NEWS: Marshall Islands calls for tomorrow’s Climate Summit to “launch a new wave of climate leadership”
22 September 2014 – On the eve of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Christopher J. Loeak, has lead a chorus of Pacific leaders in calling for tomorrow’s Summit to “launch a new wave of climate leadership”.
“Tomorrow is our chance to be the leaders we were elected to be” declared the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Christopher J. Loeak, reiterating the central message of his recent video address to the world. “This Summit must be more than simply re-announcing old targets and recycling old money. It needs to be about putting us on a pathway to decarbonise the world economy.”
During two major public events today focused on island climate leadership, some of the world’s most vulnerable countries confirmed their resolve to lead with action.
At the NYC Bar Association, Pacific Leaders spoke at a public ‘town-hall-style’ event to engage directly with the huge crowds from yesterday’s Climate March. This included the Presidents of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Republic of Nauru, as well as the Prime Ministers of Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands.
During his opening remarks President Loeak said: “Like Barack Obama, I am an island boy turned President. Like him, I understand the vulnerability of life out in the middle of the Pacific and the need to tackle climate change head on.”
Later in the day, the Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum joined Ministers from the Seychelles and Barbados and the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Envoy Mary Robinson at an event to demonstrate the huge benefits of making the switch to renewable energy. IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin said the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative to be launched at tomorrow’s Summit would accelerate these efforts by bringing new financial tools and sources of support.
During the event, Minister de Brum announced that the Marshall Islands Government had recently agreed to accelerate plans to deploy an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant off the coast of Kwajalein Atoll.
“We are not simply talking about building another power plant, we are talking about revolutionising the way we produce power and therefore reduce emissions” he said.
Yesterday Foreign Minister de Brum joined Mary Robinson as well as the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, and the EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, plus 310,000 other people for the Climate March. He said he did so “on behalf of my three children, nine grandchildren, four great grandchildren and country.”
On the sidelines of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit tomorrow, the Presidents of the Republic of the Marshall Islands will hold a joint press conference with the President of Kiribati and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu at 1.00pm in the UN Press Briefing Room.