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human activity and the destruction of the planet


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Australian PM waters down Pacific Islands declaration on climate change

The 50th meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum met in Tuvalu on 13th – 16th August 2019.  During the meetings a declaration was produced on the climate change crisis. Australian PM, Scott Morrison, and his parliament had been working to dilute the language in the declaration; they succeeded in removing the word “crisis”, as well as removing all but one reference to coal.  Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Enele Sopoaga, said that it looked as if Pacific leaders would not be successful in getting the language of “climate change crisis” into the declaration, with the words “climate change reality” being substituted.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, middle, watered down a climate crisis resolution this week at the Pacific Islands Forum.

Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, (centre) at the Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific leaders have been strident in their calls for urgent action on the climate crisis at the forum in Tuvalu, one of the countries most at risk due to climate change. It is affected by rising temperatures as well as rising sea levels, erosion, tide inundations and salinity in the water table that makes growing food very difficult. Many on the islands believe their country will be submerged within their lifetimes, forcing them to leave.

On Monday, the Fijian prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, called for Australia “to do everything possible to achieve a rapid transition from coal to energy sources that do not contribute to climate change”, saying coal posed an “existential threat” to Pacific islands.

“Watered-down climate language has real consequences,” said Bainimarama, “like water-logged homes, schools, communities, and ancestral burial grounds.”

After a joint press conference, Enele Sopoaga said he had told the Australian prime minister during the retreat: “You are concerned about saving your economies, your situation in Australia, I’m concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu and likewise other leaders of small island countries.”

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama was similarly critical of the declaration’s stymied content.

It was reported that the Prime Minister of Tonga had cried at the retreat while talking about two young women who had presented to leaders on Monday about the impacts of the climate crisis in Tonga.

Further information about the plight of many Pacific Island groups can be found in another blog on this site entitled: “The effects of rising sea levels on island nations”.



Tuvalu’s plight:

2Tuvalu

Climate change on Tuvalu

From: http://klima-tuvalu.no/tuvalu-and-climate-change/the-consequences-of-climate-change-on-tuvalu/

The nine islands of Tuvalu are located in the middle of the Pacific. Funafuti, the main island and capital, is at 1000 km North of Fiji. Tuvalu became, notably thanks to the climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, the international symbol of the consequences of climate change. Sea-level rise, one of the most known consequences, is a major threat for Tuvalu, considering that this country’s highest point is 4,5 meters over sea-level (whereas most of the land is way below that point). The consequences of climate change will have and already have considerable impacts on these islands.

In the National Adaptation Programme of Actions (NAPA), the government of Tuvalu has identified seven main and immediate threats for the livelihoods of Tuvaluans. These seven adverse effects are presented here:

Coastal: Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea-level has already risen by 20 centimetres between 1870 and nowadays. Considering the low-lying position of Tuvalu, this trend is going to dangerously affect the islands. The objective of the government is to increase the resilience of coastal areas and settlement to climate change.

Agricultural: Due to sea-level rise, the ground of Tuvalu is prone to increasing salinization, threatening the habitats of some plants, such as pulaka and coconut trees. Considering that Pulaka traditionally is the staple food in Tuvalu, the adaptation strategy is to introduce salt-tolerant pulaka.

Water: The islands of Tuvalu have progressively lost their fresh groundwater resources, not only due to sea-level rise, but also because of human pollution. In consequence, Tuvaluans only rely on rainwater storage to meet their needs. However, the seasons on Tuvalu are getting irregular and difficult to forecast, leading to droughts and water shortage. In order to ameliorate this situation, the adaptation plan recommends improved and increased water collection and water conservation techniques.

Health: Vectors breeding grounds will have an increasing availability in the next years and decades because of higher tides, inundations and tropical cyclones. The increased availability will exacerbate the exposure of the Tuvaluans to water borne diseases and will increase the epidemic potential of the islands.

Fisheries: Climate change, heating the ocean water, impacts the corals and consequently the marine fauna. The biodiversity of the ocean, and also, in the case of Tuvalu, of the atolls will decrease. In order to prevent this irreparable lost of species due to heat, fragile ecosystems have to be protected.

