Pacific Marshall Islands under threat of climate catastrophe
The Marshall Islands has sought support to ward-off a future Pacific “climate catastrophe” that, it says, will expunge it from the map without critical action on global warming.
The government of the Marshall Island has called for decisive action on climate change and has insisted US Secretary of State John Kerry to attend the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum to be hosted by Australia in September 2013 where a major climate declaration is likely to be made.
Marshall Island seeks to present Majuro Declaration to the United Nations General Assembly to help renew global efforts on emissions reduction as the Pacific region battles rising seas and growing numbers of so-called climate refugees.
The tiny Pacific atoll of 55,000 people, which is located at an average of just two metres above sea level, was already feeling the heat of global warming with an unprecedented seven-month drought in the north and a devastating king tide earlier this year triggering disaster declarations.
The Marshalls government was already ferrying food and drinking water to 13 outer island communities due to drought-linked shortages that were threatening the export of copra, the dried-out flesh of coconuts from which oil is extracted, which underpinned its economy.
The island is also facing immigration as climate refugees from neighbouring Kiribati and Tuvalu are taking refuge in the island. The government fears a two-metre sea level rise predicted by the World Bank before the end of the century.
Where are the Marshall Islands?
The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is an island country located in the northern Pacific Ocean. Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia, with the population of 68,480 people spread out over 34 low-lying coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. The islands share maritime boundaries with the Federated States of Micronesia to the west, Wake Island to the north, Kiribati to the south-east, and Nauru to the south. The most populous atoll is Majuro, which also acts as the capital.