FSM President David Panuelo spoke at the Nobel Prize Summit about the existential threat that climate change poses to small island developing nations.
The Nobel Prize Summit held the “Our Planet, Our Future” virtual event from April 26 to 28.
Speaking as the leader of a small island nation, Panuelo said it is clear that climate change is arguably a bigger global challenge than any world war, but that “we can make peace with nature if we take actions today.”
With Pohnpei as a backdrop to his speech, Panuelo said while the world is seeing paradise, it is threatened because the great bulk of FSM’s land area consists of highly vulnerable low atolls and that under current conditions, the FSM faces primary extreme events from droughts, typhoons, floods, landslides, and eroding shorelines to king tides.
“The Global Climate Risk Index assesses the FSM as the third most at-risk country amongst Pacific Island countries. Impacts of climate change are already being seen today. In some islands, that means increased rainfall; in others, it means very little rain at all. As the seas rise, protective coral reefs are overwhelmed, and storms become stronger. If we are 607 islands today, untold numbers will disappear by the end of the century unless climate change can be overcome by the nations that caused it. This reality is very profound and frightening,” Panuelo said.
He added that for the FSM, climate change is the single greatest security threat.
“Part of the answer to this threat is that the world must transition to sustainable and renewable energy. Fossil fuels are not only unsustainable–they are the enemy of our climate. If the world is to fulfill its commitments under the Paris Agreement, and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, nations must make a unified and global effort,” Panuelo said.