While the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will come as no surprise to the citizens of Small Island Developing States who have been living with increasingly severe impacts of climate change for years, it does underscore the need for urgent action from the international community to keep them from spinning beyond control.
Many of the impacts highlighted in the summary of the latest climate science, such as intensifying storms and droughts, sea level rise, and ocean acidification, are of particular concern to SIDS. Just in the past year, our members across the world have witnessed record tides, typhoons, water shortages, coral bleaching, and other impacts.
The situation is bad, and getting worse, but the analysis also makes it clear that urgent action can allow islands to adapt to impacts that are now impossible to avoid and avert impacts the ones that become impossible to adapt to.
We know that rapidly lowering emissions is well within reach — renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other existing technologies and policies have been proven to deliver big cuts in the short term, not to mention sustainable development benefits — the hard part is ensuring that we deploy them as quickly and as widely as possible.
That’s why we have engaged fully in a new line of discussions (under Workstream 2) at the UN climate talks where countries identify their specific obstacles to implementation, as well as ways to overcome them in the short time we have remaining to act.