Marshall Islands President Pleads in The New York Times: Don’t Let Us Drown

All nations, big or small, need to step up efforts against climate change, says the leader of the Pacific nation.

An aerial view of part of a low-lying atoll in the Marshall Islands.
National Journal
Marina Koren
See more stories about...
Marina Koren
Sept. 26, 2013, 8:53 a.m.

The latest pres­id­ent to pen an op-ed in a ma­jor Amer­ic­an news­pa­per is not call­ing for dip­lomacy in hand­ling mil­it­ary or nuc­le­ar threats, as Pres­id­ents Vladi­mir Putin of Rus­sia and Has­san Rouh­ani of Ir­an have done in the last month. This pres­id­ent is ask­ing the world to work to­geth­er to keep his coun­try from drown­ing.

The threat of cli­mate change is very real in the Mar­shall Is­lands, wrote pres­id­ent Chris­toph­er Loe­ak in The New York Times on Wed­nes­day. The re­pub­lic is a string of more than 1,000 small is­lands south­w­est of Hawaii, with a pop­u­la­tion of 52,555. Some land is what’s known as atolls — nar­row, ring-shaped strips of low-ly­ing land that en­circle la­goons. The en­tire na­tion sits about sev­en feet above sea level.

“We are in­creas­ingly pan­icked by re­cent sci­entif­ic re­ports sug­gest­ing that the world is cur­rently head­ing for a three- to six-foot rise in sea levels by the end of the cen­tury,” Loe­ak said. ‘“If such pre­dic­tions are ac­cur­ate, my coun­try will be lost forever.”

Earli­er this month, the Mar­shall Is­lands, along with 15 oth­er states party to the Pa­cific Is­lands For­um, signed a de­clar­a­tion to com­bat the ef­fects of emis­sions on plan­et­ary warm­ing. For­um mem­bers range from small states like Fiji and Tu­valu to large na­tions like Aus­tralia and New Zea­l­and. The Mar­shall Is­lands aims to cut its green­house-gas emis­sions in half be­fore 2030 and be­come car­bon neut­ral be­fore 2050. “The mes­sage to the big­ger coun­tries is this: If we can do it, so can you,” the pres­id­ent said.

Loe­ak said he re­ceived sup­port from U.S. of­fi­cials on the de­clar­a­tion, but stressed that more needs to be done. “For too long, oth­ers have used Amer­ic­an in­ac­tion as an ex­cuse not to act them­selves. The world needs Amer­ic­an lead­er­ship on cli­mate change. United States sup­port for the Majuro De­clar­a­tion could not be more wel­come, and it is likely to spur ac­tion from oth­ers.”

The pres­id­ent de­clared a “state of dis­aster” for the coun­try’s north­ern atolls after a severe drought left thou­sands without fresh wa­ter. Six weeks later, a rare high tide struck the cap­it­al city of Majuro, flood­ing the air­port, neigh­bor­hoods and “even my own back­yard,” Loe­ak said.

Some have sug­ges­ted the Mar­shallese seek high­er ground, but for them, there’s no such thing. The is­land na­tion’s res­id­ents won’t choose to leave either, said Loe­ak, who is sched­uled to ad­dress the United Na­tions Gen­er­al As­sembly on Thursday af­ter­noon. “If the wa­ter comes, it comes.”

What We're Following See More »
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
1 days ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SECOND PLACE
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
16 hours ago
THE LATEST

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.

Source:
×