What was once a niggling feeling of unease is now a constant feeling of dread. Back in the 90s, when I was at uni, talk of climate change was a completely new concept to me. I knew it was happening but it wasn’t something I focused on. But over the decades, these discussions have moved to the forefront of our lives and for many, the impact has been visible for years.
While researching a report for my climate change studies, it didn’t take long to realise just how bleak the situation is in the Pacific Islands. I was writing about climate change in Tonga, an archipelago of low-lying islands north of New Zealand. They are already experiencing climate change, with sea levels rising far more rapidly in their region compared to the rest of the world. Tropical cyclones have always been a regular occurrence but they are now arriving with increasing intensity. Coral bleaching is occurring more frequently, impacting livelihoods via a loss of fishing and tourism, the mainstays of their economy. The list of impacts is long and things are rapidly getting worse.
There is little the Pacific Islands can do to mitigate climate change when it is caused by the rest of the world. The best they can do is focus on adaptation but the ultimate solution for many will be forced migration. Pacific Islanders will be the first of many climate refugees we can expect to arrive on our shores.
Understanding the Carbon Jargon
There is a wide range of terminology being used regarding carbon emissions and being net-zero. Some of it is interchangeable while other terms have slightly different meanings. I republished an article via The Conversation regarding what they describe as ‘carbon jargon’ to help us understand the nuances of what these terms really mean.