New York-- As world leaders converge in New York Monday for the UN Climate Action Summit, the President of the Marshall Islands has indicated her government's intention to seek Parliamentary approval to declare a national climate crisis in the Pacific nation. Dr Hilda Heine, will make the announcement in her keynote address at the opening of the Climate Action Summit tomorrow. In anticipation of that, the Marshall Islands convened a meeting of the Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change (CAN-CC) Sunday in New York to discuss additional ways to mobilise global attention on the special circumstances faced by atoll nations. Last year, the Marshall Islands became the first country in the world to submit a new and enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, and was also the first island nation to produce a 2050 Strategy to reach net zero emissions. It is also currently developing a landmark National Adaptation Plan. “On the heels of Friday’s global climate strikes, this statement is the biggest political signal yet that world leaders are responding to the need to urgently increase global climate ambition. For the first time, a group of countries is saying they will follow the Marshall Islands’ lead and unequivocally increase their Paris targets by next year and also put in place plans to achieve net zero global emissions by 2050.” “As Greta Thunberg and other youth leaders have told us, the time for hope is over and the time for action is now. My country stands to lose more than most, which is why our Government intends to also seek the approval of our Parliament to declare a national climate crisis, highlighting the special circumstances we face as a low-lying coral atoll nation,” President Heine said in a statement. Today, 15 leaders of the High Ambition coalition grouping led by Marshall Islands released a statement “Uniting behind the science to step up ambition by 2020”.
The statement demonstrates the commitment of its signatories to update their emissions reduction targets by the first quarter of 2020, and by the end of next year to produce long-term strategies aimed at achieving net zero global emissions by 2050. All of the current signatories are members of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) led by the Marshall Islands, which was instrumental in securing the Paris Agreement and remains the central political forum for coordinating progressive international action on climate change.