Despite the new uncertainty now facing the historic Paris climate agreement, a group of the world’s poorest nations are forging ahead in their commitment to limit the devastating effects of climate change. Members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which includes the most disadvantaged countries on the planet, have pledged to generate all their future energy needs through renewable sources alone by 2050.
The 47 nations – including those such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Costa Rica – have been praised for their “inspirational” commitment, particularly at a time when the recent climate talks were overshadowed by President-elect Donald Drumpf’s victory in the race for the White House. It is hoped that the vow will show how even those countries with the least amount of resources are willing to dramatically cut their emissions and become 100 percent renewable as rapidly as possible.
The countries are all members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which was originally created in 2009 and includes those states that are most at risk from climate change. The nations that are most under threat (for example from sea level rise or food insecurity) also tend to be the poorest, as climate change is expected to disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged places.
“We are pioneering the transformation towards 100% renewable energy, but we want other countries to follow in our footsteps in order to evade catastrophic impacts we are experiencing through hurricanes, flooding and droughts,” said Mattlan Zackhras, the minister in assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands. The Marshall Islands sit an average of 2 meters (6.6 feet) above sea level, and are already feeling the effects of climate change as the rising sea now regularly swamps the low-lying island.
While it has been agreed to keep the average global temperature below 2°C (3.6°F), it is unlikely that the islands will still be here if we do hit that mark. For this reason, among others, the Climate Vulnerable Forum has not only pledged to phase in 100 percent renewables between 2030 and 2050, but also to try and keep warming to within 1.5°C (2.7°F). This would hopefully give these most vulnerable states at least a modicum of chance to survive the onslaught that climate change is predicted to bring.