Vanuatu Announces World’s Strongest Pollution Reduction Goals

An aerial view of the coastline in Port Vila, Vanuatu, threatened by sea level rise
An aerial view of the coastline in Port Vila, Vanuatu on Dec. 7, 2019. Mario Tama / Getty Images
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Vanuatu — an island nation that’s barely culpable for, yet extremely vulnerable to, climate change — has announced the world’s strongest pollution reduction targets.

Already carbon-negative, Vanuatu pledged to produce 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030 while also reducing fossil fuel consumption to near zero. It also called for the creation of a UN financial facility to provide affordable financing for affected communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The location of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. ILO Asia-Pacific

Vanuatu estimates it will need $1.2 billion to meet its new targets by 2030 — about one-third of the funding allocated in the Inflation Reduction Act for carbon capture tax credits. Wealthy nations responsible for most historic climate pollution have resisted calls to compensate countries for losses and damages they have suffered due to climate change and this issue will likely be prominent at COP27 in Egypt this November.

As reported by The Guardian:

At last year’s UN climate summit in Glasgow, all countries were urged to “revisit and strengthen” their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) on climate action by the end of 2022. Vanuatu is one of just 12 countries to have done so, and its ambitious targets have been praised by regional experts.

“They are really setting an example for the rest of the world,” said Tagaloa Cooper-Halo, the director of the climate change resilience program at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

“Vanuatu is leading by example in many ways, despite having negligible emissions. They are taking the lead by putting up their plan. This was a monumental effort by their government and all the stakeholders because it takes a lot of work and coordination to arrive at that announcement.”

For a deeper dive:

Thomson Reuters Foundation, The Guardian

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