouldn't be too much of a mystery — the milk, cheese and produce all come from relatively nearby farms. I can tell from the labels on other packaged goods if they're fair trade, non-GMO or organic.

Read More Show Less
A television crew reports on Hurricane Dorian while waves crash against the Banana River sea wall. Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope

Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) met with Bill Gates on Nov. 7 to discuss climate change and ways to address the challenge. Senator Chris Coons

The U.S. Senate's bipartisan climate caucus started with just two members, a Republican from Indiana and a Democrat from Delaware. Now it's up to eight members after two Democrats, one Independent and three more Republicans joined the caucus last week, as The Hill reported.

Read More Show Less
EPA scientists survey aquatic life in Newport, Oregon. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to significantly limit the use of science in agency rulemaking around public health, the The New York Times reports.

Read More Show Less
A timelapse video shows synthetic material and baby fish collected from a plankton sample from a surface slick taken off Hawaii's coast. Honolulu Star-Advertiser / YouTube screenshot

A team of researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn't intend to study plastic pollution when they towed a tiny mesh net through the waters off Hawaii's West Coast. Instead, they wanted to learn more about the habits of larval fish.

Read More Show Less