10 Dec 2009

Kiribati joins Tuvalu's call for binding climate deal

4:14 pm on 10 December 2009

Kiribati says it's backing Tuvalu's push for a legally binding agreement at the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Tuvalu's proposal for stronger measures to fight climate change brought a halt to negotiations at the conference after it was opposed by more industrialised developing states.

Tuvalu is also asking for more open discussion on the proposal, and for it to complement the existing Kyoto protocol, because it fears that a fresh agreement in Copenhagen would not be legally binding.

Kiribati's foreign secretary and climate change spokesperson, Tessie Lambourne, says a legally binding agreement is essential for her country's survival.

"As developed countries and major emitters are fighting over who should lead and who should follow there are people out there, like our people in Kiribati who are now paying."

Tessie Lambourne says Kiribati is already discussing with Australia plans to relocate its people because it will become uninhabitable if current estimates of sea level rises become reality.