A historic agreement will help small island states in the Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific Island regions, which are particularly vulnerable to climate change, make a giant leap in clean energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and begin work on adaptation to the effects of climate change.
These small island developing states (SIDS) are expected to suffer disproportionately from impacts of global warming, including rising sea levels and increased weather-related disasters, but they’re also extremely dependent on fossil fuels – a majority of these countries spend between 25 and 50 percent of their foreign exchange earnings on imported oil.
“Small island developing countries suffer the double blow of being gravely affected by the effects of climate change and hamstrung by costly, inefficient sources of energy,” said Jennifer Haverkamp, Environmental Defense Fund‘s managing director for international climate policy and negotiations.
“This agreement has tremendous significance for these islands’ very survival, as it will help them with adapting to the effects of climate change, while also transitioning to a low-carbon economy,” added Haverkamp. “And by themselves reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, they will set a powerful example for the rest of the world.”
The agreement was signed on Dec. 8 by the Alliance of Small Island States, the government of Denmark, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program during the U.N. climate negotiations in Cancún. Known as “SIDS DOCK“, it is designed to give these island nations easier access to the financing, technology, technical assistance and participation in the global carbon market they need to transition to a low-carbon economy.
SIDS DOCK is designed to connect the island nations to the European Union and U.S. carbon markets, which have an estimated value of $100-400 billion annually in avoided greenhouse gas emissions trading. Denmark’s pledge of $14.5 million – part of their Copenhagen pledge of “fast start” climate financing – will provide the initial administrative support for the trust fund established in the agreement.
“By allowing countries to dock into established trading systems and tap investment streams from developed world emitters working to make their own carbon reduction targets, this agreement really is a pioneering model for what the planet, as a whole, is going to have to do,” Haverkamp said.
SIDS DOCK will help the island nations transition to sustainable, low-emission energy technologies by aiming to increase energy efficiency by 25 percent (2005 baseline), generate a minimum 50 percent of electric power from renewable sources, and generate a 20-30 percent decrease in conventional transportation fuel use by 2033.
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