Natural resources, energy and environment
The Marshall Islands’ natural riches are mainly found in the sea, such as fish, seafood and seagrass. High-grade phosphate, which is used in both industry and agriculture (fertilizers), is extracted in the country.
Energy consumption is covered by imported oil. The government aims to replace the expensive oil imports with solar power. The goal is for 20 percent of energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Marshall Islands with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Because the country’s highest point reaches only ten meters above sea level, the Marshall Islands are at risk of being submerged as seawater levels rise due to climate change. In 1989, a UN report was published warning that global warming could cause seawater levels to rise 3.7 meters by 2030. This would mean that basically the whole country ended up underwater. In 2002, the UN Climate Panel (IPCC) predicted that 80 percent of the capital city Majuro would be submerged during the current century (2000s).
In 2011, the Marshallese government identified climate change as “by far the biggest threat” to the nation. Together with other low-lying island nations in Oceania, the Marshall Islands in the UN context have demanded a legally binding climate agreement. One of these was pushed through at the end of 2015 at the COP21 climate meeting in Paris. It is a so-called framework agreement that will guide climate work for the world’s countries for a long time to come. In July of the same year, the Marshallese government announced plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 32 percent of 2010 levels by 2025 and by 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, MH stands for Marshall Islands. Visit itypeusa for more information about Marshall Islands.
Partly as a result of rising seawater levels, the Marshall Islands are subject to erosion (land destruction) that damages roads, runways for aviation and other infrastructure. The soil destruction is also caused by storms, heavy rain and other bad weather.
A third environmental problem is the remnants of radioactive fallout from US nuclear weapons explosions over the atolls during the 1940s and 1950s (see Modern History).
Periodically, the Marshall Islands are affected by severe drought, with a water shortage as a result. The greatest risk is in the north where it rains less, especially during the period December to April. 90 percent of the fresh water in the country comes from rain.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
614 kilos of oil equivalent (2007)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
103,000 tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
1.9 tons (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
11.2 percent (2015)