Island nations around the globe have been making great strides in attempting to do their part in reducing climate change. These island nations generally emit very little greenhouse gas emissions but their very livelihoods and islands are threatened with the worst effects of climate change, particularly rising seas. The steps islands have taken should be an example to larger nations, with large GDPs, to make more efforts as well.
Tuvalu, a small Southern Pacific nation of only 12,000 people, has committed to using only renewable energy by the year 2020. The Maldives, the smallest nation in Asia consisting of 1,192 islands, plans to be carbon neutral by the year 2020. Many island nations have also come together during the UN climate talks in order to push for quicker resolutions and implementation of greenhouse gas reductions.
Now the New Zealand territory of Tokelau is switching entirely to solar energy to reduce their costs and carbon footprint. Located between New Zealand and Hawaii, the territory consists of three atolls: Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu, with a total of only about 1,500 people all told.
The islands are generally dependent upon diesel fuel in order to produce electricity. This costs the islands considerable fees to get the diesel in addition to the diesel costs. Diesel is also a great contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. With a switch to solar energy, the territory will be able to reduce emissions and use the money allocated for diesel for social issues on the islands.
New Zealand contributed the $7 million for the project which was just finished this month. All three atolls are now equipped with solar panels in order to attain enough energy for the individual atolls. Tokelau is said to be the first territory around the world to be completely reliant on renewable energy, in this case all solar.