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Pacific News Minute: France Hosts Pacific Summit Ahead of UN Climate Conference

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In Paris, France hosts a summit of Pacific Island leaders ahead of the UN Climate Conference that gets underway next week. Details, from Neal Conan in Paris, in the Pacific News Minute.

France takes an active part in Pacific Island affairs to reinforce its claim to two territories many consider colonies - New Caledonia and French Polynesia.  Both operate with some degree of autonomy; Independence movements in both remain very much in the minority. As part of an effort to win political acceptance for its territories, France hosts the France Oceania Summit here this week.  A chance, as Overseas Minister George Pau-Langevin put it to the website Tahiti Infos, "to speak directly to the small Pacific Island States which sometimes feel a little isolated and victims of climate Change."

This summer - French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Nieue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu met in Tahiti: "We, the Polynesian Leaders Group, state that our islands and peoples are at the front lines of devastation from Climate Change," a statement read in part, "we call for justice and our right of survival." The group called for a fund to compensate for the loss of natural resources and ecosystems, an international regime to protect people forced to relocate and it emphasized the ambitious goal, of containing global warming to less than one-point-five-degrees Celsius ...the official goal of the UN Conference - is two degrees. 

In September, at the Pacific Islands Forum, Australia and New Zealand declined to adopt the one point five degree standard, and it looks like France won't endorse it either: Overseas Minister Pau-Langevin said, "If we manage to get a commitment approaching 2 degrees, then damage would be limited."

Over 36 years with National Public Radio, Neal Conan worked as a correspondent based in New York, Washington, and London; covered wars in the Middle East and Northern Ireland; Olympic Games in Lake Placid and Sarajevo; and a presidential impeachment. He served, at various times, as editor, producer, and executive producer of All Things Considered and may be best known as the long-time host of Talk of the Nation. Now a macadamia nut farmer on Hawaiʻi Island, his "Pacific News Minute" can be heard on HPR Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
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