SOLOMON Islands is experiencing devastating loss and damage from climate change, we are already experiencing strengthening storms, rising sea levels, new pest and disease outbreaks, severe and prolonged water shortages and loss of whole ecosystems like coral reefs. These impacts affect our businesses, our traditional economy, and our wellbeing. These impacts also limit our fundamental human rights, the right to shelter, the right to food and water, the right to land.
The people of Solomon Islands have had enough of the empty promises of rich developed nations and their unfulfilled commitments to mitigate, or reduce, their climate-destroying emissions from using fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas.
Even though Solomon Islands is responsible for around 0.11% of world emissions, we are still showing our leadership and our ambition by promising further reductions. We are supporting projects to shift electricity generation away from diesel power plants to renewable energy sources such as solar, hydroelectricity and wind. But that is not enough. We also release climate-changing gasses from forestry, transport, agriculture and waste.
Solomon Islands ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994. Under article 12 of the Convention, all parties are required to prepare and submit their commitments as well as Greenhouse Gas inventories. The National Climate Change Policy notes these requirements and proposed a number of climate change mitigation actions and policies.
The prices of forms of renewable energy like solar, wind, and hydro are rapidly decreasing, and in some cases can be scaled down for communities and households. Solar lighting is cheaper than using generators or grid electricity supply and is safer (in reducing the risk of fire) than kerosene.
In order to go even further, the Solomon Islands Climate Action Network is calling on both Honiara City Council and the Solomon Islands Government to formally declare a Climate Emergency, and make even more ambitious mitigation targets. Today, Friday 20 September, people in Honiara will participate in a Strike for the #ClimateEmergency campaign where every person, from rural farmers to urban government officials will be asked to take a stand for Climate Justice.
What is a Climate Emergency?
According to Webster’s Dictionary, an emergency is “a sudden, generally unexpected occurrence or set of circumstances demanding immediate action.”
While the significant impacts of climate change are not a surprise, many countries have been actively ignoring and suppressing the warning signs for decades now leading to unexpected realities. Climate change sometimes looks like a sudden event, but our countries and companies have been sitting idle for decades as the global climate situation worsens.
As long as we fail to treat what causes climate change, as long as we hopefully believe that current capitalist systems will willingly transform into ones that will restore ecological, social, political and economic balance to the planet, we are doomed to receive from them only window dressing. We may see change, but it will happen so gradually that Solomon Islands will lose its identity and livelihood in the meantime.
Scientists tell us that in order to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the world needs to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030.
Unsurprisingly, current commitments by countries – through their Nationally Determined Contributions – fall far short of this target, so we can reasonably anticipate warming in the range of 2.7 to 3.7 degrees Celcius. The longer countries wait to bring their commitments into line with the Paris goals, the more difficult it will be and the steeper the rate at which emissions will need to decline.
The ‘unmistakable message’ being sent by young people around the world is that we are facing a ‘climate emergency.’
Today, Solomon Islands civil society are aligning with the Global Strike for Climate movement, where millions of youth have been striking on Fridays for more climate action. SICAN asks everyone to think about and show how they are taking real action to mitigate and reduce greenhouse gas emission in their everyday.