The Fijian Prime Minister has called for change this week after a new international climate report set a goal for capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The revised temperature target is lower than the two degrees Celsius goal set as part of the Paris Agreement in 2015.
To reach this goal, greenhouse gas emissions need to be drastically cut – otherwise smaller island countries, like Fiji, will suffer as ocean levels rise.
Speaking to Earther, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said countries around the world should follow in Fiji’s footsteps in reducing emissions.
“The message is clear—collectively, we are not doing nearly enough to confront the greatest threat humankind has ever faced,” he said.
“I call on all national leaders to follow Fiji and the Marshall Islands’ lead and aim higher in your national plans to reduce emissions.”
Fiji was the first country to sign on to the Paris Agreement, and while it’s carbon footprint is already tiny, the country has a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent by 2030. 100 per cent of Fiji’s electricity is also from renewable sources.
If sea levels continue to rise as fast as they currently are, Fiji’s main island will have to welcome refugees from other, low-lying islands which are at risk.
However, keeping warming temperatures at 1.5 degrees will keep sea levels rising a safe amount.
“The goals of the Paris Agreement are not yet out of reach, but to achieve them will require a realignment of our priorities and an unprecedented global mobilisation to deliver much stronger Nationally Determined Contributions in line with the 1.5-degree target and a universal commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest,” Bainimarama added.