Fisheries: The biodiversity of the atoll and particularly in the shallower water in the lagoon, will not be the only affected by the impacts of the rising surface water temperature. The rising temperatures will also considerably reduce the shellfish and available fish resources. Considering that the Tuvaluans, on average, eat 500 grams of fish per capita every day, a reduction of the resource will have a disastrous impact of the livelihoods and, thus, also on development.

Disaster: Tuvalu has been increasingly exposed to tropical storms and cyclones since 1990.  Between 1970 and 1990, only three tropical storms, hurricanes or cyclones struck Tuvalu. However, between 1990 and 2005, the islands experienced thirteen similar meteorological events. In order to ease the impacts of the population, the country will have to implement disaster alerts and response systems.

These different threats that Tuvalu is or will be experiencing in the next years or decades are similar to all Small Island Developing States.



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Pacific Climate Warriors: Declaration on Climate Change

Climate change poses a direct threat to our homes and our people. The continuous burning of fossil fuels is leading to accelerated sea level rise,  longer more intense heat waves, and exacerbated natural disasters. At the rate that the developed world is digging up and burning fossil fuels, climate change will continue to have disastrous impacts on those who have done the least to cause these problems.

For more than two decades, negotiations have failed to deliver the action required to protect our homes and livelihoods from dangerous climate change. Communities everywhere are stepping up to ensure that their voices are heard and that the leadership vacuum left by world leaders is filled and they deliver the change we need at the pace we need to avoid catastrophic climate change. We, the Pacific Climate Warriors, on behalf of the communities we are from, call for more ambitious action on climate change from our world leaders.

THE DECLARATION

This year, with Fiji confirmed as the President of COP 23, the Pacific region will show the world what true climate leadership is. We will highlight for the world what climate change in the Pacific looks like and how inaction on climate change exacerbates that threat.

As Pacific Climate Warriors from across the Pacific region representing various grassroots, frontline and indigenous communities, and with support from around the world, we are calling for world leaders to commit to building a better, more just world for ourselves and for generations to come.

In order to do this, we call for:

The immediate phase-out of existing fossil fuel projects — the banning of all new fossil fuel infrastructure, shutting down of existing ones and canceling planned expansions. This should also coincide with commitments to rapidly transition towards 100% renewable energy, by no later than 2050.

Immediately deliver the finance and support needed for countries already facing irreversible loss and damage. As well as the immediate establishment of adaptation mechanisms to cope with ongoing climate impacts.

The prohibition of the fossil fuel industry from participating in the UNFCCC processes so that they can no longer delay, weaken and block action on climate change.

The actioning of everything the Paris Agreement called for, including international efforts to ensure global average temperatures do not exceed 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels.

Climate change is real and impacting now, and it’s imperative that we stand up for the Pacific, and the global community, and act now to avoid further climate catastrophe. This COP should be about the people, not the profits and the polluters.

Sign the Declaration

We are calling for world leaders to commit to building a better, more just world for ourselves and for generations to come. Climate change is real and impacting now, and it’s imperative that we stand up for the Pacific, and the global community, and act now to avoid further climate catastrophe. This COP should be about the people, not the profits and the polluters. We call on the world to:

  • End the era of fossil fuels and move to 100% renewable energy.
  • Support the immediate delivery of finance needed for countries already facing irreversible loss and damage.
  • Kick the big polluters out of the climate talks.
  • Do what is needed to limit warming to 1.5°C.
 The declaration can be signed at: https://haveyoursei.org/?source=conf&utm_medium=email&utm_source=actionkit

A video from the Pacific Climate Warriors is shown below:

 

The Pacific Climate Warriors have now gathered in Germany, in one of Germany’s biggest coal producing areas, to draw attention to this and to campaign at the COP23 Climate Change Conference.  Further details of this can be found at:

https://350.org/cop23-live-blog/?akid=28746.3178943.2nWnSA&rd=1&t=9&utm_medium=email&utm_source=actionkit

20th November 2017

The COP23 conference is now over but the Pacific Climate Warriors feel very much empowered by it, designating 2018 as a year of local action.

Here is another video that they have produced:

https://gofossilfree.org/?akid=29706.3178943.gC1gGy&rd=1&t=8&utm_medium=email&utm_source=actionkit