In the prelude to the upcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change this winter in Paris, advocates and stakeholder nations – many of them in real danger from rising seas stemming from climate change – are ramping up their campaigns to be heard, and for unified and binding international action to be taken to protect the environment. Kemplon Engineering takes a look at some of the recent news and developments in the international battle to combat climate change.
During his much-publicized visit to the United States this September, Pope Francis spoke before the United Nations on various issues, including care for the environment – a topic he has consistently expressed concern for, as in June of this year upon the release of his encyclical Laudato Si, which tackled pollution and climate change. At the UN, he called for concrete and immediate steps to preserve the environment, given the magnitude of the current situation and its toll on human lives. “Any harm done to the environment … is harm done to humanity,” he reportedly said.
In a separate gathering at the United Nations this October, representatives from Island States had their turn at the General Assembly podium to speak about their environmental plight. President Peter Christian of Micronesia spoke not just about the threat of rising sea levels, but also the more immediate effects of climate change, like extreme weather that destroys shorelines. He expressed hope for unified action during the upcoming Paris conference, which should ideally settle agreements on emissions and prevent what could very well be the “potential genocide” of Oceanic peoples and their cultures.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare of the Solomon Islands spoke too on the economic and existential dangers on his country, as did Prime Minister Gaston Browne of the Caribbean State of Antigua and Barbuda, who discussed how less developed countries ultimately pay the price for the industrial nations’ emissions of greenhouse gases. Bahamas Foreign Minister Frederick A. Mitchell called for action too, especially for the upcoming Paris conference to be productive in finding solutions and agreements, as did Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato, who addressed his call to the UN Security Council.
Climate Change is a pressing issue for the maritime community. The maritime industry can impact it through emissions, but it too, can directly affect the industry in turn, through extreme weather events that can have consequences for seamen, shipping routes and assets like ships, cargo and ports, and also through maritime security and search operations needed when environmental refugees fleeing hardship in their countries take to perilous seas towards the more promising shores of Europe and America. Any unified and binding international rules relating to emissions may also have an impact on industry operations.
This is a battle we are all fighting in some way, whether one is among the vulnerable countries or living in coastal areas, or part of the maritime industry, or simply as a concerned human being; we only have one planet, after all, and one ecological inheritance to leave for the future.
We at Kemplon Engineering hope that proactive agreements and unified initiatives may come from these international affairs, so that we may all yield the positive benefits of a more sustainable future. For more articles covering the marine environment and other topics relating to the maritime industry, explore our blog. We keep it fresh with industry-related news and developments of the day, and hope you enjoy perusing it.
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Dokoupil, Tony. “UN official: Climate change should not be about politics.” MSNBC.com, 01 Oct 2015. Web. 10 Oct 2015. http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/un-official-climate-change-should-not-be-about-politics
Green, Emma. “The Pope Pleads to the UN: The Planet Is Ours to Save.” The Atlantic, 25 Sep 2015. Web. 10 Oct 2015. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/pope-francis-united-nations/407347/
“Island States threatened by rising seas call at UN for urgent action on climate change.” UN News Centre, 01 Oct 2015. Web. 10 Oct 2015. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=52118#.VhisGGeSw_h
“Pacific and Caribbean Island States Urge Action Against Rising Seas.” World Maritime News, 02 Oct 2015. Web. 10 Oct 2015. https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/173010/pacific-and-caribbean-island-states-urge-action-against-rising-seas/
Pandey, Avaneesh. “Climate Change: Vulnerable Nations Launch ‘V20’ Bloc To Address Global Warming Risks.” International Business Times, 09 Oct 2015. Web. 10 Oct 2015. http://www.ibtimes.com/climate-change-vulnerable-nations-launch-v20-bloc-address-global-warming-risks-2134453
Snyder, Timothy. “The Next Genocide.” The New York Times, 12 Sep 2015. Web. 10 Oct 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/opinion/sunday/the-next-genocide.html?_r=2
“Vulnerable nations launch ‘V20’ to fight climate change.” Rappler.com, 09 Oct 2015. Web. 10 Oct 2015. http://www.rappler.com/business/economy-watch/108675-vulnerable-nations-20-group-launched