Unite on climate or sink togetherSouce:Xinhua Publish By Gloria C. Gonzales Updated 04/09/2013 9:47 pm in Technology / no comments
Gathering in the Marshall Islands for a key Pacific island forum, Pacific state leaders and climate change experts have called for a united global approach to combat the doomsday futures already apparent in many low-lying pacific nations.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 44th Pacific Island Forum, Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, told Xinhua that the climate change crisis was no longer simply an environmental issue.
The Marshall Islands, a cluster of some 34 atolls with a population of 65,000, has now hosted the forum twice, the last time in 1996, when the now sandbagged airport was free from tidal surges.
“Don’t think that climate change is an environmental issue, it’s an issue about how we create the future wealth and growth. And if we don’t start acting accordingly then it will harm the future growth of the planet,” said Hedegaard.
Referring to China and Australia’s recent decision to follow the European Union’s price on carbon, the former Danish minister said global consensus was crystallizing around the need for concrete action.
“We have arrived at the same conclusion as China – If you want to be serious about climate change, you have to get the economic conditions right.”
Europe is the global leading provider of climate finance and by 2014, several EU member states and the European Commission have pledged to provide some 7 billion euro, with much of that effort apparent in the pacific.
However access to climate funds and the patience that goes with their delivery has been fraying nerves here, as the seas continue to rise.
Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna told Xinhua that Pacific Island Forum leaders were driven by the urgency of the global challenge.
“The fact is that for most of us it is now simply a matter of life and death, so you can understand the passion driven by desperation.”
Puna told Xinhua that partnerships remain at the heart of the challenge.
According to the Islands Business International magazine, China, New Zealand and the Cook Islands have agreed to cooperate on managing the troubled water systems in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands ‘ main island.
“China, for example, is one that is coming out and taking a lead and one that is giving us a lot of comfort,” he said.
Hedegaard was also encouraged by China’s determination to cap carbon emissions and lead the fight on climate change.
“I believe the Chinese leadership is serious about what they want to do with climate change.”
Speaking during a break in Pacific Island Forum discussions, Hedegaard lauded China for very clearly establishing that the most efficient process to use the cap and trade market based mechanism.
“That’s exactly what we’ve been doing in Europe and we’re very keen to work with the Chinese on their schemes,” She added.
“In the European Commission we’ve been working with the Chinese in constructing their emissions trading scheme and I think it is extremely positive that in Shenzhen now you have a pilot scheme coming up and others will follow.”
In this June, Shenzhen, the city in south China’s Guangdong Province, launched a carbon trading scheme, China’s first market for compulsory carbon trading. The scheme covers 635 industrial companies and some public buildings that account for about 40 percent of the city’s carbon emissions, the Shenzhen carbon trade exchange said in a statement.
China’s pilot schemes alone are expected to represent the second largest emissions trading market in the world larger than those in California, Australia and New Zealand combined.
A united global stance against global warming remains the focus of this year’s forum, with the theme Marshaling the Pacific’s Response to Climate Change.
In his opening address this week, Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak reiterated the disasters facing pacific nations and pledged to work with global partners in and outside the forum to combat global warming.
“The world is indeed taking action,” he said, “but together we are all falling well short.”
The Pacific Island Forum runs until Friday.