Saturday, March 5, 2011

Climate change and the lost islands

The U.N. says it is vowing to help Pacific island states affected by climate change.  Its options are not good.

The U.N. can't help these islands unless Washington comes to terms with climate change. But the U.S. seems to be in complete denial about it. The newly elected House Republicans want to cut climate science funding and strip the EPA of much of its regulatory power. It’s just amazing, really, how self-destructive we've become on this issue. 

This issue is entirely political unless you live in the Federated States of Micronesia, with many vulnerable sea level population areas.

Climate change is a real, real issue in the FSM.

In 2009, H.E. Emanuel Mori, the president of FSM, gave a speech at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. He said:
We are not certain if our biggest threat is from ocean acidification that will erode our islands from underneath, OR from sea-level rise that could submerge our islands under the sea, OR from changes in weather and typhoon intensity that could make inhabiting our islands impossible. But we know that our continued peaceful existence is totally at risk. We know that the enemy that gives rise to these threats is climate change. And we know that to survive, we must act now.
The only way to protect FSM and other Pacific islands is through adoption of climate mitigation and reduce the causes of global warming, namely Co2 levels due to emissions from fossil fuels. Adaptation may be an impossibility in low level Pacific islands. 

That means the future of the Pacific islands is dependent on the U.S. response, as well as that of other industrialized nations, to climate change. But that won't happen as long as the political process in Washington stays in denial and gridlock on this issue. U.S. leadership seems committed to accomplishing as little as possible for as long as possible. 

Here’s what H.E. Alik L. Alik, the vice president of FSM, said at a U.N. meeting in September about “Millennium Development Goals” (MDGs) and climate change:
We cannot meaningfully talk about the MDGs unless the international community addresses the real danger that Micronesia and other Small Island Developing States will disappear because of the adverse impacts of climate change. In short, Mr. President, we are the least responsible but most vulnerable.

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