RMI issues urgent call for help in wake of climate change

A UN Climate Change conference meeting asked all signatories of the Paris Agreement to reach for a more ambitious goal in addressing climate change.

Marshall Islands President Hilda C. Heine has issued an urgent call for help during the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) Partners Leaders’ Event at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP25)

In the meeting held in Madrid, Spain, Heine, along with the heads of governments from the Climate Vulnerable Forum, called for a decision for all nations to reach for a more ambitious goal in addressing climate change.

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The forum linked the survival of vulnerable nations to all parties to the Paris Agreement, delivering new nationally determined contributions by 2020 to safeguard the 1.5-degree celsius limit to warming, according to information posted by the CVF.

Heine, who chaired the CVF, emphasized the struggles of small island nations as they experience constant flooding on a regular basis, and face the threat of displacement in the future.

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“We all know that waiting another half a decade to do more means we lose 1.5. So my message to other leaders is this — the most vulnerable atoll nations like my country already face death row. Water covers much of our land at one or other point of the year as we fight rising tides,” Heine said.

She added: “As we speak, hundreds of people have already evacuated their homes after large waves caused the ocean to inundate parts of our capital, Majuro last week. It is a fight to the death for anyone not prepared to flee. As a nation, we refused to flee.”

Last week, freak waves crashed over Majuro, Marshall islands, flooding the capital and leaving around 200 residents with no other choice but to flee their homes.

The meeting was chaired virtually by President Heine through video-link from the Marshall Islands. She was temporarily disconnected from the meeting due to a brownout.

According to the CVF, the event highlighted how vulnerable nations were working on mobilizing $20 billion of new funds for adaptation and renewable energy from innovative initiatives as the 48-members of the Forum continue to lead on upgrading the ambition of their NDCs for 2020.