DEAR EDITOR, in contributing this piece I feel rather like one of Joab’s comforters but the threat we face from climate change, and especially in the Pacific, is a story that has to be told.
My reference to Joab is because in the bible it is said three of Joab’s friends tried to make him feel better but only made things worse.
Joab answered his friends and said, “I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.” Job 16: 1-2 KJV.
Just a few days ago, Anoti Tong, the former President of Kiribati spoke about the growing threat of climate change to his nation.
He is widely reported to have said:
“Increasingly frequent king tides and storm surges, floods and longer droughts are new, unwelcome additions to our way of life on Kiribati.
“Sea level rise is turning our freshwater resources salty, rendering the land unable to grow staple crops such as coconut and taro, and eating away our shoreline.
“We are being told that we may have to abandon our islands, the places where our ancestors have been buried, where our children have a home and an identity.
“If this disastrous outcome comes to pass, my people will need a place of safety to move to. Rather than be regarded as “climate refugees” – a term that has no definition or status in the international legal system – I seek migration with dignity for my people.”
Quoting from an article in the US Miami Herald, Leonard Pitts Jr is quoted to have made a spectacular claim in a story he entitled, ‘We only have 10 years to save ourselves from climate change.”
In his lengthy piece, I will quote just one or two extracts.
“You see, something remarkable happened last week. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists working under the aegis of the United Nations, issued a report on our planet’s health. Turns out its worse than we thought. Barring prompt — and politically unlikely — measures to drastically cut carbon output within the next decade, they say we’ll begin to see worsening droughts, wildfires, coral reef decimation, coastal flooding, food shortages and poverty beginning as soon as 2040.
“You can expect mass evacuations from the most heavily impacted areas. As one of the report’s authors, Aromar Revi, director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, told The New York Times, “In some parts of the world, national borders will become irrelevant. You can set up a wall to try to contain 10,000 and 20,000 and 1 million people, but not 10 million.”
The commentary is necessarily subjective analysis, but Mr. Pitts seems to stand by it
What is clear is the world is still lacking environmental leadership despite the forthright and best efforts of several Pacific Islands leaders in highlighting the very real dangers already evidenced by climate change.