Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says Fijians are too familiar with the phenomenon of global warming unleashed by greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting destructive impact on the environment.
In a statement, Rabuka said the grim reality for us in the Pacific includes devastation from mighty storms, rising sea levels, deadly pollution; encroachment into village areas, degradation of land and damage to reefs.
Rabuka said one crucial figure concentrates the minds of regional leaders, 1.5’ C – That’s the target for limiting global warming and maintaining it at a sustainable level.
“If we can reach 1.5, then our prospects for protecting everything that is precious to us in our island environment should be within reach.”
The Prime Minister said doubts arise about the world’s ability or its willingness to go there – So for us, it is a question of constantly pushing for 1.5 in every way we can.
Rabuka said critical to this is cutting back those greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide and methane.
“That in itself means grappling with the reality of fossil fuels based on carbon organisms and how important they are in the economic sense.”
“Another uncomfortable reality is that producing and burning these fuels creates air pollution that harms health and generates toxic emissions that drive climate change. From the electricity that lights homes to the cars people drive to work, modern life was built on fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas,” Rabuka added.
The Prime Minister said it is a matter of survival for us – Here in the Pacific, we are motivated by the desire to adopt alternatives.
Rabuka said all this is urgent and the lack of action is reflective of another crisis – a moral one.
“The science, in our view, leaves no room for debate. The large economies should move as quickly as possible towards phasing out fossil fuels, embracing clean energy and bringing down those emissions levels. Alternatives include solar, green hydrogen and bio fuels made from plants and algae; hydro energy and wind power.”
“This last natural resource served our ancestors very well on their ocean journeys. We in Fiji are looking at how we can reintroduce it,” Rabuka said.