CANBERRA (Reuters) – The world must unite and take significant action now to tackle climate change that threatens the survival of Pacific island nations, region leaders said on Friday, as they prepared to travel to Scotland for a climate summit.
The low-lying Pacific islands are widely seen as the main front line in the campaign against climate change as they battle sea level rise.
“We need concrete action now. We cannot wait until 2050, it is a question of survival,” Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati and two-time Nobel Peace Prize candidate, told Reuters. .
Tong predicted that his country of 33 atolls and islands that rise a few meters above sea level, will likely become uninhabitable in 30 to 60 years due to flooding and contamination of its freshwater supplies. .
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Many big polluters have pledged to step up their carbon reductions over the coming decades, some aiming for net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
But the leaders of the Pacific Islands have said they will demand immediate action, with an initial focus on the G20 leaders, on sweeping changes.
G20 leaders will meet in Rome on Friday before traveling to Scotland for the United Nations climate summit, known as COP26, widely seen as key to limiting global warming.
“G20 members are responsible for around 75% of the global contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, so a strong commitment and the results of the G20 summit in Rome will pave the way for an ambitious and successful COP26,” said said Henry Puna, former prime minister of the Cook Islands and now secretary of the Pacific Islands Forum, said in a statement.
“We do not have the luxury of time and must urgently join forces and deliver the ambition required at COP26 to safeguard the future of all humanity and our planet,” said Puna.
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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