Fiji Time: 5:11 PM on Wednesday 2 December

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Cut the talk, more action

Fred Wesley
Wednesday, December 02, 2015

AS expected, COP21 opened yesterday with world leaders sympathising and drawing the humanitarian card on climate change.

When faced with a global situation that is actually eating away chunks of land, and effectively destroying the way of life of many people in our region, world leaders are bound to act on the side of caution.

Surely it pays to heed the fact that thousands of people are affected in many parts of the world albeit in different ways.

You would be seen to be considerate. You would be seen to be human if you were, considerably, or to a certain extent impacted by the conditions those affected face or live under.

The harsh reality is that thousands of people in our region are greatly impacted by a scenario that is real.

Villagers in some parts of Fiji have been forced to move inland as the sea washed up some of our coastline.

Over the years, they have seen it reach further inland.

The irony is that we live in a region known for its sunny days, swaying palm trees and clear blue waters washing up white sandy beaches.

The picturesque views are to die for. They are the epitome of laidback luxury and the dream holiday. They provide that vital edge that tourists will continue to be attracted to.

As the palm trees sway in the distance, and the clear waters continue to run up the beach, villagers in affected areas are noticing how far the waterline has gone up.

The years have been like a silent killer, eating up little parts of beautiful coastline. They have added up to huge patches in some areas.

This is what our leaders have to contend with in Paris.

But the reality is that economic considerations are heavy and world leaders will be mulling over that alongside the concerns of the affected.

No one said COP21 would be a stroll in the park.

Given the participation of world leaders though, this is a platform where the impact of our reality must be heard.

The question is whether world leaders will be sincere and considerate of our plight?

Many have made bold statements.

The bottom line is whether they have the guts to back a universal document that is legally binding and will be positive for us all.

As our report today on Page 3 reveals, by yesterday $US748million ($F1.61b) had been pledged for climate change related activities from various countries.

Part of the funds is a new $500m initiative, the Transformative Carbon Asset Facility, to help spur greater efforts to price and measure carbon pollution.

For whatever its worth, what we need is not just a lot of talk. What we need is action to ensure emissions are reduced globally.

Clearly the last thing affected people want to see is a public relations campaign. As Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said, this is a crucial moment in global history.

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