Updated  
August, 01 2013 12:11:54

Climate 'catastrophe' looms in Pacific: Marshall Islands

SYDNEY – The Marshall Islands has warned of a Pacific "climate catastrophe" that will wipe it off the map without decisive action on global warming, saying the next 12 months are critical.

Tony de Brum, minister in assistance to the Marshall Islands' president, is in Australia making the case for a major climate declaration at the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum it will host in September which he has insisted US Secretary of State John Kerry must attend.

De Brum hopes the so-called Majuro Declaration can be presented to the United Nations General Assembly to help renew global efforts on emissions reduction as the Pacific region confronts rising seas and growing numbers of so-called climate refugees.

"Our hosting of the forum comes at the cusp of the most important geopolitical period for the region since World War II," de Brum told reporters at a briefing in Sydney on Thursday, adding the next 12 months "are critical to addressing climate change."

"Business as usual will lead to a climate catastrophe and time is running out. "We feel very strongly that if (Kerry) does not attend it would be a slap in the face and like the United States would be reversing its so-called pivot to the Pacific," he added.

De Brum said the tiny Pacific atoll of 55,000 people, which stands at an average of just two metres above sea level, was already feeling the impacts of global warming with an unprecedented seven-month drought in the north and a devastating king tide earlier this year triggering disaster declarations.

"During my lifetime I have seen an island in the lagoon of Majuro atoll, the capital centre of the Marshall Islands, disappear from the surface of the Earth," he said.

"We do not have scientists measuring this that and the other, we have experienced first-hand the effects of climate change... It is not something that is down the road or at the turn of the century."

De Brum said the Marshalls government was already ferrying food and drinking water to 13 outer island communities due to drought-linked shortages that were threatening the export of copra, the dried-out flesh of coconuts from which oil is extracted, which underpinned its economy.

There had also been a "marked increase" in what he described as climate refugees from neighbouring Kiribati and Tuvalu and he said the government expected similar movements out of the Marshalls itself in coming years, with a two-metre sea level rise predicted by the World Bank before the end of the century.

"This would fundamentally alter the world as we see it and be the end of my country, the end of Kiribati, the end of Tuvalu and many other countries like it."AFP

Send Us Your Comments:
Name:
Your E-mail address:
Title:
 

VietNamNews may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.

Highlight

Viet Nam issues directive to prevent Ebola outbreak 1    Viet Nam issues directive to prevent Ebola outbreak

People from countries affected by the Ebola outbreak in the last 21 days, will have to sign a medical declaration before entering Viet Nam from August 15.

Overseas PhDs fail to guarantee jobs 2    Overseas PhDs fail to guarantee jobs

People who earn their PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) abroad on State budget money, often return home to find their employment chances are relatively dim.

Elephants at risk in Dak Lak 1    Elephants at risk in Dak Lak

Elephant numbers are falling rapidly in Dak Lak Province and local authorities are struggling to protect the giant animals from the threat of extinction.

Mui Ne rated 2nd most beautiful beach in Southeast Asia 2    Mui Ne rated 2nd most beautiful beach in Southeast Asia

Mui Ne beach in the central province of Binh Thuan has been rated by travel guide Canadian Travellers as one of the 11 most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia.

New fleet of tuna vessels to set sail in September New fleet of tuna vessels to set sail in September

The Ship Institute at the University of Nha Trang and the Yanmar Company of Japan last Saturday launched a composite-hulled tuna fishing ship in Nha Trang City.