Sep 23, 2018 Last Updated 4:57 AM, Sep 13, 2018

But rise won’t be uniform

The world’s leading panel of climate change specialists warned in a report issued in September that the world’s oceans will rise on average between half a metre and a metre by the end of the century. But the picture painted by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change is hazy because the rise will be unevenly spread across the world: land is rising in some places and sinking in others. In addition, even in a single place, the rise won’t be uniform: for instance, the periodic warming of the Central Pacific known as the El Niño phenomenon can change the level by up to 45cm in a single year, as it did in 1998.

In most years, it’s a 15cm increase—as much as the average sea-level rise in the Pacific for the last 60 years. So far, it’s unclear whether these warming events will become more frequent or not. What is clear is that over time, storm surges will cause more damage. Predicting the effects of sea-level rise in a given place—say the Pacific Ocean—is complicated because the average rise is of no true significance: what matters is how high it will reach during a storm and what damage will it inflict on water tables and buildings.

And that is virtually impossible to predict. In coral atolls that emerge only a few metres above sea-level, the picture is further clouded by widespread perceptions that broken seawalls, flooded homes and disappearing islands are all caused by already-risen seas. In fact, scientific studies have shown that they are usually caused by dredging, building causeways between islands, man-made expansion into swamps or reef flats and other human disturbances. Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean are considered to most threatened by the rising seas.

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US firm crashes in on pacific

A US-based company (International Registries) is making money operating the Marshall Islands shipping registry that is used to promote and conduct drilling operations in the Arctic and other seas of the world.

Lagi Toribau, who heads Greenpeace’s global tuna project, says the actions “will drown the Marshall Islands”

“Climate action starts at home, so if Marshall Islands is serious about stopping climate change, we need to get oil rigs and drill ships out of the Marshall Islands Shipping Registry. Now.”

DeBrum said he has “considerable sympathy for the cause Greenpeace has highlighted”. But, he added, “there is a large element of finger-pointing at the expense of the Marshall Islands when they were in fact leading the world in trying to get the IMO on target (for emissions rules)”.

Toribau said drilling in the Arctic needs special attention for climate action.

“The influential science journal Nature published an article earlier this year that specified and quantified the regions of the world where the oil, gas and coal must stay in the ground if we are to avoid dangerous climate change,” said Toribau.

“The article concludes that ‘all Arctic resources should be classified as unburnable.’ Going for Arctic oil means that we have no chance to keep climate change on levels that won’t drown Marshall Islands.” Greenpeace has asked the Marshall Islands Government to:  Revoke registration of the Transocean Polar Pioneer and Transocean Spitsbergen from the RMI ship registry.

                                    Publicly announce disapproval of Shell, Transocean and Statoil oil drilling plans in the Arctic and reaffirming your global commitment to combating climate change.

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THE Marshall Islands ship registry is big in tonnage and getting bigger. It took over the third place globally several years ago and is poised to overtake Liberia to become the second ranked registry behind only Panama. 

At the end of 2014, the Marshalls had flagged 2580 vessels for over 108 million gross tonnes. More significantly, the Marshalls registry continues to be the fastest growing registry, with last year’s 14 per cent grow rate leading the industry and showing little sign of slowing.

Greece-based Theo K. Xenakoudis, director of Worldwide Business Operations of International Registries, Inc., which manages the registry, said by the end of February, the number of vessels flagged had leaped to 3400 accounting for 118 million gross tonnes.

“Based on sustained growth of the Marshall Islands registry, the new building commitments, and the international coverage of registry personnel from the Far East to the United States, we strongly believe the Marshall Islands will be the second largest flag worldwide within the next two years,” he said.

Throughout its nearly 30-year existence, the Marshall Islands registry has been heavily weighted with fuel tankers, which account for the high tonnage but per vessel number flying Marshall Islands flags.

The Marshall Islands registers nearly a fifth of the world’s oil tankers, and also flags over 180 drill ships or drill platforms, nearly as many as Panama (202) and Liberia (265).

Since inception, a key benefit has stood out for ship owners flagging with the Marshall Islands. Under the terms of the treaty between Majuro and Washington, the US military will defend vessels flying Marshall Islands flags as if they were US-flagged.

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Village relocation blunder

Fiji shares its do, don’t list

A MUCH-publicised plan to relocate a remote village in Fiji to save it from the impacts of climate change has been quietly put on hold.

Islands Business magazine only got wind of this development when newly appointed Director of Climate Change in the Fijian Government Peter Emberson presented a paper at last month’s Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) in Apia, Samoa. His paper was entitled; “Addressing Food Security and Relocation in Fiji – lessons from Narikoso Village.”

“The sense of urgency for Narikoso to move has subsided with the technical findings and now that the more necessary adaptation technologies and livelihood support are being provided to the villagers,” Emberson told the PCCR. “Narikoso villagers will eventually need to move but now they have more time to plan properly and in an informed manner.”

Providing lessons learnt from Fiji’s short history in village relocation brought about by coastal erosion and sea inundation, Emberson recommended that “relocation should be a last resort,” and there ought to be “a strong need for thorough technical assessments and climate change data to ensure that the move is indeed driven by changing climatic conditions”

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by Samisoni Pareti

 

 

Tuvalu cries foul

Canberra, regional bodies accused of diluting regional position on climate change

THE tiny atoll nation of Tuvalu is crying foul over how its position on climate change has been diluted in the proposed successor agreement to the Pacific Islands Framework on Climate Change (PIFACC).

PIFACC is nearing the end of its cycle and for the last 12 months member countries of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) have been negotiating PIFACC’s successor framework. A new name, the Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Development or SRDP, has now been adopted.

Tuvalu’s concerns about what it sees as a changing focus from climate change issues to disaster risk management were expressed emphatically at last month’s biennial Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR), convened by SPREP in Apia, Samoa, for representatives of island government officials, donor agencies and foreign governments and regional organisations.

“It seems like we can’t talk about climate change anymore,” complained Dr Ian Fry, a climate change expert at the Australian National University and leading negotiator for the Tuvalu Government. “This disaster risk reduction strategy seems to be taking over our concerns for climate change.”

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by Samisoni Pareti

Guide to the 49th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting – Nauru 2018

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