By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow
The inaction of world emitters to reach an agreement on the rapid reductions of fossil fuels has annoyed Pacific island nations on the front lines of climate change.
Palau’s President Surangel Whipps Jr, told world leaders at the COP26 in Glasgow, that his island nation is threatened by increasing sea level rise due to the use of fossil fuels, the primary source of man-made global warming.
“We are drowning, and our only hope is the life-ring you are holding.
“As large emitters with their insatiable appetite for advancement are continuing to abuse our environment, threatening our very survival. COP26 must light the fire.”
“We must hold each other accountable; it is incumbent upon the parties of this convention to concentrate on radical action, consistent mobilisation, rational outcomes as such Palau expects the set of rules guiding the implementation of the Paris Agreement be finalised as a priority outcome of COP26,” said President Whipps Jr in his address to world leaders.
He told the COP26 conference that the climate catastrophe and the traditional Palau fable of a youngster who grew into a giant and ‘wouldn’t stop growing… destroying all the natural resources’ had parallels.
The narrative, according to President Whipps Jr, is “eerily reminiscent” of today’s climate crisis.
“We see the scorching sun is giving us intolerable heat, the warming sea is invading us, the strong winds are blowing us every which way, our resources are disappearing before our eyes and our future is being robbed from us.”
“Frankly speaking, there is no dignity to a slow and painful death you might as well bomb our islands instead of making us suffer only to witness our slow and fateful demise,” he explained
President Whipps also said world emitters must increase their pledge on climate financing.
“We the islands that are devastated most, demand that your commitments of 100 billion annually be increased to meet the four trillion dollars the world bank reports are needed with substantial shares of climate financing to support costly adaptation needs,” he said.
Only three leaders from the Pacific including Fiji, Palau and Tuvalu are attending COP26 this year while the rest are staying back due to the closing of borders brought about by COVID-19 pandemic.