Editorial

Editorial: Latest Climate Statistics Is Not Good For Our Small Island States

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability report released on Monday brought an overwhelming sense of uncertainty and to some extent – hopelessness. Even the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres said: “I have seen many scientific reports in my time, but nothing like this.”
04 Mar 2022 12:31
Editorial: Latest Climate Statistics Is Not Good For Our Small Island States

It’s easy to lose hope when the odds are against you.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability report released on Monday brought an overwhelming sense of uncertainty and to some extent – hopelessness.

Even the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres said: “I have seen many scientific reports in my time, but nothing like this.”

 

He called the bigger polluting countries “guilty of arson of our only home.”

It’s well and good that the right words are uttered, those guilty warned and perhaps taken to task.

But for how long? How long will ‘small’ island countries like ours (surrounded by the largest ocean in the world) will continue to bear the burden of big carbon emitters.

 

Highlighted in the report are impacts in both the natural and human systems we continue to experience:
– increase in temperature,

– a large proportion of the most intense tropical cyclones,

– storm surges droughts,

– changing precipitation patterns

– sea-level rise,

– coral bleaching and

– invasive species

 

Add to this is the loss and damage of properties and lives.

Economies have been crippled from both cyclones and sea level rise.

Professor Patrick Nunn, the lead author of the ‘Small Islands’ chapter in the report said: “Almost all island ecosystems have experienced climate-driven impacts.

“All have been restructured, all exhibit a range of shifts.”

 

The-effects-of-climate-change-on-the-coral-reefs-and-Professor-Paddy-Nun,-Professor-of-Geography-at-the-University-of-the-Sunshine-Coast-in-Australia.

The effects of climate change on the coral reefs and Professor Paddy Nun, Professor of Geography at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.

He said understanding and adaptation was needed.

Professor Nunn is a Professor of Geography at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.

He also taught at the University of the South Pacific for over 24 years.

 

Water security, fisheries, well-being and impacts on inhabited coasts are the greatest areas of concern.

While each country has different capacities and opportunities for climate resilient development, Professor Nunn believes that Pacific Island countries should become more autonomous in adaptation.

Already, three key barriers were identified in the report – governance arrangements, financial resources, and human resource capacity.

 

In addition, institutional and legal systems are often inadequately prepared.

A case in point is the Tukuraki relocation project where the landowners of the new site demanded that villagers not plant on their land – but return to their old village plantations, about 3 hours walk away.

The unavailability of date baseline data was another drawback.

 

But to inject us with some hope, the report outlined that there are several enablers to improve adaptation outcomes and to build resilience.

Among the list are increased finance, education and awareness, increased access to climate information and improving justice.

Embedding indigenous knowledge and local knowledge as well as integrating cultural resources into decision making were also identified as key enablers.

 

But time is running out.

The world needs to cut emissions by 45 per cent in eight years’ time (2030).

No action now can only mean one thing – catastrophe.

 

 

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj



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