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Australia joins Pacific call to action on security threats of climate change

February 21, 2013

My visit to Kiribati last week, February 10-11, brought home the urgency with which we need to tackle climate change.

During this visit, I recorded a video message (above) with President Anote Tong of Kiribati. It was delivered to the United Nations Security Council during a debate on the relationship between climate change and security.

Our region was represented by the Marshall Islands Minister-in-Assistance Tony de Brum to the United Nations Security Council on February 15, 2013.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned the international community of the risks of global warming beyond two degrees. Heating beyond this benchmark represents a catastrophic scenario for the planet.

Without effective action on climate change, the projected sea level rise of up to 80 cm by the year 2100 in parts of the Pacific will exacerbate inundation, storm surges and erosion. This will have negative impacts on vital infrastructure, population settlements and facilities that support livelihoods.

In Kiribati, temperatures, ocean acidification and the intensity and frequency of days of extreme heat and rainfall will continue to increase. The affects have been dramatic – some parts of Kiribati will be uninhabitable in the next 10 to 20 years.

Australia remains committed to working closely with Pacific island countries and other small island developing states to find a global solution to climate change through mechanisms such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

One Comment
  1. Ralf Kluin permalink
    February 22, 2013 1:49 am

    Hi Bob, Talking with people in Western Sydney and elsewhere, I must report that most of them seem unaware that serious damage has already been done to the global environment and to the healthy climate balance on which our civilisation depends and I can see how the small Pacific Island nations you visit and report upon are becoming paralysed with despair. You may recall back in 1987 when the NSW ALP was defeated the executive sought a response from ALP people in the community, asking why? And where to from here? I published small report, with the help of some fellow travellers, entitled, “Politics, The Future And The ALP, reflecting a view of the world as seen through my eyes at that point in time. On page two I wrote, “In our examination of policies and functions, there are excellent, topical examples to consider in relation to our own and the way they are working/working badly/or not working at all. Crude, uncaring, unintelligent policies abound. people are hurting, large numbers of them, and that should be unacceptable to any reasonable politician”. Bob, as I read your above report and many other reports as you represent Australia on the world stage, I tell people that you are a good man who cares about humankind. In 2000 I attended my son in law graduation at Maryland University and during the special dinner event, I was to the founder of Discovery Channel. You may have seen one of his great programs entitled “Earth From Space”. It details the Planet Earth, our reason for existence, functions. Best of everything to you and your team at the Foreign Ministry.

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