A paradise consisting of more than 300 islands in the south-Pacific Ocean, Fiji is often celebrated for its white sandy beaches, blue lagoons and tropical rainforests. However, this might not all be the same in a few years. With ocean levels around the country rising at a rate of 6mm per year and temperatures increasing at a rate of 0.15 degrees per decade Fiji faces severe environmental problems. For example, rising sea levels have led to several islands being flooded which has not only led towards the destruction of property but has also resulted in the loss of lives. In 2016, Fiji was also struck by Cyclone Winston, the most severe cyclone ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. Winston caused damages worth millions of dollars and led to the death of 42 civilians. What’s worse is that experts predict that due to climate change these cyclones will not just become stronger but will also increase in frequency.
Luckily, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) which took place between the 6th and the 17th of November in Bonn, Germany was being presided over by the Government of Fiji. While the main focus of the convention was on writing a rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the problem Fiji faces due to climate change played an integral part of the UNFCC. Although all countries must fight the fight against climate change together, Fiji’s situation demands immediate attention. It requires considerable international investments from friendly nations to support its damaged economy and fight climate change.
The world’s two largest economies i.e. The United States of America and People’s Republic of China had the highest CO2 emissions, one of the leading causes of rapid climate change. The effect these CO2 emissions have on the environment can be seen clearly on small island nations such as Fiji. It is safe to say that a mutual agreement on the collective deduction of CO2 emissions is needed by the UN member states. Such conferences are important as they stress on the importance of increased cooperation between member states in order to reduce CO2 emissions.
In my honest opinion, currently, climate change is the biggest challenge humanity faces. While I believe that the answer to climate change lies in educating individuals on its effects I also believe that if adequate measures are not taken in time, countries such as Fiji might cease to exist. I am sure we can fight climate change once we finally take that responsibility and act all together.