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Kiribati Urges UN To Tackle Global Warming

Small, Remote Nation Of Kiribati Urges UN To Tackle Global Warming

New York, Sep 20 2006 1:00PM

The Vice President of Kiribati, a tiny, remote Pacific Ocean country, has appealed to the United Nations to intensify the international response to the problem of global warming.

“Consisting of low-lying coral atolls, Kiribati is particularly vulnerable to the impact of global warming and sea level rise,” Teima Onorio told the General Assembly’s annual debate on Tuesday. “For countries such as Kiribati, global warming and sea level rise are critical security issues.”

She welcomed the support her country has received in adjusting to the changes wrought by global warming, but added, “there is a limit to how far we can adapt.” Rising sea levels will affect Kiribati’s groundwater supply and gradually erode whatever land is available on its 33 islands, she noted.

“Yes, we could always move inland to avoid the rising sea levels. But with our narrow islands if we move inland, too far we risk falling into either the lagoon or the ocean.”

Vice President Onorio reiterated Kiribati’s long-standing call for a unified international response to global warming.

“We have been disappointed with the lack of consensus on these critical environment issues. Indeed, we deplore the notion that economic growth should take precedence over environmental issues when the quest for that growth will threaten the very survival of some members of this Organization,” she said.

ends

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