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 »
Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.