Tuvalu News

Australia should do more on climate change: Tuvalu
August 5, 2009

Sydney Morning Herald, AAP (Accessed August 8, 2009)

Australia could be doing more to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, Tuvaluan Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia says.

Tuvalu, which lies in the Pacific Ocean midway between Australia and Hawaii, is the fourth smallest nation in the world.

At its highest point Tuvalu is only five metres above sea level and is especially vulnerable to any future rise in sea levels that may be caused by global warming.

"Unfortunately, because the islands are low, there is nowhere we can run to," Mr Ielemia told Sky News on Wednesday.

In Cairns to participate in the 40th annual Pacific Island Forum this week he said Tuvalu needed Australia's help to combat climate change.

"Australia is a big country and is looked at by small countries like Tuvalu as a possible donor who can help us in many ways," he said.

"In this case, climate change's impact, we are talking already with the Government of Australia to help us with our preparation programs."

Mr Ielemia said this would include building sea walls around Tuvalu's cluster of islands and atolls to prevent their erosion and switching from diesel to solar energy to help it become carbon neutral by 2020.

But Australia could also be playing a bigger role when it came to reaching agreement on global emissions reduction targets.

"I'd like to see Australia doing much, much more than it is doing nowadays," Mr Ielemia said.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith rejected suggestions Australia wasn't doing enough.

Climate change would be high on the agenda ahead of international climate change talks in Copenhagen later this year.

"We're looking at the forum to have a good discussion about climate change in the lead up to Copenhagen," Mr Smith said.

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