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Islands of Climate Innovation

Large developed countries often continue to finance new fossil-fuel projects in small island states that are disproportionately affected by climate change. Donors and lenders should instead help these islands to become laboratories for testing innovative clean-energy technologies.

ORANJESTAD – To live in a small island state today is to reckon regularly with the cruelest irony of climate change. Islands contribute little to global warming, but they are the first to suffer from its devastating effects and the least equipped to manage them.

As carbon dioxide emissions from larger, wealthier industrialized countries continue to warm the planet, rising sea levels claim these islands’ territory. Furthermore, massive hurricanes like Maria and Irma, strengthened beyond historic norms by unnaturally warm waters, destroy homes and power systems, leaving death, destruction, and illness in their wake.

As these threats become the new normal, small island states are finding solidarity in common vulnerabilities. We are also sharing a newfound spirit of resilience, and are committed to working together to help the world combat climate change. More specifically, our islands can serve as ideal laboratories for testing innovative clean-energy technologies.

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