The Small island countries in the Pacific are demanding greater commitments at this week’s Madrid climate talks, saying what’s been done so far is far from enough.
The lead negotiator for Solomon Islands, Melchior Mataki, said the effects of the warming were already being felt in his country.
“Extreme weather events are beginning to be really problematic for us. Our most recent major disaster was actually not from a tropical cyclone but from a tropical depression, so it’s something lower than a tropical cyclone but it caused similar flooding…and more importantly, it took away the lives of 20 people.”
Dr Mataki said Solomon Islands, and the Pacific, want greater commitments from bigger polluters to reduce emissions, a new climate finance goal and greater support to help poorer countries.
He said he had seen some promising signs, but with 10 days and plenty of hurdles to go, there was a lot of work ahead.
The Pacific countries are hoping to pressure industrialized nations into taking bold steps to try and address the climate crisis.
The demand comes as the World Meteorological Organisation released the latest in a run of dire scientific predictions for the fate of the world.
Professor Tallis, the Secretary-General of the organisation, said on the current trajectory, warming was likely to be three to 5°C.
“The past decade has been one of exceptional heat, it said, and this year will probably be the second or third warmest on record.” he warned.
Professor Tallis reportedly went on to say:
“The sea is also warming at record rates, he said, which was leading to sea level rise.”
“We have some areas where the sea level rise has been more than average.”
“For example, the Pacific Island states have been facing higher numbers than the global average, which is of course very alarming for them because they’re low-lying and they’re the most vulnerable countries worldwide.”
“One of those countries is Tokelau. Three small-atolls in the Pacific, only accessible by boat journey from Samoa.”
The preliminary State of the Climate report was released on the sidelines of the current climate talks.
Tokelau’s leader, Ulu – Kelihiano Kalolo, said what had been achieved by world leaders so far was nowhere near enough.
The deputy chair of the alliance of small island states, Janine Felson, described the talks as a last opportunity to take decisive action.