Pacific Islanders Fear for Future Amidst Trump’s Climate Rhetoric

by Aurora Brachman

The future of Pacific Island nations requires the United States solidarity on climate change action to protect people in vulnerable developing nations from the environmental destruction they imminently face. As a result of rising sea levels and changing weather patterns, a consequence of global warming, Pacific Islands have begun to experience significant costal erosion and increasingly severe natural disasters that threaten the continued existence of these small island nations. Unfortunately, United States president Donald Trump has endorsed skepticism about human contributions to climate change and his climate policy as of January is consistent with these views. In Trump’s 100-day action plan, which he issued during his campaign, he claims intentions to cancel billions of dollars in funds to the United Nation’s climate change programs, which assist people in developing countries. He has also vowed to approve trillions of dollars’ worth of energy projects involving shale, coal, natural gas and oil, all industries that perpetuate climate change and whose continued use pose a threat to the future of these island nations. Recently, many Pacific Island nations were the recipients of the United Nations Green Climate Fund (GCF), the largest climate fund that is committed to aiding developing countries in coping with climate change. The United States is the largest benefactor to the GCF, contributing 3.5 billion dollars to date; this could severely suffer under Trump’s administration. One of the most vulnerable Pacific Islands, the small atoll nation of Tuvalu, expressed deep concern and dismay at Trump’s rhetoric. Tafue Lusama, The General Secretary of the Tuvalu Christian Church and a vocal global advocate for climate action recently stated, “It is sad for us who rely on the United States to do the right thing and to hear the President embarking on the opposite path, which is ensuring our destruction,”. In the coming months and years, we will see what climate policies President Trump has in store. If his policies continue to halt and erode action against climate change and endorse further reliance on fossil fuels, the fate of these Pacific Islands may be sealed.

 

Wilson, Catherina. “Pacific Islanders Call for U.S. Solidarity on Climate Change.” Pacific Islanders Call for U.S. Solidarity on Climate Change | Inter Press Service. Inter Press Service News Agency , 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.

(http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/01/pacific-islanders-call-for-u-s-solidarity-on-climate-change/)

“Low-lying Micronesia Hopes Trump Reconsiders His Stance on Climate Change.” VOA. Radio New Zeland, 18 Jan. 2017. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.

(http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/322635/renewed-pleas-for-trump-to-change-climate-change-stance)

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