by Staff Writers
Auckland (AFP) Sept 6, 2011
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that visiting Pacific nations threatened by rising seas had reinforced his belief that climate change was real and posed a genuine threat to humanity.
Ban stopped in the Solomon Islands and Kiribati on his way to New Zealand for the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and described the two small nations as "on the front line" of the climate change issue.
He said Kiribati, where some villagers have been forced to relocate as the rising ocean encroaches on their land, dramatically illustrated climate change's impact on the planet.
"For those who believe climate change is about some distant future, I invite them to visit Kiribati or the Solomon Islands and most of the Pacific island countries," he said in a speech at Auckland University.
"Climate change is not about tomorrow. It is lapping at our feet -- quite literally in Kiribati and elsewhere."
Ban said that in his role as UN leader he had seen the impact of climate change first-hand in areas of the globe ranging from Antarctica to the Amazon Basin and Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.
He said scientific evidence backed up his view.
"The science has made it plainly clear that climate change is happening now and, unfortunately, much, much faster than you may think," he said.
"Having visited Kiribati and the Solomon Islands has strengthened my conviction that climate change is a distinct threat to humanity, it is even a threat to international peace and stability."
Ban said the rising oceans were sending a signal that something was "seriously wrong with our current model of economic development".
"We will not succeed in reducing emissions without sustainable energy solutions," he said.
Ban is the first UN leader to attend the 16-nation PIF, which this year is being held in Auckland.
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UN, EU leaders to hear Pacific climate concerns
Auckland (AFP) Sept 4, 2011
Pacific leaders will highlight the threat that rising seas pose to low-lying nations at a regional forum in Auckland this week attended by the heads of the United Nations and the European Commission. The annual Pacific Islands Forum, a 15-nation grouping usually dominated by Australia and New Zealand, has attracted a heavyweight guest list this year, partly because it occurs on the eve of th ... read more
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