Samoa facing growing climate disasters: U.N.

Samoa’s policies on economic development and poverty alleviation are being seriously challenged by the threat of climate change, a new United Nations report has revealed. 

The report urges countries around the world to redouble their efforts to combat climate change to prevent catastrophic global temperature rises.

It also predicts that Samoa will, in the future, live with the constant threat of climate change caused disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. 

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (U.N.F.C.C.C.)report is based on data provided by all 191 signatories to the Paris Agreement.

Its findings were based on countries’ most recent Nationally Determined Contributions (N.D.C.) as of 30 July this year.

(N.D.C.s are national plans for taking climate action by reducing greenhouse gas emission reductions and policies taken by Governments.)

The report includes information from 86 updated or new N.D.C.s submitted by 113 parties to the Paris agreement. For the group of 113 Parties with new or updated N.D.C.s, greenhouse gas emissions are projected to have decreased by 12 per cent in 2030 compared to 2010.

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding treaty on climate change, adopted by more than 190 countries in 2015 and covers climate change mitigation, adaptation, and finance.

Samoa’s second N.D.C. shows that the energy sector is responsible for the majority of the country’s emissions. 

“The energy sector accounted for 50 percent of this total, the agriculture forestry and other land use sector accounted for 38 percent, the waste sector accounted for 9 percent, and the industrial processes and product use sector accounted for 3 percent,” the revised national plan reads. 

According to the revised plan, Samoa will have to live with the threat of predicted increases in extreme weather conditions triggered by climate change as it faces greater impacts from climate change in the future.

“These impacts, combined with the recent economic shock caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, are making the Government’s poverty alleviation and national development goals more challenging,” the document says.

The U.N.F.C.C.C. report shows that all parties to the Paris accords provided new information on their climate change mitigation targets or mitigation co-benefits resulting from adaptation measures.

The report also suggests that the world actually  be going backwards on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The available national climate plans of all 191 signatories to the agreement, taken together, imply a sizable increase in global emissions in 2030 compared to 2010, of about 16 per cent.

The United Nations’ Executive Secretary on Climate Change, Patricia Epinosa, said that the projected 16 per cent increase is a cause of huge concern.

“It is in sharp contrast with the calls by science for rapid, sustained and large-scale emission reductions to prevent the most severe climate consequences and suffering, especially of the most vulnerable, throughout the world,” she said.

“The report clearly shows that the NDC framework is helping Parties to advance towards fulfilling their commitments under the Paris Agreement.”

The executive secretary said that parties to the agreement are able to submit new climate change plans or update their existing mitigation policies at any time, including in the run-up to the global COP26 conference.

Held in Glasgow, Scotland, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is slated to be held in 31 October and 12 November 2021,

“Knowing how much work on enhancing N.D.C.s has been ongoing, I again call on all Parties that have not yet done so to submit new or updated N.D.C.s,” Ms. Epinosa said in the statement.

“But those Parties that have already made submissions also have the opportunity to revisit their NDCs to increase their level of ambition. The time left before COP26 is short, but I hope we may still see many more NDCs.”


Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?