Thursday, April 26, 2018

Islands are pushing forward with efforts to preserve their natural wealth and protect their people from disasters

Islands comb own shores for solutions to environmental pressures

CALVIA, Spain, April 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Island governments around the world are no longer begging for help to tackle the many problems they face - from too many tourists to devastating storms and rising seas - but are finding their own solutions and sharing them, experts say.

There has been a "huge shift" in the past 10 to 15 years, said Kate Brown, executive director of the Global Island Partnership, an alliance spearheaded by island leaders.

Islands no longer present themselves merely as victims of external pressures, but are blazing a trail in areas such as marine conservation, renewable energy and sustainable tourism.

"There is a real difference in thinking - that it is possible to do something and we don't need to wait for other people to tell us what to do," Brown told the Smart Island World Congress in Calvia on the Spanish island of Mallorca this week.

Islands have had successes at international climate talks, she noted - from winning a lower limit on global temperature rise in the Paris climate deal to convincing the world's shipping industry to curb its planet-warming emissions.

Progress is being made on home shores too, Brown said. Her organisation is working with the Marshall Islands, Palau and Fiji, for instance, to see how global development goals apply to them and uniting business and government to map out an action plan - as has been done in Hawaii.

The conference, attended by representatives of more than 100 islands alongside researchers, businesses and other experts, showcased efforts to preserve the natural wealth of islands and protect them better from worsening extreme weather, plastic pollution, uncontrolled tourism and other stresses.
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St George's [Granada] earmarked to become region's first climate resilient city

The Town of St George is earmarked to become the first climate resilient city in the region. The government announced it received approval for another project from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to undertake major infrastructural work.

The GCF team agreed to support Grenada’s request for additional funding for the following actions during 2018:

To build national capacity with an annual disbursement of US$1 million through direct access to the GCF.
A key component of this support is the setting up of a Climate Change Training Centre in Grenada in collaboration with local, regional and international institutions to provide certified training in climate change at the technical, vocational as well as professional levels. The training will target persons in the public and private sectors, as well as communities and civil society actors.



Monday, April 23, 2018

Plastic Bag Taxes and Bans Are Working

Paper or plastic? You've probably heard the question approximately 2.589 billion times. But depending on where you live, that question might have changed in recent years to something like, "Do you want to buy a bag, or did you bring your own?" Now, it doesn't really seem like asking for a measly 5-to-7 cents for a bag could make too big of an impact on the planet — but as it turns out, it does.


Commonwealth leaders express 'grave concern' about climate change impacts

Climate change risks are pushing millions of people worldwide into poverty, heads of government from the 53-strong Commonwealth warned on Friday evening.

Leaders from the loose coalition issued a statement affirming their commitment to the Paris Agreement at the conclusion of a week-long meeting in London.

With more than half of members coming from small islands and the world’s poorest countries, the summit highlighted their vulnerability to climate-driven disasters and cemented ties with developed countries UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“Heads expressed grave concern that without urgent action to mitigate climate change, reduce vulnerability and increase resilience, the impacts of climate change could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030,” the statement said.

“Heads recognised that temperature and sea level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change are a significant reality and risk to many of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable member countries.”

They called for “innovative financing solutions” and consensus on ways to direct aid to those who need it most.

Another section recognised “the imperative to transition to clean forms of energy”, encouraging members to back the International Solar Alliance and similar initiatives.

Tuvalu prime minister Enele Sopoaga welcomed the “re-focused purpose” on common challenges such as “the existential threat of climate change to the security and survival of peoples of small island developing states”.

“We must save Tuvalu to save the world,” he said.