Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change
Tim Pfefferle – INS 503
This works sets out to place climate change in the context of its contemporary consequences by reference to the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change program (PACC). This is important because, contrary to conventional discourse, complications and damages caused by climate change have already started to materialize. The PACC program will thus be outlined against the backdrop of this particular condition.
There will be a description of PACC’s intended outcomes as well as of its stated priorities, which will both be related to the countries’ problems vis-à-vis climate change. Moreover, the funding mechanism underlying PACC will be delineated, providing an indication in terms of the United States’ financial involvement.
The theoretical framework employed to situate PACC from the perspective of the United States will focus on a three-dimensional approach featuring diplomacy, security and humanitarian concerns, which all have interlocking implications. Since the PACC countries do not constitute a significant economic region, commercial imperatives were discarded. However, it is apparent that the PACC program could function as a pilot project in terms of improving climate change resilience, which may then be applied elsewhere. Therefore, it may have a wider significance with regard to the relationship between climate change and development.
The program will be assessed on the basis of UNDP reports. To outline the context in terms of the implications of climate change, I will draw on Barnett and Campbell (2010) as well as on a range of newspaper articles. There will also be some figures to illustrate the funding mechanism as well as the regional economic picture, which are drawn from the UNDP and the CIA Factbook, respectively.
Thus, this paper aims to make clear why South Pacific island countries are so vulnerable with respect to climate change, and how this specific problem may be addressed through the Pacific Adaptation to Climate program. The overall evaluation of the program is positive, given its innovative approach, community focus and consideration of the need for a long-term strategy to combat the effects of climate change.
However, it is also important to realize that a project such as PACC can only ever be a complimentary one. In the absence of a comprehensive agreement on climate change, it is likely that the challenges faced by island countries with regard to global warming will increase over time.
On October 16th, 2009, the government of the Maldives held a cabinet meeting underwater in full-gear wetsuits (BBC, October 17, 2009). The intent was to raise climate change awareness ahead of the Copenhagen climate conference to be held later that year, particularly in terms of the anticipated consequences for island nations just like the Maldives. Even though the Copenhagen conference did not produce concrete results, the cabinet’s action highlighted the precarious situation island nations find themselves in vis-à-vis climate change and its ramifications.
Thus, what is being done to address this issue, not only in terms of the future effects of climate change, but with regard to the challenges island nations face today? The region containing the most such island nations is the South Pacific, which is commonly associated with picture perfect beaches and coral reefs, but is also confronted with the same issues emphasized by the Maldivian government. Among a few other programs, the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change program (PACC) seeks to specifically address the present challenges generated by climate change. While acknowledging the need for a long-term strategy, PACC recognizes the need to tie in climate change considerations into present development policies, and aims to do so through a mixture of policy reforms and technical advice.
This paper will outline PACC’s principle mechanisms, financial structure and objectives in the context of the particular situation of South Pacific island nations in terms of the climate change challenge. The US role will then be analyzed within a theoretical framework including interrelated aspects of diplomacy, security as well as humanitarianism. The background factors around US involvement in the project will be filtered in within this discussion. Given that this is an ongoing project with few tangible results, it will be assessed according to its principles and design.
- Quote paper
- Tim Pfefferle (Author), 2013, Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change , Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/214290