The Republic of the Marshall Islands has announced ambitious emissions reductions plans that position the small island state as a climate leader ahead of the UNFCCC negotiations to be held in Paris in December.

According to the Marshall Islands’ intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) – which was submitted by President Christoper Loeak over the weekend – the country will reduce its carbon pollution by 32% on 2010 levels by 2025, and by 45% by 2030. These economy-wide and unconditional emissions reduction targets are in line with a 2050 net zero emissions goal.

Foreign Minister Tony de Brum explained that the Marshall Islands was committed to submitting an INDC that was robust and simply-stated because:
It’s essential to our survival. Not just to talk about it but do what we can to contribute,” he said. “Doing it in the way that we have done it… it shows a small country can step up to the plate.”

With less than 6 months to go until the Paris agreement is due to be signed off on by Parties, experts agree that on the basis of INDCs submitted so far emissions reductions will be insufficient to limit global average temperature rise to below the internationally agreed ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius. This low level of international ambition combined with the slow pace of the international negotiations poses a special threat to the survival of small island states like the Marshall Islands, who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. It is hoped that the announcement of this “bullish” INDC will put pressure on other countries to raise their level of ambition.

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