Rudd and Key on islands future

pacific Following my earlier post on Oxfam’s Pacific Islands paper I’ve come across an interesting report  in the National Business Review on New Zealand and Australian responses in climate change discussions at the Pacific Islands Forum. 

Rudd talked to reporters about prioritising:

The first step was to minimise the impact of climate change, internal relocation was the next consideration and if that failed “a wider international response” would be required.

He stopped short of confirming Australia would be willing to accept people displaced by climate change.

It’s a pleasure to report that John Key was a bit more forthcoming in saying New Zealand would support countries if it came to relocating people, though he  downplayed the possibility.

“It would be my hope that we would never come to that,” he said.

“You’re talking about countries being submerged and I haven’t seen any advice that that is an imminent likelihood.”

Rudd expanded on the threat to Island nations, acknowledging their particular vulnerability and their need for support to build resilience.

With 50 percent of the population in Pacific Island states living within 1.5km of the coastline, rising sea levels were not an abstract idea, Mr Rudd said.

Australia would support “practical measures” to help Pacific Island states adapt through taking the Pacific’s situation to the world, ensuring better coordination and acting on behalf of the region.

And here’s a surprise:

Mr Key said the threat to those countries was why New Zealand was taking climate change seriously.

That was news to me, albeit welcome, and I obviously misjudged in my earlier post the readiness of the PM to respond to Pacific needs. I look forward to his adding many other reasons for NZ to take climate change seriously and letting that seriousness be reflected in our 2020 target.

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