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'Strong' call by Pacific ministers

Matilda Simmons
Wednesday, August 02, 2017

A COALITION of Pacific Island ministers launched one of their strongest joint call on the global shipping industry to radically cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Ministers from the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati were joined by envoys from Fiji, Vanuatu and Palau as they urged member states to align the sector's emissions with a global goal of limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The island leaders took this stand while attending the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) meeting in London early last month where IMO shipping and climate talks took centre stage.

"Earlier this year, the World Meteorological Organisation released its report on the state of the world's climate in 2016," said Natan Teewe, the Kiribati Minister of Justice in a statement.

"It is alarming for us as it states that we have already reached global temperatures of 1.1C above pre-industrial levels. Even more distressing for us, is the image of Tarawa, our capital, with the accompanying text noting that Kiribati is likely to be uninhabitable as a nation state in 30-60 years.

"You can understand therefore why it is so important to us that we all do as much as we can to curb greenhouse gas emissions urgently. It is for that reason that Kiribati is here, to make a plea to our fellow IMO member states to take urgent action to reduce the emissions from international shipping and to work towards full decarbonisation of the sector."

Tuvalu's MInister for Communication and Transport Monies Laafai said Tuvalu may well be the first nation to suffer complete loss of landmass because of climate change.

"For the survival of my country and our neighbours, I beg that we must all strive collectively for the highest level of ambition possible."

Further negotiations are expected to continue in 2018.

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