Our greatest allies in the fight for 350 ppm and a safe climate future have always been the island nations. They're on the front lines of the climate crisis and know better than anyone the consequences of not taking action. As President Nasheed of the Maldives has said many times, “Our choice is between a survival pact or suicide pact. The difference is that stark.”
It's incredibly inspiring to see island nations continuing to fight for a real climate deal here at the ongoing UN Climate Talks in Bonn, Germany. I just ran into Ambassador Lima (pictured below) the Vice President of the Association of Small Island States, the coalition of island nations here at the United Nations, and he reiterated his support for 350 ppm.
Those of you who were following 350.org in Copenhagen may remember Ambassador Lima from a moving press conference during the final days of the negotiations. As he said at the time,
"We are not backing 350 because it's a beautiful number. No, it is because of science. Some of our members will disappear [beneath rising seas] if we go above 1.5 C." (You can read more about our work in Copenhagen with the island nations here and here.)
The fight for a fair climate treaty based on the latest science will continue this year. Many island nations and other vulnerable countries are under constant pressure from developed countries to back away from ambitious targets. Many, including the United States, see 1.5 C / 350 ppm as "unrealistic."
"How can you tell me trying to save the planet is unrealistic? Is trying to save our countries unrealistic?" Ambassador Lima told me today. "These people should come to Tuvalu, come to the islands, and see what is happening here. They should meet the people who are forced to think about losing their entire country. Then they can talk about what is realistic."
"We need people around the world to stand in solidarity with island nations," the Ambassador continued. "If we can't show solidarity for islands today, how we will we show solidarity with New York or London when it is threatened by rising seas?"
We're still building a movement for science and survival this year. And we're honored to be standing with the island nations as they fight to protect all of our futures.