Prospective StudentsInternational StudentCurrent StudentProa PortalSummer AvatarROTC Avatar

Marianas Variety: EPA official discusses climate change

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 Manager John McCaroll spoke about the impact of climate change on the Pacific islands during a seminar Monday at Northern Marianas College.

Students, educators, environmental activists and other members of the community, including U.S. Department of the Interior/Office of Insular Affairs CNMI field representative Harry C. Blanco, attended the seminar.

Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality lead coastal planner Erin Derrington spoke about what the CNMI is doing relative to climate change.

NMC program coordinator Alfredo B. de Torres, PhD, facilitated the seminar.

According to McCaroll, there had already been seven storms by May 2015. In August, Typhoon Soudelor hit Saipan.

Aside from an “unprecedented number of storms,” he said climate change has also resulted in rising sea levels.

He said the sea level in the Western Pacific has risen by 25 percent, and is projected to rise one to four feet in the future.

There have been more floods — four in Majuro, the Marshall Islands — since 2013, and long droughts on other islands, said McCaroll who attributed these to climate change.

This is why EPA came up with a “clean power plan,” he added.

The agency has adopted the first national standard to address carbon pollution from power plants, and has proposed rules to cut carbon emissions from existing coal power plants 30 percent by 2013, he said.

McCaroll said EPA fought hard to regulate carbon emissions from industrial sources. Aside from a record 4.3 million comments they received, the agency was also sued in several states to delay the implementation of the rule, he added.

EPA, so far, has won all court cases, he said, which means the agency can regulate carbon emissions from industrial sources such as coal power plants.

The CNMI is exempted from regulation, McCaroll noted.

As for EPA’s efforts in the Pacific islands, these include water infrastructure funding to build resiliency, coral reef and shoreline protection and technical support and assistance.

The U.S. Office of Insular Affairs has also been doing its part, Blanco said in an interview after the seminar.

He said OIA this year provided funding to the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative so it can conduct workshops and come up with a plan to address climate change.

“This is one of President Obama’s priorities,” he added. “Funding is provided to Interior and OIA meets with the insular areas and gathers all the stakeholders.”

In a climate change stakeholders meeting in June, he added, island government representatives got together to develop a vulnerability assessment.

The next step is to work on the implementation of an adaptation plan, Blanco said.

The Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative, he added, has been going around the Pacific. They were on Guam last week and are headed to American Samoa this week.

“We are just in the initial phase,” Blanco said. “It was just last year that we started this, and we are likely to have follow-up meetings to get everybody together again and see what they have been doing. It is an ongoing work.”

:::  Back to NMC News list  :::

Notice to Persons with Disabilities

Northern Marianas College (NMC) is committed to ensuring that all persons have equal access to its programs, opportunities, and information resources, including those on its institutional website in accordance to the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

We apologize for any inconvenience as we work on bringing NMC’s website into full compliance. For immediate assistance, please contact Lucille Deleon Guerrero by email [email protected] or by calling (670) 237-6874.

If you wish to report an issue related to the accessibility of any content on NMC’s website, including a complaint about the accessibility of a document, form, or statement, you may do so by contacting the NMC’s IT Department by email at [email protected]. In your email please include the following information:

  1. The URL you are having accessibility issues with;
  2. The accessibility issue your are experiencing;
  3. Your name, phone number, and email address.

If you would like to file a formal grievance against the Northern Marianas College pursuant to the requirements of Section 504 and Title II, you may submit such grievance to the Office of the NMC President, P.O. Box 501250, Saipan MP 96950 or email [email protected].

You may also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Office for Civil Rights. More information about filing a complaint with USDOE can be found at