6 Island Nations Will Issue ‘Blue Bonds’ To Make Shipping In The Pacific Ocean Carbon Neutral

Six Pacific island nations are actively trying to raise $500 million for the purpose of making all shipping in the Pacific Ocean zero carbon by the middle of the century.

The Guardian reports:

“The Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership, announced on Tuesday by the governments of Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, has set an emissions reduction target of 40% by 2030, and full decarbonization by 2050.

“The partnership intends to raise money through grants from multinational institutions, concessional loans, direct private sector investment and through issuing regional ‘blue bonds.'”

The money would be used to retrofit existing passenger and cargo ships with new, low-carbon technologies while also purchasing new vessels that produce zero emissions. Since these Pacific nations are highly dependent on shipping for travel, tourism, and supplies, they’re stepping forward to find a solution that will benefit them in the long term.

Currently, each of the island nations is heavily reliant on imported fossil fuels. The region imports 95 percent of its energy, and the transportation sector is the largest consumer of those energy sources.

The growing global climate crisis is also complicating travel around the world:

“Rising sea levels and the increased frequency of dangerous weather are making sea journeys more difficult and slower, leading to more frequent cancellations of journeys and damaging ageing transport infrastructure such as ports and refueling facilities.”

A briefing paper issued by the Fiji-Marshall Islands notes that “investment in the sustainable development of sea transport for Pacific island countries has been extremely limited to date,” adding:

“Transition to sustainable, resilient and decarbonized sea transport at this scale will require substantial investment, including at least $500m to support implementation of the 10-year work program.”

Though it’s estimated that the Pacific only contributes 0.03 percent of total global emissions, the impact of climate change is frequently felt there first since the nations in question are surrounded by water.

Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji, noted that the largest economies and carbon emitters are failing to help Pacific nations deal with the dangers of climate change:

“We need major economies to strengthen their climate finance investments, including their replenishment of adaptation and green climate funds. It is the defining crisis of our time. And if we do not take action, that crisis will soon escalate into chaos that will consume the entire world.”

Blue bonds are financial instruments which are issued by governments and development banks in order to raise funds for the financing of ocean-based projects that involve environmental, economic and, climate benefits.

Just last year, the Seychelles launched the world’s very first sovereign blue bond. That issuance was for a total of $15 million worth of 10-year bonds for the purpose of protecting marine environments and safeguarding fisheries.

Dr. Peter Nuttall, a scientific and technical adviser for the Micronesian Center for Sustainable Transport at the University of the South Pacific, says shipping is a “lifeline” for every Pacific nation:

“Without shipping, our economies die, our people can’t survive. In places like the Solomon Islands or the Marshall Islands, 80% to 90% of all goods arrive by ship. We have the most expensive shipping in the world, the longest transport routes, and the worst ships.”

Nuttall added that nations in the Pacific “cannot wait for the rest of the world. We have to bespoke design a Pacific solution if it is going to work, not leave the Pacific to languish.

“We’re running the biggest risk. The Pacific did nothing to cause climate change, but we’re about to get smashed by it. What is it we can practically do to make people’s lives better now? We know the answers, and we don’t have time to wait.”


Featured Image Via Wikimedia Commons 


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Andrew Bradford

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