Pacific News Minute: Climate Change Agenda Tops India-Pacific Summit

Aug 26, 2015

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Over the weekend, India hosted a summit meeting with representatives from 14 Pacific Island Nations. As we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, Fiji's Prime Minister asked India to take the side of small island states at the UN Conference on climate change coming up at the end of this year in Paris.

Addressing an audience that included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Frank Bainimarama of Fiji said, "We have precisely 14 weeks to persuade the industrial nations to put our survival before the well-being of their carbon polluting industries. We are all suffering in the Pacific to a greater or lesser extent," he added, "but in the case of three of our nations - Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands - their very existence is threatened, and unless the industrial nations agree to binding cuts in carbon emissions to arrest the current level of global warming, these nations are destined to sink beneath the waves and disappear from the map altogether."

Of course India is one of the principal sources of carbon emissions, though it regards itself as a developing nation, exempt from cuts on rich countries like the U.S. Prime Minister Bainimarama has been especially critical of New Zealand and Australia as part of what he calls the Coalition of the Selfish.

At the meeting in Jaipur, Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu said his country will consider the purchase of land in New Zealand and Australia, to replace farm land being contaminated by salt as sea levels rise and, eventually, for migration...though it's not clear that New Zealand and Australia would accept 11-thousand Tuvalese as climate migrants.  There is a standing offer from Fiji to provide sanctuary to the citizens of both Tuvalu and Kiribati.