Pacific leaders attack Aussie PM over climate change

Xinhua News Agency:

Friday, 13 June 2014

SYDNEY, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Pacific leaders have criticized Australia's conservative stance on climate change, saying the important issue is not about economics and more about survival for the island states, local media reported on Friday.

The presidents of Kiribati and Marshall Islands told the ABC their countries will be underwater if greenhouse gas emissions around the world are not significantly reduced.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott met Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week and both leaders said efforts to control climate change could not be allowed to impact on economies and jobs.

Abbott also said he wanted to set up an alliance of governments to resist global moves towards carbon pricing, and in favor of more 'direct action' measures.

But Kiribati's President Anote Tong says climate change was life or death matter for Pacific nations.

"We're not talking about the growth GDP, we're not talking about what it means in terms of profit and losses of the large corporations, we're talking about our survival," he said.

"What will happen in terms of greenhouse gas emissions levels agreed to internationally will not affect us, because our future is already here ... we will be underwater," he said.

The President of Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak, said Abbott's resistance to carbon trading will only isolate Australia further in the Pacific.

"I'm very concerned that the prime minister is setting the wrong tone in what needs to be a very determined effort to tackle climate change," Loeak said.

"Prime Minister Abbott's comments on Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper are a further indication that Australia is isolating itself on this issue."

"We believe that there are still opportunities to curb this problem and we look forward to working with the world community to talk about it, and to do anything we can to help them to do something about climate change."

Read story: Xinhua News Agency

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