paris climate agreement - dec 2015

Isso Nihmei, Pacific Climate Warrior

This second part in our COP21 series features Isso Nihmei from Vanuatu. He is a Pacific Climate Warrior and representative of the Pacific Indigenous Network delegation.

The small South Pacific Ocean island nation of Vanuatu is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change and the first to see the devastating effects of decreased wet season rainfall, rising temperatures and sea level, stronger storms, very hot temperatures and diminished crops production.

Mr. Nihmeh laments, "If you listen to the speeches from all these presidents and high-level people, they always talk about he impacts of climate change...they just keep talking about it without doing anything, which makes me really sad. Where are we going to go if global warming goes up 2 degrees (celsius)? We have nowhere to go."

Milañ Loeak, Pacific Climate Warrior

Ms. Loeak emphasizes the urgency of recognizing and acting on the clear impacts of sea level rise at her home in the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia.

“I am hoping to leaders to be their actions...and that indigineous voices and youth [are] prioritized in the text [of the UN Agreement], not just shuffled to the side. This is for survival, a turning point for us in the islands.”

Stéphane Latxague, CEO of Surfrider Foundation Europe

This first part in our COP21 series features @surfridereurope CEO, Stéphane Latxague @surfriderSL. He discusses the importance of Surfrider’s presence at the conference, noting, “There’s no way we couldn’t be at the COP (United Nations Conference of Parties)…whatever way you want to tackle the climate issue, you cannot neglect the fact that the oceans were not represented during the Conference of Parties negotiations and so we are here to make the voice of the ocean heard.”

He continues, “The ocean is the lung of the planet…science has proven that the ocean is key to climate regulation…but what’s next?”

Penguins in Paris

After months of hard work Surfrider Foundation Europe arrived in Paris to lobby and organize in collaboration with members of the Ocean & Climate Platform. Their goal, beyond increasing awareness about how the ocean affects and is affected by climate change, was to make sure that the ocean was included in the Paris Agreement. In many ways it was a success, the ocean is now taken into account. As expected there were many shortcomings but if you’re looking for reasons to feel positive you can find them on the Surfrider Europe website in the blog post posted on January 18th titled “COP 21: THE OCEANS HAVE BEEN HEARD!” This video shows a day where Surfrider came together one Sunday with Tara Expeditions and the Ocean & Climate Platform in a fun, symbolic action before getting back to work on the details of the agreement. Good work Surfrider, Tara Expeditions and the Ocean & Climate Platform! We thank you for all of your work!