Pacific Island governments have reinforced their commitment to energy transition action within updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs) ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.
At a meeting of high-level policy and intergovernmental representatives jointly hosted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Regional Pacific NDC Hub and the UK COP26 Presidency, ministers and government representatives reiterated the need for transformative pledges.
Charles Obichang, minister of public infrastructure, industries and commerce of the Republic of Palau, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to a sustainable energy future.
He said: “Palau is developing a new roadmap that will ultimately result in a 100% fossil fuel free energy system. The pursuit of energy security through renewable energy makes environmental, social and economic sense for us, helping to fight climate change while creating opportunities for new industries and new jobs. Renewables are an opportunity for us to thrive in a new era of fossil fuel free energy production.”
Currently, 13 of the 14 Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have quantified renewable energy targets in their NDCs, submitted under the first round of Paris Agreement climate pledges, equating to nearly 2GW of renewables capacity.
All Pacific SIDS are engaged in a process of NDC enhancement ahead of COP26 under the coordination of the Regional NDC Pacific Hub and with support of various development partners. Fiji, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga have already submitted enhanced contributions.
Angeline Heine, director of energy, Republic of the Marshall Islands, added: “As a front liner on climate change the Republic of the Marshall Islands is fully committed to meeting its NDC objective of 100%renewable energy by 2050. Our goal is ambitious, but our electricity roadmap has identified three key priorities, which address the technology, human resources, and investment components of the plan. We believe this ensures our transition is owned and advanced by the Marshall Islands people.”
Representing the UK government, Ken O’Flaherty, COP26 Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific, spoke of the opportunity for Pacific leadership both during, and in the lead up to, the climate meeting later this year.
He said: “The consequences of a warming planet will be catastrophic, particularly for citizens of the Pacific. COP26 can be the moment when the world comes together to ramp up momentum towards a climate resilient, zero-carbon economy and Pacific leadership can deliver the changes we need to see in the world. Many Pacific states have already committed to net-zero targets in their revised NDCs, which serve as inspiration for other countries to raise ambition.”
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