On Monday, Sept. 27, the United Nations released a new 2,000-page report on climate change. The verdict, is that it’s “extremely likely” that human activity (read: industrialization) is causing our planet’s climate to change in ways that will be destructive to life everywhere around the world.
“Our assessment of the science finds that the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, the global mean sea level has risen and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased,” said Qin Dahe, the co-chair of the working group that wrote the report, according to a Sept. 27 CBS News online story.
Given that islands like Hawaii have felt the effects of climate change in a more dramatic way–especially given sea level rise–it’s not at all surprising that our state is now officially the first sub-national government to sign, along with many island nations around the Pacific, the Majuro Declaration For Climate Change Leadership.
“The State of Hawaii stands with other islands around the world in recognizing the urgent threat of climate change to our sustainability,” Governor Neil Abercrombie said in a press release from his office sent out today. “We have signed onto the Majuro Declaration to share our ambitious commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through innovative energy transformation. We also understand the need to prepare for climate change adaptation through an integrated approach to building a green, resilient economy.”
Asking for those types of emission controls–which are not popular around the world, especially with developing nations and the big multi-national corporations that make billions of dollars off petroleum–isn’t easy. Having Hawaii, part of the U.S., sign onto the Majuro Declaration brings it a lot more publicity than it would have garnered otherwise.
“We very much welcome the commitment of the State of Hawaii to be a Climate Leader by signing our Majuro Declaration,” Marshall Islands Minister Tony de Brum said in today’s press release. “Hawaii is the first sub-national government to come on board, and will help create the upward spiral of ambition the world so desperately needs. As an island state with ambitious green targets, Hawaii knows the threat posed by climate change. It is time now for all of us to turn our words into action, and to ensure others follow quickly in our footsteps.”
Photo of the effects of sea level rise on Papua New Guinea: Professor Richard Moyle/Wikimedia Commons