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As a small island state, Palau is at risk from rising sea-levels and warming oceans. In the face of growing impacts to the country’s resources, infrastructure and livelihoods, the government is proactively working to combat these threats, exemplified by the decision to partner with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) in 2022.
Upon joining the Coalition, Palau’s Minister of Finance Kaleb Udui Jr. said, the ‘CCAC’s efforts to reduce short-lived climate pollutants aligns with Palau’s priorities, as Palau is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, it is in our interest to take further action to protect the environment our public health and the environment that promotes food and energy security and addresses near term climate change and air pollution issues.”
The Republic of Palau is comprised of approximately 350 islands in the western Pacific. Although Palau’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is minimal - Pacific SIDS contribute less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions - the country’s costal geography means that Palau is faced with some of the most devastating impacts of climate change. For this reason, the government alongside other SIDS has been a longstanding advocate of fast climate action, including being highly engaged at UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties, and developing policy such as Palau’s 2015 Climate Change Policy: For Climate and Disaster Resilient Low Emissions Development, which works towards low carbon emission development and the protection of protect carbon sinks.
As President Whipps stated at COP26, “We see the scorching sun is giving us intolerable heat, the warming sea is invading us, the strong winds are blowing us every which way, our resources are disappearing before our eyes and our future is being robbed from us.” SLCPs are in the atmosphere for a relatively short amount of time – a few days to a few decades – meaning they respond very quickly to reduction efforts. Fast action on SLCPs has the potential to reduce the rate of sea-level rise by about 20% in the first half of this century. By 2100, cutting both carbon dioxide and short-lived climate pollutants could reduce the rate of sea-level rise by up to 50%, which would give SIDS time to adapt.
Palau is a signatory to the Global Methane Pledge (GMP), which commits the country to the collective goal of reducing global methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030. Methane reduction in the waste sector will be a priority area in Palau's enhanced NDC, as most of Palau's 19.35 kt of CO2 equivalent methane emissions stem from the waste sector. This renewed focus on waste aligns with Palau’s GMP commitment.
Palau has worked extensively on solid waste management projects preparing assessments and expanding its capacity and solid waste management facilities through the construction and management of landfill sites, thus far the priority has been addressing environmental pollution like leachate treatment. With the support of the CCAC Palau will continue to focus on cutting SLCP emissions, especially the methane emissions from waste.