Australia Unfazed at Tuvalu Over Anger on Climate
CANBERRA, Australia (August 30, 2002 – New Zealand Herald/Reuters)---The
Australian government yesterday dismissed accusations by Tuvalu that
Canberra's environmental policies were contributing to global warming
and could sink the island state.
Tuvalu, a chain of nine coral atolls whose highest point is just 4
meters (13.2 feet) above sea level, told the Earth Summit in South
Africa that it wanted to file a lawsuit against Australia and the United
States, blaming them for its plight.
Australia, the world's biggest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases,
and the U.S., the world's single biggest polluter, have rejected the
international Kyoto pact, which is meant to cut emissions of gases like
Greenhouse gases are blamed for driving up temperatures and warming the
Many scientists argue that the melting of ice caps, due to higher
temperatures, is likely to lead to a rise in sea levels. Tuvalu fears it
will disappear under the waves within 50 years.
But Australian Environment Minister David Kemp downplayed Tuvalu's
threatened legal action and its campaign to enlist Caribbean and Indian
Ocean nations in the planned lawsuit.
"I can't see any basis [for this] at all," he said. "Australia
contributes about 1 percent of global greenhouse gases so it is very
definitely a global issue.
"No country is doing more with the Pacific island countries than
Australia to put them in a position where they can adapt and assess the
Australia has rejected a request from Tuvalu to take in some of its
10,000 residents should its 27 square kilometers (10.8 square miles) be
Australian Prime Minister John Howard this month announced a three-year,
AUD$ 2.2 million (US$ 1,215,500) project to help upgrade meteorological
services in Pacific countries but refused to change Australia's stance
At the Earth Summit in Johannesburg yesterday, rich and poor nations
argued over scrapping billions of dollars in subsidies to Western
Outside about 200 poor farmers and street traders from nearby shanty
townships shouted slogans demanding freer trade.
The U.S. has drawn fire for a new Farm Bill set to boost subsidies to
domestic farmers. Rich countries gave about US$ 54 billion in
development aid in 2001 but paid more than US$ 350 billion to their own