5 Dec 2007

Pacific island delegates at UN meeting call for urgent change

10:42 pm on 5 December 2007

Pacific Island delegates at the United Nations climate change gathering in Indonesia are stressing the urgent need for larger, developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Pacific island states are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Nearly 190 nations have gathered at the UN Bali meeting, which aims to see nations agree to negotiate a new regime to combat climate change when the current phase of Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.

But activists say new targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would do little to help Pacific islanders who are expected to have to eventually flee from their homes due to sea-level rise.

Ursula Rakova, from the low-lying Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea, told delegates that relocation for her people is their only means of building a future as their islands shrink.

Tangaroa Arobati, a global warming activist from Kiribati, said protecting their land was a non-negotiable option for Pacific people as land is their heritage and it is at critical risk.

Tony Mohr, of the Australian Conservation Foundation said that climate change predictions often forcast change in the distant future.

But he said that cultures and communities of the Pacific are already experiencing climate change.