About a week and a half ago, the tiny island-nation of Nauru posted its submission to the UNFCCC regarding the skeletal "Copenhagen Accord" that emerged last December. It’s significance went largely unnoticed, but is worth examining.

First, a primer. Never heard of Nauru?  You’re not alone.  With an area of just 21 square kilometres, it’s the smallest island nation in the world.  But just because its small, doesn’t mean its not active.  They managed to pull off a great climate action on October 24th, not only raising climate awareness in a vulnerable country but also getting to work planting trees.  Maybe most importantly, it looks like they had a lot of fun while doing it:

For an island of about 9,000 people who are not traditionally known for their environmental advocacy, that’s saying something.  (If the United States had the same number of actions per capita, there would have been 24,966 events in the USA alone on October 24th).

I’d like to think that there’s a connection between Nauru’s 350 action and their unflinching submission to the UNFCCC regarding the Copenhagen Accord. Nauru’s submission repeatedly asserts that the rather weak framework of the Copenhagen Accord "does not represent a consensus."

Nauru’s submission also identifies a glaring omission in the Copenhagen Accord–that "there is no long-term limit for stabilizing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at well below 350ppm CO2-equivalent levels."  It goes onto identify what is perhaps the most worrying aspect of the accord: that "the pledges for emissions reductions announced by developing countries would not limit global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees celsius."

Much is uncertain about the future of the Copenhagen Accord, and the role of small countries like Nauru in negotiating a global climate agreement.  I asked  Nerida-Ann Hubert, a local 350 organizer from Nauru, if she had any thoughts on the recent developments.  She she sent along this quote, from a traditional Nauruan song:

"Obwio Naoero, auwe kor" ("My home Nauru, I love you so")

In these uncertain times after the chaos of Copenhagen, it’s comforting to think that this love of our homeland can motivate everyday people to take action.  It’s this kind of love–and this kind of action–that will motivate our politicians to speak truth to power. Here’s to more of it in 2010…

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