Tag Archives: sea level rise

President Tong questions moral values of Australian leaders

President Anote Tong has questioned the moral values of Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and his colleague Prime Minister Tony Abbott over the joke made by Dutton about Pacific Island countries and their struggle with the rising sea levels.

Tong criticized the two Australian politicians over their insensitive joke about Pacific Islanders having no sense of time because “water is lapping at their door”. The remark made by Dutton was enjoyed by Abbott recklessly laughing unaware that a camera with a boom microphone was rolling above their heads.

“It shows a sense of moral irresponsibility quite unbecoming of leadership in any capacity,” President Tong said in an interview with ABC just minutes after touching down in Fiji, on his way back home from Papua New Guinea.

More saddened than outraged, Tong added “this is the issue we were talking about yesterday,” referring to the recently concluded talks in Port Moresby where climate change was effectively watered down by Australia (and New Zealand).

“I find that extremely sad, extremely disappointing that we are making jokes about a very serious issue,” he said.

Eastern tip of Temaiku village grapple with the encroaching seas

Eastern tip of Temaiku village on Tarawa atoll continues to grapple with the encroaching seas

Read more: Kiribati’s President lashes Peter Dutton for sea-levels joke

The video of Minister Dutton making the joke with Prime Minister Abbott laughing along had gone viral over the web and has created an outrage by many including several Pacific Island leaders.

Marshall Island’s Foreign Minister, Tony de Brum voiced his dismay over Twitter about the Australian Ministers joking about sea level rise in the Pacific: “Next time waves are battering my home and my grandkids are scared, I’ll ask Peter Dutton to come over, and we’ll see if he is still laughing.”

Also on Twitter, the Governor of Papua New Guinea province of Oro expressed his disappointment at Prime Minister Abbott laughing along to the joke: “ABBOTT MUST APOLOGIZE FOR INSENSITIVITY TOWARDS ALL FOR LAUGHING AT CLIMATE CHANGE. Remove him next elections Australia, you deserve better.”

Meanwhile, climate group 350.org had written a letter to Prime Minister Abbott expressing their disappointment to the way Australia is treating an issue which concerns the life of Pacific islanders. They also demanded that Immigration Minister Dutton step down from office after the disgraceful joke he made on Friday morning.

Pacific Island Countries mainly the Small Island Developing States such as Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu have been struggling for more than a decade to cope with the impacts of sea-level rise caused by climate change. The impacts include inundation of villages, sea-water intrusion to their source of drinking water and the inability to grow food crops to name but a few.

Read more: Pacific leaders respond to Australian Minister’s sea level remarks.

Small island nations must unite or drown in rising seas

 

The Island of Abaiang. Much of the archipelago is not more than a few meters above sea level. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

The Island of Abaiang in Kiribati. Much of the archipelago is not more than a few meters above sea level. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

The president of the Seychelles has urged the planet’s small island nations to unite for an unprecedented campaign against climate change or else drown.

The rallying call came at the start of a two-day summit of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries, to prepare for global climate talks to take place in Lima, Peru in December.

“Too often the world has chosen to ignore us; too often we are treated as bystanders,” said Seychelles president James Michel, whose Indian Ocean island nation is hosting the meeting.

“Let us be heard on every beach and every roadside – let us be heard in Beijing, in Delhi, in Johannesburg, in London, in Moscow, in New York, in Paris, in Rio.

“Let us be heard in every village, in every town, in every city of the world; let us be heard on the airwaves.

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Kiribati buys a piece of Fiji

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Piece of the land in Fiji

OB – Press Release

Kiribati’s Head of State – President Anote Tong made the announcement last week confirming that government has made the final payment for the purchase of the AUD$9.3 million Natoavatu Estate located in Fiji’s second biggest island of Vanua Levu.

“I wish to officially announce that government has come to a final resolve and has made the full purchase of the piece of land in Fiji.” President Tong said in his address to the nation on national radio last Friday.

Tong added that government sent a team earlier this month, comprising of the Minister of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development and the Attorney General, to settle the purchase of the land with the Fiji authorities.

The team were assured the Certificate of Title for the Natoavatu Estate after all requirements were met and a transaction of the final payment of AUD$8.3 million was witnessed before the previous land owners – The Trustees for the Colony of Fiji of the Church of England and the Fiji authorities.

Tong said that the acquisition of the 5460-acre piece of land marks a new milestone in government’s development plans particularly in its endeavor to address its economic and food security issues as it is greatly impacted by climate change.

“I’m glad we’ve taken this milestone with Fiji and hope that developed countries can engage with frontline countries like us in this arena, as a matter of taking simple actions rather than negotiating climate change issues where common ground is far from reach.” President Tong added.

Earlier this year, President of the Republic of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau met with his Kiribati counterpart on Kiribati shores where he assured “that the people of Kiribati will have a home if their country is submerged by the rising sea level as a result of climate change.

The Fiji President made the announcement confirming the suggestion made earlier by Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, that Fiji would assist Kiribati in any way it could.

The land purchase of the Natoavatu Estate is an investment by the government to explore options of commercial, industrial and agricultural undertakings such as fish canning, beef/poultry farming, fruit/vegetable farming to name but a few.

Diarrhoea cases to rise

Climate change exacerbates public health problems in Tarawa and throughout Kiribati.

The incidence of ciguatera poisoning, diarrhoeal disease, malnutrition, and vectorborne diseases, such as dengue fever, rise as a result of increased temperatures and changes in rainfall.

Increased rainfall will likely result in a reduction in the overall rate of diarrhoea due to improved water quality and availability (though flooding may also lead to groundwater contamination). Decreased rainfall—particularly if it resulted in an increase in droughts—would increase the incidence of diarrhoea, as water shortages exacerbate sanitation problems.

However, the projected rise in temperature may increase the incidence of diarrhoea, primarily by increasing the likelihood of spoiled or contaminated food. Sea level rise could also increase the incidence of diarrhoea by decreasing the size of the freshwater lens, exacerbating overcrowding conditions, and disrupting sanitation and water supply.

Related:

Ciguatera poisoning ‘highest in the Pacific’
Risk of Dengue Fever to increase