The impacts of a rapidly changing climate are severe at Tongareva. We are the worst affected atoll in the Cook Islands. Although we only have a few people living here, and our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are very small ~ the problem is that every molecule of CO2 entering the atmosphere makes global warming worse. Conversely, every molecule we avoid helps us.
On 4th November 2016 the Paris Agreement on Climate Change became international law. Almost 200 countries signed up promising to limit global temperature increases to well below 2 Celsius above the pre-industrial average.
Carbon dioxide & other greenhouse gasesThese greenhouse gases (GHGs) accumulate in the atmosphere, reflecting infra-red energy back to Earth again instead of releasing it into space. This causes our planet to become warmer, but it has other impacts too, such as making the oceans more acidic. Most GHGs come from human activities that use gas, petrol, diesel or coal (generating power, driving, flying on holiday etc.) ~ in other words most things we do.
How can we fix this problem? We ask all 8 billion people on Earth to cut back their fuel use. Easy? Not a chance!