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Articles: Marshall Islands' Wants to Set Pace in Climate Change Declarations

Contributed by YokweOnline on Nov 17, 2010 - 07:50 PM

Marshall Islands' Wants to Set Pace in Climate Change Declarations

  • The Little Nation That Could Lead by Example -- if It Doesn't Drown First - Marshall Islands' national energy policy that makes solar a priority, and is vying to install solar panels in every household.
  • Mobilising Climate Change Funding in the Pacific Islands Region - SPREP has issued a draft report on the future of funding for climate change in the Pacific region.
  • Marshall Islands Seeks Funds for Seawall - $20 million in international donor funding to launch construction of three miles of seawalls.
  • KBR tasked with Pacific climate probe - giving East Timor, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Palau and Solomon Islands tools to better identify, manage and mitigate possible environmental threats
  • Tarawa Climate Change Conference (TCCC): Ambo Declaration - Call on developed country Parties to give priority support to capacity building and technology transfer”.

  • NATION: Last year, the Marshall Islands promised to cut its emissions 40 percent in the next decade. That's 40 percent of almost nothing -- the country, according to U.N. statistics, emits 99 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, compared to China's 6.5 billion and America's 5.8 billion. It has a national energy policy that makes solar a priority, and is vying to install solar panels in every household.As countries get ready to meet in Cancun, Mexico, this month for another U.N. climate change conference, and with the major emitters still sparring over positions, Marshall Islands Foreign Minister John Silk said his nation's message is unambiguous: If the Marshall Islands can do it, America and China can, too."We're not a big emitter, but what we would like to show the rest of the world is that we are committed to doing something about climate change. We're trying to show the rest of the world that a small island can do this," Silk told ClimateWire in a telephone interview while in New York for meetings.

    FUNDING: At the Pacific Islands Climate Change Roundtable (PICCR) meeting, held on 19-21 October 2009 in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands, participants considered a number of critical issues regarding climate change in the region. One of the recommendations called for a study to consider the feasibility of establishing a Pacific Regional Climate Change Fund or funding modality (hereafter referred to as a Pacific Regional Climate Change Fund), including assessing the need for a technical backstopping and facilitation mechanism. As part of the SPREP tendering process, Carbon Market Solutions was commissioned by SPREP to review the feasibility of establishing a Pacific Regional Climate Change Fund through identifying a number of structural options. This study examines whether the establishment of a regional fund would be a cost effective and efficient approach for Pacific Island countries to address adaptation to climate changes in the Pacific region.It appears that new and additional climate change financing is likely to become available through a number of avenues. The Copenhagen Accord details perhaps the most prolific new funding on the horizon. The collective commitment by developed countries is to provide new and additional resources, including forestry and investments through international institutions, approaching US$30 billion for the period 2010 - 2012 with balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation. This finance is to be delivered through a ‘fast start’ finance package. Although the commitments of the Accord are clear, their delivery is uncertain.

    SEA WALL: From his U.N. office, Muller has been pushing access to billions of dollars in promised climate change aid for vulnerable countries. But, he said, not much of this pledged money has flowed to countries like his that need it. "We have only a short window of opportunity for accessing these funds," he said Friday. "The money pledged is only for two-to-three years. We need to move fast." During his visit in Majuro with other Marshall Islands ambassadors from the United States, Asia and the Pacific, Muller told government leaders that the response needed from them to tap into international aid for climate change mitigation is "too slow."

    STUDY: Australian-based Infrastructure and Minerals (I&M) business unit has been selected by the Asian Development Bank to execute a climate change adaptation study. KBR will work to identify the risks of potential climate change to five Pacific island nations, enabling the countries to better plan for and respond to related climatic risks.KBR's Australia-based project team will work with the governments of East Timor, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Palau and Solomon Islands. The goal of KBR's work is to provide tools that enable better identification and mitigation of possible environmental threats. KBR will study the countries' existing and planned infrastructures, examine how they might be affected by climatic events such as a rise in sea levels, and recommend how they might best be protected from such events.

    CONFERENCE: The 18 points of the Ambo Declaration recorded the signatories ’ concerns on the urgency of the climate crisis calling for immediate access to adaptation funds to meet and address current and projected impacts of climate change. In a press conference at the end of the day, Kiribati leader and Chair of the Tarawa Climate Change Conference—President Anote Tong, told reporters that the Ambo Declaration will contribute hopefully to some positive steps forward in the Cancun negotiations which is just weeks away.The Ambo Declaration was adopted by 12 countries namely Australia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Fiji, Japan, Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Tonga.

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