The Government of the island nation of Fiji is accusing the international community, pointing mainly at Australia, of being selfish in regards to climate change policy. Fiji, like many other pacific nations is suffering greatly from the rising sea levels; these small island nations contribute very little to global carbon emissions but are suffering the consequences of the rest of the world’s high level of carbon output.
Fijian village is abandoned as sea water seeps through the ground (Photo Curtesy of Fiji Times)
In a climate change summit hosted by Fiji, interim Prime Minister Bainimara said the global will to combat climate change is receding. He further pointed at Australia, saying that since the election of conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbot there has been a distinct change of attitude in Australia toward climate change policy. Abbot has been quoted as saying that he will not support any climate change policy in Australia that would negatively impact the Australian economy.
The interim Prime Minister of Fiji issued a harsh statement to the world, pointed at Australia and Prime Minister Abbot, saying that history will judge them harshly if they do nothing to effect policy change and allow the islands of the pacific to sink below the ocean. He further stated that leaders need to see the situation is dire for Fiji and other island nations and that leaders need to risk minor economic impact to save lives.
Indonesia was invited to the climate change summit in Fiji and pledged support to Fiji in combating climate change. Indonesia also has a strong incentive to mitigate the effects of climate change in the pacific. Indonesia has offered $20 million to Fiji to help fight the effects of climate change and has offered further support in the form of increased trade agreements with Fiji to boost trade revenue by a targeted $1 billion in the future.
The situation in Fiji is so serious that entire communities have had to be relocated since January 2014. The village of Vaunidogola had to be relocated to higher ground due to rising sea levels; the relocation affected 50 families whose ancestors had lived on that land for generations. The government of Fiji has also identified 600 villages across the Fiji islands that are at risk from the rising sea levels. The government predicts that over the next 10 years 40 settlements will have to be relocated due to the rise in sea levels, the pollution of the ground water and the destruction of agricultural land.