Opinion

PM Steps Up Climate Fight

This is a transcript of Nemani Delaibatiki’s My Say in the 4 The Record programme on FBC Television last night   If Australia and New Zealand are our real and
02 Oct 2015 10:30
PM Steps Up Climate Fight

This is a transcript of Nemani Delaibatiki’s My Say in the 4 The Record programme on FBC Television last night

 

If Australia and New Zealand are our real and genuine friends then they must support us in our international campaign to lower carbon emissions and arrest the process of global warming.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has made a direct plea to his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull has been a strong advocate on measures to combat climate change before he became PM. Since becoming PM, he has not shown any tangible evidence that he has moved away from the position of his predecessor Tony Abbott who paid lip service to the plight of small island states like Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Niue and others.

Australia is the biggest polluter in the region because it is the biggest coal producer and user in this region.

Coal is the dirtiest energy source and it should be eliminated in our push for cleaner alternatives. But the cries of these small island states for industrialised developed countries to take their plight seriously have largely been ignored.

Kiribati and Tuvalu, for example, are gradually being swamped by the rise in sea level and the encroaching tide.

Unless the international community takes serious and drastic action these small island states are doomed.

The latest disturbing information is what Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama disclosed at the close of the Pacific Ministers’ meeting on Strengthening Climate Change Resilience at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau in Nadi on Wednesdaynight. Mr Bainimarama said he felt a deep sense of foreboding.

He feared that Cop-21 UN climate conference in Paris next month “can be a cop out”.

Mr Bainimarama said five weeks away from the United Nations conference, he had yet to detect the necessary political will of the industrialised nations to face up to their obligation to humanity to effectively confront this crisis.

Time is running out and that’s probably why the PM made a direct plea to his Australian counterpart.

He told Malcolm Turnball: “Make good on your previous strong stance in favour of deep and binding cuts in carbon emissions.

“Do not do deals with those who have enabled you to gain high office and betray your principles and our position”

Mr Turnbull has been a strong advocate for measures against climate change before he became PM.

Mr Bainimarama said Australia and New Zealand “ have failed to back us in this struggle.”

“The Australian Government, in particular, seems intent on putting its own immediate economic interests first.

It’s a shame that the world’s biggest polluters are dragging their feet about cutting carbon emissions

It looks like the Paris conference will just be another talk fest.

The success of that conference will depend on whether the developed and industrialised countries will sign a commitment to limit the global average temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels and the document is legally binding.

The indications are not positive that we are going to get this outcome. This would have been a wonderful opportunity for these developed countries to show a bit of compassion to the Small Island Developing States.

It just is not fair that we become victims of someone’s blatant disregard for human survival for greedy economic interests.

Mr Bainimarama has not called them the coalition of the selfish for nothing.  It’s a fitting description for countries who only think of themselves.

Three of our Pacific neighbours – Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands – are destined to physically sink beneath the waves altogether. In Fiji, coastal villagers are already feeling the effects of rising sea level because of global warming. In Qelekuro, Tailevu, their seawall has been breached and need a  new one to save their village.

They are not alone. Many other coastal villagers watch helplessly  as  more of their land are covered with water at high tide.

Relocation has now become an operative word in Fiji and its island neighbours.

The impact of climate change is huge for us.

Protecting our environment is part our frontline defence against climate change because we cannot control the external factors.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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