Small island countries around the world probably face the gravest threat from global warming and climate change. Some of these countries are also among the economically weakest in the world. With little to no diplomatic authority in the world order, these countries regularly seek support from their much advanced neighbors – Australia and New Zealand in the case of Pacific Island countries, and India in the case of Indian Ocean Island countries.
But the advanced economies have their own agendas, leaving these island countries practically alone to fight and adapt to the rising sea levels and depleting resources.
However, over the past few years, these island nations have been pushing their agenda at international summits with increasing thrust. Quite appropriately, these countries have taken matters into their own hands, realizing that depending on the more advanced economies may not be the best approach. A number of these countries have taken steps to mitigate the impact of climate change.
Tokelau, a small group of Pacific atolls situated off the coast of New Zealand, is all set to become the world’s first truly renewable nation. The island houses 1,400 people who are currently dependent on diesel fuel generators burning 200 liters of diesel daily. However, residents hope to depend on solar energy by October this year.
The funding for the project will be provided by outside companies, along with $7 million advance from the New Zealand government.
Other countries are also taking steps to ensure they are not completely reliant on other countries. Maldives is said to be considering a tax on tourism to raise funds for adaptation and mitigation plans.
The group of small island nations has always called upon the developed and the advanced developing countries to do more on the climate change front by setting up more ambitious emission reduction targets. Recently, Micronesia proposed several strategies to counter climate change. These strategies include significant reduction in production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are several times more potent that carbon dioxide.
According to a report recently released by Oxford University Centre for the Environment, all the Caribbean Islands face tremendous economic losses due to increasing sea levels. Islands in the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and off the coast of Africa also face similar fate if no immediate measures are implemented. But these island nations can no longer afford to wait for rest of the world to solve their diplomatic stalemates and agree upon a suitable solution.
Image: Edvac / Wikimedia Commons
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