No progress at Doha disappoints Pacific Islands | Pacific Beat

No progress at Doha disappoints Pacific Islands

No progress at Doha disappoints Pacific Islands

Updated 7 December 2012, 10:27 AEDT

The latest round of UN climate change talks wrap up in Doha today.

The aim of the meeting was to finalise an agreement on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

The rich nations who backed the new agreement -- namely the European Union and Australia - represent less than 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

While New Zealand, Japan, Russia and Canada said they were pulling out because the major emerging nations and big pollutors, such as China and India, would have no binding targets.

Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang - a climate advocate from Kiribati is at the talks, which she says were frustrating for the Pacific Islands and other small island states.

Presenter:Geraldine Coutts

Speaker:Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang, Pacific Outreach Officer from Kiribati, Pacific Calling Partnership


CHI FANG: It's makes us sad, especially the Pacific Islanders to find out that New Zealand, especially New Zealand, because New Zealand is so close to the Pacific Islands and we rely on New Zealand and Australia and we are so disappointed to find out that with Canada, they would not be signing up to a second commitment period on greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, opting instead of a non-binding pledge. And honestly I feel a conspiracy, that you said before, while India and China are committed to the Kyoto Protocol, now Canada and New Zealand are withdrawing, and Kiribati is one of a tiny Pacific Island nation that could be wiped off the map by rising sea levels and lash out in even stronger terms. So it's a very disappointing outcome.
COUTTS: Well, the Association for Small Island States, AOSIS, has condemned the wealthy countries for their lack of urgencies. Do you think that they're not getting the message? Do they not properly understand the plight that the Pacific finds themselves in, or is that a failing of the Pacific to not to get that message across?
CHI FANG: Look, there's so much negotiations and discussions on the issue, but small island states are very upset with the outcome, because they don't seem to care with what is really happening with the people and they seem to be doing a lot negotiations and new proposals and they don't seem to care about what is really happening to the people, especially the most vulnerable ones, like Kiribati and Tuvalu, and other low lying islands in the Pacific.
COUTTS: AOSIS actually canvas those nations, because we knew from the start that China and India wouldn't go along with it, but now Russia, Japan and Canada.
Did AOSIS actually canvas those countries themselves to try to put pressure on them to change their mind?
CHI FANG: Absolutely, yes. The alliance of small islands are pushing so hard to be heard for ambitious and agency action.
I feel very much that this is all about politics again and as a Kiribati woman, even though the world leader seems to be doing nothing on this issue. We kind of always look at Australia and New Zealand, that they are a very close neighbours and I strongly believe that Australia can do a lot better than what it has been doing in the past and again, we are grateful for the things that Australia has done, like signing up the Kyoto Protocol, but I still hope that Australia would do more on the issue and stop debating on carbon price, and look to what we are doing with our carbon emissions, focus on (indecipherable) and export of fossil fuel. This will contribute to saving our people. We are talking about the people and our land and the future of young generation of Kiribati and other low lying islands in the Pacific.
COUTTS: Russia, Japan and Canada have joined the ranks of not signing onto the Kyoto Protocol. Do you think their using China as an excuse or a cop out for something they probably would have done anyway?
CHI FANG: This is what I'm saying, it's all about political games and I guess this is why our President, the President of Kiribati is so frustrated with the outcome of all of the COPS because it seems to me that it's just about politicking. And, like right now, currently countries like Poland, Russia and the Ukraine are sealing the treaty with hot air by relying on separate carbon credit from Kyoto to avoid making real emissions cutting that make take years. Meanwhile, countries are placing their own targets that do not reflect the emissions cut we need to stay under two degrees of warming. So for me again, we really need Australia to take the lead to make the Kyoto Protocol count. And also we are trying the youth from Australia here and members of the AOSIS are trying to, especially islands in the Pacific are trying to bring the message to Mr. Mark Dreyfus that Australia needs to fulfil its role as the global citizen and should take the lead on the important issues that determine the factors of Doha. And honestly, I believe myself, Australia can show the world that Australia can be a leader on climate change and fight the negotiations towards a strong and ambitious treaty.
COUTTS: This meeting did make a progress as expected as we've been discussing. So what's next for the Pacific, what's left to you now?
CHI FANG: Well, poor countries, such as Kiribati, the Pacific Islands such as Kiribati that contribute the very least to the global emissions are  right at the front line and bare the greatest burden of loss and damage. And right now, I even feel that mitigation and adaptation might be too late for them and we cannot revert to our culture, to our land, rights if we lost them because of climate change. So we are really trying to push forward on issues and urgency on the action.
COUTTS: Alright, you've mentioned that there are greater expectations on Australia, but the President of the United States, Barack Obama's envoy to the United Nations global warming said he was open to a discussion on the issue of fairness on how nations tackle climate change. 
The President of Nauru has said in the past, Fred Dabwido, look, they know what needs to be done. The time for talkings over, the time is now for action. So do you think that more talks is what's warranted?
CHI FANG: Exactly, and that's what is happening again. They keep talking and the keep negotiating and keep bringing new proposals up, but sadly, it's very, very slow action  and that's very, very disappointing.
So many negotiations are taking place, but the action is very slow and even the World Bank and the UN Secretary-General are talking about an (indecipherable) crisis, but this is not obvious yet as the President of the United States talking about they know what the issue is, but there's no action and it's very frustrating, but we will never give up, we will keep working on this issue for our people, for the people in the Pacific, especially the most vulnerable ones.

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