Event topics

[Circular Economy]Pacific island nations: On the frontlines of climate change
Kind: Event topics  Organization: Department of International Cooperation  Publish Date: 2020-10-27 15:10
Fiji is among the countries most severely affected by climate change. Since 1993, the sea level has risen by an average of 6 millimeters per year. If no measures are taken, it is estimated that the sea level will rise by a total of 1.4 meters by the end of this century. And even if the Paris climate change agreement is fully implemented, the increase will still reach 65 centimeters. Unprecedented in history, Fiji served as the chair of the Global Climate Summit in 2017, and the issue of global climate change has once again received attention.

As the global climate warms, sea levels continue to rise, and many low-lying countries face the possibility of being partially or even completely submerged. Most of these countries are coral atoll island nations, whose land territory is on average just 5 meters above sea level. Rising sea levels will have serious consequences for these nations, including coastal erosion, the disappearance of mangroves as coastal barriers, submersion of coastal arable land, and pollution of groundwater by seawater infiltration.

Pacific Islanders live in the places with the least carbon emissions on the planet, but they have to bear the most severe impact of climate change. Former Kiribati President Anote Tong once said: "Powerful countries argue that greenhouses gas emission reduction will impact their economies and create poverty. However, for small island countries, we are not talking about improving economic well-being, but it is a matter of life and death for the people of the country."

Pacific island nations have been mobilizing for climate change issues since the late 1980s and established the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the premier political and economic international organization in the Pacific region, which clearly listed "economic growth, sustainable development, good governance, and security" as priority issues. For the purpose of joint cooperation, Australia, New Zealand, France, the United States and other countries established the "Pacific Environment Program Secretariat" to jointly protect food security, water resources and coral reefs.

The Pacific Islands Forum held in Tuvalu in August 2019 focused on climate change issues. Australia has pledged to provide A$500 million (US$ 354 million) to assist Pacific countries in the development of renewable energy. As a "development partner" of the forum, Taiwan has long assisted forum member Nauru with installing solar photovoltaic systems in government buildings, hospitals and universities to lower dependence on imported fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nauru President Lionel Aingimea came to Taiwan in December 2019 and visited the Ministry of Economic Affairs to express his appreciation for Taiwan’s assistance and the close friendship between the two countries.

Scientists around the globe are utilizing 5G, big data and artificial intelligence technology to predict and analyze climate change, improve the environment, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They hope to work together to achieve a clean "green plan" for residents of Pacific island and atoll countries to ensure the survival of their lands and avoid them becoming just a memory.

Update: 2020-04-17
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