The Pacific's threatened islands

Durban climate deal offers no solution to low-lying island states

The low-lying Pacific islands such as Kiribati and Tuvalu are taking little solace from a December alliance between developed and developing nations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa. The conference concluded with agreement for further talks on a new climate change agreement with ‘legal force’ by 2015, to be ratified by 2020.

For these islands, however, that may be too late. Climate extremes are already threatening their land, cultures and socio-economic survival.

The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, initiated by the EU, Alliance of Small Island States and Least Developed Countries, was hailed as a last-minute breakthrough at the summit talks. The ‘Platform’ or roadmap reiterates the main objectives of the Cancun Agreements conceived at the 2010 UN Climate Change Conference in Mexico, such as reducing human-generated carbon emissions by all countries and inception of a Green Climate Fund to assist vulnerable nations in climate change mitigation and adaptation. For the first time an agreement will encompass both developed and developing nations.


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