July the wettest and warmest on record

July 2019 was the wettest July on record with more than double the average rainfall of the last thirty years, a new government report has found. 

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Climate Change Report Card for the third quarter reports July saw above average rainfall registered at the Apia weather station. 

July more than doubled the last 30 years of average rainfall, continuing this year's trend of high rainfall.

June nearly doubled its rainfall levels, while May and April matched the last 30 years average.

July also saw warmer temperatures than previous Julys, the report states. 

Both monthly highs and lows were warmer than the average temperature over the last 30 years.

The quarterly climate change report card is a new initiative, compiled by M.N.R.E and presented to the Cabinet Development Committee. 

Last quarter, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi asked the reports be a regular fixture, to help all sectors think about climate change.

“Climate change remains as the universal concern and the report contains data that every government sector must be made aware of," Tuilaepa said.

“This report will serve not only as a reminder to all government officials but to be used as valuable motivational information for us to do everything that we can to contribute to the universal struggle against climate change.”

On climate change adaptation projects, renewable energy has accounted for 44.3 per cent of Samoa’s energy production so far in 2019, the report states. 

Samoa is working towards reaching 100 per cent by 2025.

30.9 per cent of its energy has come from hydropower, saving more than 16 million tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

Solar power has generated 13.3 per cent of Samoa's energy this year, the equivalent of 7 million tonnes of carbon, and 0.1 per cent of energy came from wind.

The Afolau Biomass Gasification Plant is due to open in December and aims to generate 750 kilowatts of power using the invasive merrimia vine. 

The Ministry also reports the national forests are growing, with another 358,592 trees planted or distributed this year, plus 53,644 seedlings.

And the Land Transport Authority reports there were 15,630 new and renewed registered vehicles between January and July, but have not calculated the greenhouse gas emissions from those cars.

The report card also tracks national work on climate change action. 

The report also provides an update on climate change projects and international funding, which Samoa has received from the Global Environment Facility (G.E.F), the Green Climate Fund, and the IDA/World Bank Climate Investment Funds.

Samoa has been granted more than US$23 million from the G.E.F, about US$8.8 million from the Green Climate Fund and US$14.6 million from the World Bank, making for a total of more than US$46.5 million (T$126,692,696) for national projects.

With most projects finishing between 2020 and 2023, most of the funding has not been spent.

Samoa is also part of two regional projects receiving climate financing: The Ridge to Reef project, and the Pacific Resilience Project.

The G.E.F Ridge to Reef project granted Samoa $200,000 (T$542,931), and the project is due to finish this year. The report states 60 percent of the funds have been spent.

Under the Pacific Resilience Project for 2016 to 2022, Samoa was granted $16,293,000 (T$44,229,949), of which just 25 per cent has been spent, the report states.

The 43 "Community Integrated Management Plans"  are completed and being rolled out, and the National Climate Change Strategy for 2019 – 2029 is still in draft form, as is the Climate Change Bill. 

October will see Samoa’s 3rd National Communication Report go to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which includes a national greenhouse gas inventory and a vulnerability and adaptation assessment.

The Ministry states it plans to develop the first Biennial Update Report on climate change.

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