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


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.


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Luke Vargas
Luke Vargas is the United Nations bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service, leading international coverage from 15 countries since 2013. Luke previously covered U.S. elections in 2008 and 2012 for radio and television. Twitter: @TheCourier

One Response to “For Marshall Islands, Climate Change Now Presents Security Risk” Subscribe

  1. mememine February 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    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

    *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.

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