15 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh - At the biggest stage of the environment meeting in the world at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has urged world leaders to put big money behind efforts to cut methane and short lived pollutants, claiming this is the fastest way to slow global warming.
FSM’s Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management, Hon. Andrew R. Yatilman, advocated that fast action on the short-lived pollutants can avoid escalating Loss and Damage. Hon. Yatilman made the call when he addressed world leaders at the Sharm El Sheikh International Congress Centre on Tuesday during the resumed high-level segment of the COP27, a meeting widely referred to as the implementation COP.
Short-live pollutants are a group of greenhouse gases that have a near-term warming impact on climate and can affect air quality. They include black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons.
“We are on the verge of losing control of the climate system. The planet is warming beyond what the natural system can sustain. It is warming beyond what many humans, and especially beyond what all small island states - can survive,” said Hon. Yatilman. “We hear the phrase “climate emergency” so often, it has lost significance. It is clear that many who say or hear this phrase do not truly understand what is at risk. All of humanity is at risk.”
To address the problem, FSM’s Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management offered a solution. He called for a united effort to slash the emissions of short-lived climate pollutants in the near term to buy time for decarbonisation in the long term.
“Undoubtedly, decarbonization is critical for climate stability. However, cutting CO2 on its own doesn’t slow warming at all for decades. Small islands carry the greatest burden, but contribute the least to the problem. We will lead by example, but ultimately we need all G20 countries and large emitters, especially the developed countries, to take emergency-level action. For our sake and for yours,” he said.
“We call on donor countries, multilateral development banks, and other major financing institutions to prioritise fast action on methane and other super pollutants. The international financing institutions must catalyse additional grants, ensure that half of their lending goes to climate, and direct at least half of their funding to cut the short-lived climate pollutants.
“Because cutting methane is the single biggest and fastest way to slow warming and we need to put big money behind this strategy. Provided with funding, many partners world-wide are prepared to deploy methane-cutting solutions – many of which bring health, economic, and food-security co-benefits – across all sectors.”
This will directly impact the Loss and Damage discussion as well.
“By bending the warming curve now with fast action, we can contain loss and damage as we continue to construct the global cooperative solutions to avoid and remedy the impacts developing countries are experiencing now,” he said.
On the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage, he said this must become a powerful, trustworthy institution that offers emergency response in the form of financial resources, technology, and capacity.
“It is the life-or-death response of an emergency room for critical circumstances, and it is founded on the very principles of equity and fairness contained in the Convention,” he said.
FSM also urged all lending countries and institutions to put in place Debt-for-Climate initiatives that reduce the debt burden and channel funding where it is needed most.
The issue of oceans was also raised by Minister Yatilman, who said: “Island nations are stewards of the world’s oceans and have been for thousands of years. As such we are the ocean’s voice, speaking for ecosystems and aquatic life that cannot defend itself. The ocean provides, and yet it is not protected.
“Urgent action must be taken to solve the ocean crisis. Support for the oceans should be prioritised this coming decade, including increasing the role of the ocean as a carbon sink, prudent and equitable approaches to Blue Carbon, and leveraging the indigenous knowledge of ocean-based countries to increase and upscale action globally.”
The Federated States of Micronesia added that strong decisions at CO27 that equitably and meaningfully advance climate solutions to preserve the 1.5C temperature limit, should be the goal of everyone in Egypt this week.
“Collective efforts to date to reduce emissions are grossly inadequate. So much so that the planet is starting to warm itself. Scientific projections tell us that the world could surpass the 1.5C limit within a decade or less, which will, in turn, trigger irreversible tipping points,” said Hon. Yatilman.
“We urgently need climate solutions that can reduce the greatest amount of warming in the shortest amount of time. Time and temperature must guide our investments and drive capital towards solutions that slow warming the most in the near-term.”
The 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP27) is being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from 6 to 18 November 2022.
It is being attended by Pacific leaders and their delegations, who are advocating for their survival. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is lead of the One CROP, working together to provide support to Pacific Islands.