Tuvalu News



By Walter Nalangu
Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

BRISBANE, Australia (March 4, 2002 - PINA Nius Online)---The Tuvalu Government is working with a United States-based law firm on plans to initiate legal action against the world's worst greenhouse gas polluters.

This was confirmed by Prime Minister Koloa Talake, who is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Queensland, Australia.

Mr. Talake said he will raise the issue of global warming and the environment at the CHOGM leaders' session on Tuesday.

He stressed that global warming is a threatening issue for his people and country.

The Tuvalu Prime Minister said what is happening in Tuvalu is the real thing and not the predictions seen in various papers by scientists, arguing for and against the philosophy of global warming.

"In Tuvalu, it is an actual, real happening," he said.

He said global warming is damaging the environment. It melts polar ice, causes sea level rise and already has flooded a number of areas in the Tuvalu group.

Prime Minister Talake said a number of small islets on which he used to play when he was a boy are not there any longer.

The Tuvalu Prime Minister said he shares the concern that the scientific agreement signed between Australia and the USA could be used as the basis for an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

He said it is disappointing to see that Australia, being the richest member of the Pacific Islands Forum, has been leaning more towards the United States and not towards fellow members of the Forum.

He said most of the Pacific Islands Forum member countries are low lying, and endangered by global warming.

Mr. Talake said this is why Tuvalu is seeking legal advice about suing major greenhouse gas emitters, including Australia.

His warning came just after Australia's Prime Minister John Howard said he believed he had reassured island countries about Australia's stance.

Under the Kyoto protocol, developed countries are required to reduce and cap greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2012.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer earlier defended Australia's decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, as well as Australia's position on climate change.

The issue of greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on global warming and rising sea levels was discussed at the small states meeting, which includes 32 of the Commonwealth's 54 nations.

Mr. Downer said the meeting recognized the concerns of small island nations, which feel vulnerable to the problems of climate change.

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair earlier expressed concern about the lack of support for Kyoto and said he expects climate change to be discussed at the main CHOGM leaders’ session.

Environmentalists have accused Australia of trying to keep climate change off the main CHOGM agenda because of its own poor record.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA)
Website: http://www.pinanius.org


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