Tuvalu turns to solar energy – against rising seas
With a highest point 4.5 metres above sea level, the Pacific island state of Tuvalu plans to shift to generate all electricity from renewable energies by 2020, hoping to push other countries to follow suit to fight global warming.
These solar panels (left) on the main soccer stadium in Funafuti, the capital, are the first step in the plan to end dependence on fossil fuels and slow climate change blamed for pushing up world sea levels. Tuvalu’s goal is to generate all electricity from wind, solar and other green sources.
By contrast, European Union nations have among the most ambitious goals among developed countries, aiming to get 20 percent of all energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Tuvalu’s plan – story here – will cost more than $20 million and will require a lot depend heavily on aid from abroad. That’s a big cost for each of the atolls’ 12,000 citizens – $1,666 – but can have other benefits such as avoiding tanker spills from imported oil.
And the plan sounds to me exactly the sort of “measureable, reportable and verifiable” actions to offset climate change that are being demanded of developing nations in U.N. negotiations on a new climate treaty due to be agreed in December.
The Maldives in the Indian Ocean have set an even more ambitious goal of becoming the first “carbon neutral” nation over the next decade. The archipelago plans to shift to wind and solar power and buy carbon credits to offset emissions from tourists flying to visit its luxury vacation resorts.
So if Tuvalu or the Maldives can go green, so can others?
(Photo credits: e8 group of 10 utilities from the Group of Eight industrialised nations who backed the installation of the solar panels)