For Marshall Islands, Climate Change Now Presents Security Risk

An envoy from the Pacific Island nation pleaded with the U.N. Security Council last week to consider his country's plight a matter of international peace and security.

TRNS Climate Desk

By LUKE VARGAS

UNITED NATIONS (TRNS) – Rising ocean levels have created an urgent security situation in the Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands.

Best known as a stepping stone of the U.S. during the Pacific campaigns of World War II, the country home to more than 50,000 inhabitants now faces inundation at the hands of a more elusive foe: climate change.

The sands of the Majuro atoll's Laura Beach are seen in this 2000 image.   Flickr photo: mrlins

The sands of the Majuro atoll’s Laura Beach are seen in this 2000 image. Flickr photo: mrlins

 

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Tony deBrum, a special representative of the country’s president, pressed the Security Council to take up the cause of nations like the Marshall Islands given the way climate change has evolved into a matter of international peace and security.

Mr. deBrum described how erosion caused by ocean water is now uncovering dangerous vestiges of the country’s past. Unexploded ordnances have been surfacing across the southern reaches of the nation in recent years, effectively creating minefields in areas long considered safe.

So too, fortnightly tidal patterns have resulted in consistant phases of flooding. The country’s roads are frequently covered in water, while crop damage and contamination of drinking water supplies have become a regular concern.

Marshall Islands Location Map

The United States pledged last year to assist island nations with the removal of unexploded munitions, but that matter is among the country’s least thorny struggles.

By contrast, handling what many see as the necessary repatriation of the islands soon-to-be-displaced inhabitants is a considerably more difficult issue. The compelling personal narratives of those affected in low-lying Pacific Islands have stirred some attention at climate conferences through the years, but the Marshall Islands and others have repeatedly had the forum for their grievances moved out of the spotlight, including at the most recent meeting of the U.N.’s “Arria Formula” Security Council group last week.

 

Tags: ,

Luke Vargas
Luke Vargas is a New York-based reporter for Talk Radio News Service, anchoring world news coverage from the United Nations. Luke previously covered Campaign 2008 and 2012 for radio and television. Follow Luke on Twitter @TheCourier
  • mememine

    27 more years of promoting the climate change crisis
    exaggeration isn’t helping anyone or the planet. We need to put the fear
    mongering aside and work together to continue good stewardship and celebrate
    defeating the smoggy 70’s when a river caught fire in Ohio and other
    accomplishments. We all want the same thing so can we stop the demonizing and
    needless panic and learn to love the planet with love again, not fear.

    *Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of
    demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets run by
    corporations.

    *Canada’s voters had already killed Y2Kyoto with a freely
    elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially you
    fear mongers and the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming
    (a comet hit).

    Meanwhile, the entire world of SCIENCE had condemned our
    kids to the greenhouse gas ovens of an exaggerated “crisis” and had
    allowed bank-funded and corporate-run “CARBON TRADING STOCK MARKETS” to trump
    3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for
    just over 27 years of insane attempts at climate CONTROL.

LISTEN: The Day Ahead – October 21, 2014

The Day Ahead Logo

More British army medics deploy to Sierra Leone, Ukraine and Russia talk energy in Brussels and the U.N. elects new members to the Human Rights Council.

Smithsonian Board Meeting Disrupted By Staff Seeking Wage Increases

Government employees protested for increased wages at the Smithsonian's annual Board of Regents meeting at the Smithsonian Hirschorn Museum, Oct. 20, 2014. (Photo by James Cullum)

Federal contract workers call for better pay and benefits at the annual Smithsonian Board of Regents meeting on Monday.

LISTEN: The World in 2:00 – October 20, 2014

The World in 2:00 continents logo

The U.S. transports Kurdish weapons to Kobani, disturbing reports of sexual violence in South Sudan and a very dirty Beijing Marathon.

Rubio Plans To Pursue Travel Ban Legislation

Rubio plans to introduce the new legislation in November when the Senate returns to session.

UN in Brief: Calm & Conflict for October 20, 2014

U.N. human rights experts condemn Detroit for shutting off water to residents, Nigeria is declared ‘Ebola-free,’ and Iraqi aid need far outstrips capacity.

Wyoming AG: Same-Sex Marriages To Begin Tuesday

Photo/Nicholas Salazar TRNS

The Wyoming attorney general said that the state would not file an appeal of the ruling that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.