Pacific Island Nations Appeal for Australia to Rethink Climate Change Policy

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By Reissa Su | May 27, 2014 7:43 PM EST

Australia's Parliament House welcomed islanders from Pacific nations likely to be threatened by rising sea levels. The group of islanders performed a cultural dance in traditional dress and spoke about their concerns regarding climate change action.

Reuters
This four-metre resolution image, collected by Space Imaging's IKONOS satellite on April 16, 2001, shows Nikumaroro Island, an uninhabited Pacific coral atoll in the Republic of Kiribati. The atoll is located about 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii. REUTERS

According to ABC, delegates from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu are expected to meet with officials representing Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Environment Minister Greg Hunt. The islanders want to reduce carbon emissions and more help from Australia in addressing the effects of climate change.

Reports said Kiribati is about two to three metres above sea level, while Tuvalu is at least four metres. These low-lying island-nations are already facing the threat of rising sea levels and agriculture problems.

Maina Talia, a 29-year-old delegate from Tuvalu, wants Australia to consider a better climate change policy. He said small island-nations are the "most vulnerable of the most vulnerable countries" since there are no mountains or rivers. Talia said the people of Tuvalu will have a difficult time to adapt and added that the high tides are killing their crops.

The delegates from Pacific island nations appealed for help from Australia and other industrialised countries in addressing climate change.

The Abbott government has not accepted the Climate Change Authority (CCA)'s recommendation for Australia to triple its carbon emissions reduction target. The climate agency suggested that Australia should be aiming for at least 15 per cent by 2020. The target rate will increase to 19 per cent once the carry-over credits that have been previously set in the Kyoto Protocol are included.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt reacted to the CCA report and said the Abbott government will not revise its target of 5 per cent until 2015.

The level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased rapidly in 2012 compared to its average rise in the past 10 years based on a new report. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has broken records, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

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(Photo: Reuters / )
This four-metre resolution image, collected by Space Imaging's IKONOS satellite on April 16, 2001, shows Nikumaroro Island, an uninhabited Pacific coral atoll in the Republic of Kiribati. The atoll is located about 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii. REUTERS
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