"Horror list" of consequences: Pacific region sends cry for help before climate summit

In drastic terms, the Pacific Islands are urging the global community to act on climate change. The climate summit in Glasgow must lead to solid commitments. Otherwise “unimaginable” consequences threatened. It is about “the disappearance of entire islands and large stretches of coast”.

Three weeks before the start of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, heads of government from the Pacific region appealed to the world community in order to achieve compliance with the Paris climate targets of 2015. Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said at an online summit with the EU that the small states would use “the full force” of their “moral authority” against environmental offenders who failed to present “strong commitments” in Glasgow.

196 countries and the European Union will take part in “COP26”. Bainimarama called for the meeting to lead to solid commitments to meet the Paris climate goals. Accordingly, global warming should be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial age. To this end, the head of government in Fiji also called for an end to the use of fossil fuels. Glasgow could not end with a “litany of good intentions”, he said.

The consequences of inaction are “unimaginable,” added Bainimarama. It is about the disappearance of entire islands and large stretches of coast in Lagos, Venice, Miami and Bangladesh. Climate change will lead to increased migratory movements and forest fires as well as the destruction of homes, farms and ecosystems. The “horror list” is not yet closed, said Bainimarama.

“Which islands should we save?”

The President of the Marshall Islands, David Kabua, said those who are not in the direct battle against the climate crisis could not imagine the urgency. “We are dealing with the most difficult questions,” said Kabua. “Which islands should we save, what happens if our people have to leave against their will, how are we going to maintain our culture?”

Naomi Mata’afa, who has been Samoa’s first head of government since July, said the effects of frequent cyclones and droughts, heavy rains and floods, warming of the oceans and acidification are already being felt. These effects are “harmful to our health, our well-being, our livelihood and the way we live”.