World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Young Pacific Islander stands up to world leaders


Young Pacific Islander stands up to world leaders

"This may be your meeting but my home is drowning," Young Pacific Islander stands up to world leaders.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Poznan, Poland, December 9, 2008- A young Pacific Islander has issued a challenge to world leaders at the UN climate change talks, telling them to stop paying lip service and show the political will to fast track negotiations.
"Now is the time to get serious about climate action. The longer governments take to act, the more difficult it is to ensure the world's survival," said Leah Wickham, a Greenpeace volunteer from Fiji who is part of a youth delegation in Poznan.

Addressing a mass rally last night at Poznan's Plac Wolnosci, Ms Wickham said although the Pacific Islands are responsible for less than 1 percent of annual global emissions, her home is at the front-line of climate change impacts.

People from the Pacific and her small island states are victims of climate change brought about by massive emissions from developed countries.
"We are at risk of losing the islands we call home, our culture and our identity if this meeting does not move forward," she said.

Ms Wickham called on Australia, New Zealand and the United States to negotiate strong emission reduction targets to ensure that the global temperature rise is kept as far below 2 degrees as possible.

"If they fail to do so, they will literally be signing the death warrants of South Pacific islanders," Ms Wickham said.

"Can these rich countries sleep at night knowing that we will drown?". This might be your meeting, but the Pacific Islands is my home. In the end, Climate change does not discriminate. It is not just the Pacific islands which are at risk but our planet," said Ms Wickham.

While many developing countries are being constructive, there is virtually no leadership from the industrialised world.

"The only visionary leadership at these talks is coming from the smallest country with the most to lose: Tuvalu, which has put forward its vision of a 1.5 degree C limit to temperature rise," said Greenpeace campaigner Dorothy Tekwie.

Ministers arrive in Poznan on Thursday and will discuss what is referred to as a "shared vision" which should lay out ambitious goals for avoiding a climate catastrophe and set the parameters for a global
agreement in Copenhagen at the end of next year but there appears to be little common ground around this, with many developed countries reluctant to put forward targets for emissions reductions.

Ms Tekwie said Ministers had a real opportunity to take strong action to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Also under discussion at Poznan are the rules surrounding the climate impacts of deforestation.

The South Pacific has large areas of untouched tropical forests which are a tremendous carbon storehouse that must be maintained to avoid catastrophic global warming.

"Protecting forests for climate needs to be done properly," Ms Tekwie said

"Industrialised countries cannot use combatting deforestation to offset their own emissions at home because that would not help reduce greenhouse pollution, and our islands would still bear the brunt.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


ITUC: Nobel Prize In Economics Explodes Minimum Wage And Jobs Myth

The prize was awarded to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for real-world research in the 1990s that demonstrated, empirically, that the idea touted by conservative economists that higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs is not based on fact... More>>

Science Media Centre: New South Wales Opens Up For Fully-vaccinated – Aus SMC Expert Reaction
Sydney has partially eased Covid-19 restrictions for fully-vaccinated individuals after NSW reached its target of 70 per cent of the population double-dosed. The Australian Science Media Centre has asked experts about the possible risks of the country opening up again...More>>

Nobel Peace Prize: Journalists Who ‘Speak Truth To Power’ Recognized

Two campaigning journalists were awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, which UN Secretary-General António Guterres said was recognition that a free press is “essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights – and the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions”...

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>

COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>

UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>