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Climate change a harsh reality for the Marshall Islands


Climate change a harsh reality for the Marshall Islands

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has published a report on climate change and the impact it has on remote low lying Pacific Island communities.

The Marshall Islands is made up of 29 low lying coral atolls.

Recurring tides and ocean swells make the northern Pacific islands vulnerable to erosion.

Tony De Brum is Assistance Minister to the President of the Republic: “If the world continues the way it is, continues with the behaviour that they have become accustomed to and continues to pollute, we are not talking about a situation that is going to happen a 100 years from now. We are talking about something that is happening now.”

In the capital Majuro roads are regularly flooded with tides clearing the sea wall. The erosion continues apace endangering the islands physical survival and its economy.

Tony de Brum has an alarming message for the global community: “We are the canaries that die in the mine to tell the miners, “get out, you’re going to die too”. If the damage is such that we have to evacuate these islands, then it’s already too late for the world to save itself.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change met recently in Yokohama, Japan to finalise the second part of their report. The group is unanimous in declaring climate change as one of the defining challenges of the 21st century.

Dr Chris Field is co-chair of the IPCC working group: “One of the things we know from lots and lots of experience is that even a modest amount of sea level when coupled with one of these extremes – a king tide or a storm surge – can really create massive damage and has the potential to make some of these island areas uninhabitable.”

The Marshall Islands are attempting to help themselves and lead others by moving away from fossil fuels in the hope that major players will follow suit.

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