5 December 2023, Dubai UAE – The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has cautioned Heads of States and leaders at COP28 in Dubai that the world is “beginning to boil” as the Pacific nation calls for more decisive action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
FSM’s Secretary of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management, Andrew R. Yatilman, has also urged that voluntary pledges and “good intentions” to the reduction of emissions must be turned into more robust, action-oriented approaches with clear goals that deliver concrete results.
He was speaking during the Global Methane Pledge Ministerial on Monday, on the margins of the latest round of climate change negotiations being attended by more than 70,000 delegates from around the world.
“You may wonder why a small island nation like Micronesia is so passionate about methane. The reason is that climate change is pushing us to the brink of extinction,” Mr Yatilman said. “Our people, our culture, and the islands we have inhabited for over 4,000 years are endangered by rapidly rising temperatures. The world is not merely warming… it is beginning to boil.
“And for islands in the Pacific and around the world, that means deadly heat that threatens our communities, coastal erosion that tears away at our homes and infrastructure, and severe storms that batter our towns. We are no longer safe enough on the lands and on the waters that we love.”
At the Global Methane Pledge Ministerial, Mr Yatilman shared the stage with the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Mr John Kerry, European Commission Executive Vice President, Mr Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Commissioner for Energy, Ms Kadri Simson, UN Environment Programme Executive Director, Ms Inger Andersen and Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister, Mr Steven Guilbeault.
Methane is a powerful but short-lived climate pollutant that accounts for a third of net warming since the Industrial Revolution. Mr John Kerry reiterated that rapidly reducing methane emissions from energy, agriculture, and waste can achieve near-term gains for decisive action and is regarded as the single most effective strategy to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5˚C within reach while yielding co-benefits, including improving public health and agricultural productivity.
“We think it’s the easiest, quickest and cheapest way to start making gains against global warming,” Mr Kerry said.
The subject of methane emissions from the energy sector is a big issue at COP28. Many countries and governments and private companies are gradually starting to enforce measures to curtail methane leaks and emissions and the Federated States of Micronesia is encouraged by this forward momentum.
“Of all the existing solutions to the climate crisis, action to address methane is the fastest way to turn down the heat. It can buy the world time to decarbonize – and buy vulnerable countries, like ours, time to put in place the life-saving adaptation measures that will protect us,” Mr Yatilman said.
“The international community has spent more than 30 years talking about climate change. But our efforts so far have not succeeded in slowing warming, and as a result this year we hit all time, record breaking temperatures worldwide.
“To truly and effectively address the climate emergency it is time our voluntary pledges and “good intentions” are turned into more robust, action-oriented approaches with clear goals that deliver concrete results.”
FSM believes the Global Methane Pledge, launched at COP26 by the European Union and the United States, is one of the keys to controlling the climate.
“Let us consider, as we move into this new phase of methane action, how we can work together on a path to certain success,” Mr Yatilman said. “The safety of my people and that of small island states around the world depend on it. Innumerable species depend on it. The lives of future generations will depend on it.”