Friday, 26 September 2014

Climate change in the Pacific

As we prepare for Guy McPherson's visit to New Zealand in October attention is focussed on our neighbours in the South Pacific

I have received a message which said that Guy should be using his efforts " to try to convince government to make appropriate policy changes that will drive (quickly) the behaviour changes necessary to start to reduce NZ emissions"

With all due respect it's not. The vast majority of people are in denial. It has gone way beyond that.

If any political pressure is to be brought to bear, it is to persuade the government to provide assistance to our brothers and sisters in the Pacific.

With cretins like Tim Grosser ruling the show no show of that
Drought threat growing in Fiji
Reports from Fiji say the country is rapidly approaching a state of drought, with no substantial rainfall since the 17th of May

26 September, 2014
The director of the Fiji Meteorological Service, Alipate Waqaicelua, says there is no indication that rain will arrive soon.

He says hydro-electric power plants estimate another month before water levels reach critical levels and the government is already making supplementary diesel generators available.

A meeting today is expected to decide whether to declare a drought.
The Fiji Water Authority CEO, Opetaia Ravai, says the situation is under control and there are no official water restrictions in place yet.

But he says two of the three main water sources supplying Suva are below the critical level, and many in western residential areas need supplementary truck deliveries of water.

He says some rural villages and outer islands have also requested water deliveries and this is being barged to them by the Government.

Mr Ravia says the MET Service has reported the dry spell will continue until January next year.

Pacific leaders calling for action at UN climate change summit

24 September, 2014

Pacific representatives are among those calling for action from the hundreds of world leaders meeting at the UN summit on Climate Change in New York.
Earlier the Marshall Islands President released a video to demonstrate the need for other leaders to take action for what he described as a full-blown climate emergency.

Koro Vaka'uta reports on the various pleas coming out of the Marshall Islands and beyond.

In the days before the UN summit the Marshalls president Christopher Loeak's video spoke of the devastation his islands were suffering due to the effects of climate change, with unprecedented king tides and crippling droughts.

CHRISTOPHER LOEAK: The pieces of bush where I used to fish as a boy are already underwater and the freshwater we need to grow our foods gets saltier everyday. As scientists have predicted, some of our islands have already completely disappeared.

Mr Loeak is passionately pleading for world leaders to take action.

CHRISTOPHER LOEAK: We must send a strong and united message to the world and to the people we represent that we are ready to do a deal and to avoid the worst impacts this new deal must capture a vision for a carbon-free world by the middle of the century. Without it, no seawall will be high enough to save my country.

The Marshalls Director of Environmental Planning and Policy Bruce Kijiner agrees that other countries need to act and follow his country's lead.

BRUCE KIJINER: Like today, not tomorrow and not next week, today. We've done what we can from our end. Although we don't contribute anything to the pollution of the air, a miniscule amount of emissions from the Marshall Islands but we are already leading by demonstrating that we can do what we can from our end.

Mr Kijiner says the Marshall Islands government is trying to control water usage, use renewable energy sources and is working on a sustainable fishing plan.
Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner was chosen from 500 applicants to speak at the UN summit opening. She says the situation is desperate.

KATHY JETNIL-KIJINER: The price of inaction is so high. Those of us from Oceania are already experiencing it first hand. We've seen waves crashing into our homes and our breadfruit trees wither from the salt and drought. We look at our children and wonder how they will know themselves and their culture, should we lose our islands.

The President of Kiribati Anote Tong addressed the summit, calling for stronger leadership from the international community.

ANOTE TONG: We continue to procrastinate. We continue to ignore what the science is telling us and indeed what we are witnessing with our own eyes. We know that in order for us to make meaningful progress in addressing the challenges of climate change there is a need for strong and decisive, global leadership. So we must get away from the 'wait-and-see-who-is-doing-what' style of leadership, for the sake of our children and their children.

Mr Tong says the UN Summit should work towards tangible outputs before the next climate change conference in Paris next year.

ANOTE TONG: Many have asked what is it that I expect to come out of this summit or Paris 2015. My simple answer is always action. Action that would guarantee the future of our people can be secured.

Shirley Laban from the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network echoes the call for such leadership and was shocked to hear that the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers weren't attending the summit.

SHIRLEY LABAN: When we have our neighbours like Prime Minister Tony Abbott or John Key not attending it gives us a great disappointment. What will that mean? Do they have the concern for us as neighbours or what?

Ms Laban says climate change is being felt across the Pacific.

SHIRLEY LABAN: These are impacts that we face daily, they are at the forefront.  There are small islands that face sea-level rise.  Everyday there's islands that, for example here in Vanuatu we have islands that in the morning they're able to cook in the kitchen, by the time it's high tide their kitchen is covered with water.

Ms Laban says even if nothing concrete comes out of the UN Summit, her group and others will continue to speak out.

Ms Jetnil-Kijiner hopes their voices won't be isolated and she wants world leaders to include Pacific communities in any solution.

KATHY JETNIL-KIJINER: The people who support this movement are indigenous mother's like me, families like mine and millions more standing up for the changes needed and working to make them happen. I ask world leaders to take us all along on your ride. We won't slow you down. We'll help you win the most important race of all. The race to save humanity.

The poet read one of her pieces to the gathered leaders.  The 3 minute long poem was in the form of a letter to her baby daughter promising that she wouldn't let the climate change monster swallow her future.

KATHY JETNIL-KIJINER: Men say that one day that lagoon will devour you. They say it will gnaw at the shoreline and chew at the roots of your breadfruit trees, gulp down rows of seawalls and crunch through your island's shattered bones. 

They say you, your daughter and your granddaughter too, will wander rootless, with only a passport to call home. Dear Matafele Peinem, don't cry.

Ms Jetnil-Kiljiner says she will keep fighting against big business and political stubbornness to safeguard the generations to come.

RMI President Address to the World: "A clarion call from the climate change frontline"

As world leaders prepare to gather in New York for the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Christopher J. Loeak, has issued a powerful call to action on climate change in a video address to the world

Adapting to Climate Change in the small Pacific Islands: Looking Forward

Like the rest of the developing world, the Pacific is grappling with economic, cultural and social change.

But it also finds itself at the forefront of a struggle against the impacts of climate change.

Our story tonight highlights some of the challenges faced by Pacific Island communities and how they are adapting to this global crisis.

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