The Pacific Islands have joined Canada, the United Kingdom and United States cities such as New York City in declaring a climate crisis. The islands face rising sea levels and a warming climate, increasing the risk of health issues like malnutrition and the spread of infectious diseases.
At the Fifth Pacific Islands Development Forum Leaders’ Summit on July 27, island leaders met to discuss climate-related issues that are impacting the islands, among other topics. Now, they’re calling for the elimination of fossil fuels, citing the industry as a major cause of climate change.
“This declaration makes clear that the current scale of the climate crisis calls for urgent action to phase out coal and other fossil fuels,” said Fenton Lutunabua, regional managing director of environmental group 350.org, in a statement. “This visionary declaration is a testament to the will of the Pacific people who have moved their politicians to show committed actions in confronting the climate crisis.”
While climate crisis declarations are not a form of legislation and cannot enact policy changes on their own, they are a way to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change and encourage representatives to take action.