Pacific island nations on the frontline of climate change demanded Friday the world “get serious” about saving the planet ahead of UN-brokered talks on global warming.
The Pacific’s low-lying islands are among the countries worst affected by climate change, threatened by rising seas and increasingly extreme cyclones.
Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama told a virtual summit of the Pacific Islands Forum that progress had stalled since the Paris climate agreement was signed five years ago.
“We Pacific nations owe it to our people, and to humanity as a whole, to raise our voices more to demand that major emitters step up their climate actions and commitments,” he said.
“Without this, we will lose our homes, our way of life our wellbeing and livelihoods — it’s past time to get serious.
“We all signed the Paris agreement, now let’s insist we put it to work.”
The 18-member PIF called the summit to articulate the region’s concerns ahead of talks on Saturday—co-hosted by the United Nations, Britain and France — to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris deal.
The landmark accord committed all nations to cap warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and encouraged them to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
But Bainimarama said the world was on track to increase temperatures by a catastrophic five degrees by 2100, with Pacific nations bearing the brunt of climate change.