Connie Hedegaard, the European Commissioner for Climate Action, writes in today’s Sydney Morning Herald about the Pacific Islands Forum that started yesterday.
She says: “The Pacific region is on the front line of climate change. Its low-lying islands risk being swamped by rising sea levels and their inhabitants forced to emigrate. In June, exceptionally high tides coupled with storm surges flooded parts of the Marshall Islands capital, Majuro, where the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting begins on Tuesday. The rising waters topped the city sea walls. Some islanders were forced to evacuate their residences and a state of disaster was declared.
For the Pacific people, weather extremes are not about a distant future. They have become the new normal. Heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising oceans are the new reality of an ever warming world. And this should not come as a surprise. Scientists have been warning for years that as the planet heats up, we will have to deal with more severe, more changeable, more unpredictable weather.
Europe and the Pacific region must work together to fight climate change.”