Clean Water Initiative like Shuffling Deck Chairs on Titanic
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Prime Minister John Key's announcement of a $5 million clean water initiative for five low-lying Pacific countries is "a bit like shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic" according to youth climate change group Generation Zero.
The announcement came today at the 44th Pacific Island Forum in the Marshall Islands, one of the countries that will receive the support.
"We applaud the Government's sentiment in supporting these vulnerable Pacific nations to deal with the rising seas and increase in extreme weather events happening today as a consequence of greenhouse gas emissions," said Generation Zero spokesperson Paul Young.
"However, this offer will be cold comfort for the people in these countries in light of New Zealand's extremely weak and inadequate pledge to reduce emissions just five percent below 1990 levels by 2020."
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change advises that to keep warming below the globally-agreed two degree limit, developed countries should collectively reduce emissions 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Many countries including the UK, Germany and Denmark have unconditional targets in that range.
A week ago, Marshall Islands Government minister Tony de Brum labelled New Zealand's emissions pledge "so, so meaningless".
"The fact is if every country in the world does as little as New Zealand is promsing then it's highly likely many low-lying Pacific nations will become uninhabitable this century and completely disappear off the map some time in the future," said Mr Young.
"The science on sea level rise says if we can keep warming well below two degrees there's a decent chance of keeping long-term sea level rise to less than a metre."
"To give our Pacific neighbours a fair and fighting chance New Zealand needs to up its game on reducing carbon pollution, rather than just give handouts."
For an overview of the science on sea level rise, see: http://www.skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise-predictions-basic.html