Marshall Islands, Climate Change and Covid
The Marshall Islands has a population of 59,000 and an area of 181 km2. 97% of its territory is in water. It is one of the lowest lying countries in the world. Most of its land territory is just not more than two meters above the sea level.
The Marshallese have long been fighting for climate justice. In 2018 the island country became the first country submitting an enhanced nationally determined contribution (NDC) based on the original version submitted in 2015 under the Paris Agreement. The revised NDC sets an even more ambitious target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The country now targets to reduce emissions at least 58% below 2010 levels by 2035. It also aspires to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
One interesting fact about the Marshall Islands is that while countries in the globe suffer from the devastating Covid-19, the atoll country has recorded only four cases up to Nov 25, 2020. Its small population undoubtedly is a reason. However, by multiplication, 67 cases per one million population is still an incredible number. Its relatively low population density may also explain a bit. However, an article written by the country’s Foreign Minister and Environment Minister back in June gives one more reason. The ministers said the islanders’ long-time frontline battle with climate change has taught them a lesson: bold and early action provides the best chance of survival when facing gigantic threats.
The ministers remain hopeful countries would come up with better reduction plans in the post-Covid world. We will see if countries would take nature more seriously in November next year on the postponed United Nations’ climate conference COP26
COP26 was scheduled to be held in November this year in Glasgow. Due to the pandemic, it is postponed to November 2021. However, young climate activists have been running Mock COP during November 19 to December 1. The event aims to fill the void of the postponed COP26 with a big, inclusive online Mock COP.