Samoa’s emissions double in latest report

23/08/2010 01:18

By Cherelle Jackson

It's ironic really, Samoa plays the victim in climate change very well, we love to expose our climate wounds; so to speak, we plead and beg developed nations to slow down and take heed. We play the developing island card and the vulnerable islands mentality so beautifully in the world stage, our leaders profess environmental righteousness in the face of US, China and Australian climatic misdemeanours. We point fingers at any given opportunity at China for their astronomical emissions, at the US for steering global negotiations towards their financial interests and we so love to play the blame game on Australia for being the highest carbon emitter in the Pacific region, but yet the latest National Communication by the climate sector shows too clearly, that although we are small in comparison, we are no better in curbing our emissions, in fact we have doubled them instead.

According to Samoa’s Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have increased by approximately 113% since the 1994, when total emissions were approximately 165.63 CO2-e to current level of 352.03 CO2-e. This represents an average growth rate of 16% per annum.

The National Communication states that the two activities that contribute most to Samoa’s emissions are road transport and livestock farming, which, in 2007, accounted for 27% and 25% of total CO2-e emissions respectively. Electricity generation and other agricultural activities, including emissions from managed soils, each account for approximately 13% of emissions. Other energy consumption, including fuel used by households and commercial and institutional organisations accounts for 10% of emissions.

With such findings, it is not surprising that the National Communication which was submitted to the UNFCCC and published in June was not made known to the local media. The secrecy surrounding Samoa’s commitment under the Kyoto Protocol remains a baffle not just to this columnist but to others in climate circles. That the National Communication, the NAPA and various other reports by Samoa are not a matter of pride for the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment (MNRE) is surprising. Whereas Maldives and other small island nations have invested heavily in media campaigns to get international attention on their plight, Samoa’s climate change negotiators not only shy away from the media, they also hide from it too. Luckily for us, the UNFCCC doesn’t do that.

*The Author is a Reuters Fellow at the University of Oxford.