Samoa calls on developed countries to take lead on climate change

By Cherelle Jackson

Poland - The Samoan delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland called on developed countries to step up and adopt responsible measures to cap emissions and impose realistic targets and actions in their responses to climate change.

Tuu'u Ieti Taulealo, Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Ministry of the Natural Resource and Environment, said the islands suffer the most due to climate change but that it is the developed nations which are responsible for the bulk of global emissions.

Tuu'u led the Samoan delegation to the High Level Climate Change meeting to ensure that the voice of Samoa is heard in the negotiations and to add to the voice of his fellow island colleagues from the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

"At the end of the day it is really the developed countries that must come forward with meaningful targets so that there is meaningful outcomes and opportunities to cut back greenhouse gas emissions.

"Samoa, like other developing countries, particularly island developing countries, will certainly be helping to push for developed countries to cut back on these emissions. The more we can do the better it will be for us in the developing world," Tuu'u said.

The Samoan delegation joins others from the Pacific, including Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Palau and Niue, at the Poznan Conference to ensure that the impacts of climate change in the Pacific are known.

But the plight of the Pacific Islands may need more substantial actions than mere statements by participants.

Policy advisor for Greenpeace Mr Ka Srinivas said the voice of the Pacific needs to be stronger.

"The developed countries are saying that developing countries need to act first before they respond to climate change, but the developing countries are expecting the developed countries to be responsible and act before they do, it is a vicious cycle," Srinivas said.

Srinivas says as far as Pacific Islands are concerned, the situation is urgent. "The islands will submerge, the developed countries need to act now, and cap emissions by at 40 per cent."

An estimated 9000 participants are attending the two-week gathering, including government delegates from the 185 Parties to the United Nations Framework for the Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) and representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions.

At Poznan, parties to the UNFCCC are taking stock of progress made in 2008 and map out in detail what needs to happen in 2009 to arrive at a strengthened agreement. At the meeting, delegates - including Ministers are discussing their vision for long-term cooperative action on climate change.

- Pacific Communications Team

- NZ Herald

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