PSIDS political champion urged world leaders to match their global climate ambitions. “What leaders are promising does not match what their negotiators are saying.”
Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) political champion on environmental integrity, Steven Victor of Palau used one of the side events at the COP27 last week to tell world leaders to match their global climate ambitions with what their negotiators are saying in the negotiation room here at Sharm El Sheikh.
Minister Victor who is also Palau’s minister for environment told a side event at the Pacific Pavilion Friday, “what leaders are promising does not match what their negotiators are saying.”
“We see world leaders stand up on the podium and make ambitious commitments but it’s a different story in the negotiation room. They need to translate that to commitments in the negotiations,” said the PSIDS political champion.
The Pacific has shown the world that it has strong leaders who’ve made commitments to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy to help reduce global temperature to 1.5 degrees even though their countries were responsible for only a miniscule amount of overall global emissions.
In Palau, President Surangel S. Whipps Jnr has committed to 100 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2032 without increasing costs to consumer.
Minister Victor said while this was an ambitious goal, it can still be achieved.
“We cannot do it alone. We need the capacity to help us transition to renewable energy. While we may not be able to reach 40 percent by 2024, at least we can reach a target of 23-24 percent by that year.
Additionally, the maintenance of the solar panels is expensive, something a small island nation like Palau cannot afford.
“We need to look for a blend of energy sources like solar, wind, hydro power technologies to help us achieve our plan to achieve energy transition, said Victor.
Another renewable energy project discussed at the COP27 side event was the solarisation of the residences of governments heads of states at a cost of USD$1.2 million, funded by the government of India to promote renewable energy in the Pacific.
The project will see solar energy infrastructure to power the residences of heads of states on 11 member countries of the Pacific Islands Development Forum.
The photovoltaic grids are being installed on buildings of national significance, such as the executive administrative residence of a country, with the goal of giving first-hand experience to country leaders of the benefits that renewable technologies can offer. By doing so, leaders can then use their experiences as a tool for engaging the general public to inspire wider adoption of solar energy and other renewable energy technologies. The target sites for the project includes Fiji, Federated States Micronesia, Palau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The implementation partner, Solar Head of State (SHOS), has already launched similar projects at the Presidential Palace of the Maldives, the public residence of the Governor-General in St. Lucia, and at the Office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica.