Fiji appeals to Trump to abandon stance on climate change
PUBLISHED Fri, November 18, 2016 - 2:44pm EST
Fiji, one of the countries most at risk from the rising sea level, has urged U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to abandon his position that man-made climate change is a hoax and has invited the incoming leader to meet on the issue.
Speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference in Morocco on Friday, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama urged the United States - the world's second-biggest carbon emitter - to take responsibility and show leadership on the issue of climate change.
Trump has previously called climate change a hoax "created by and for the Chinese" and pledged during his presidential campaign to "cancel all wasteful climate change spending". More recently, a source told Reuters that Trump is seeking quick ways to withdraw from the global climate deal reached in Paris.
"I appeal to the president-elect of the United States, Donald Trump, to show leadership on this issue by abandoning his current position that man-made climate change is a hoax," Bainimarama said. "On the contrary, the global scientific consensus is that it is very real and we must act more decisively to avert catastrophe."
Fiji is one of the countries that is most at risk from the rising sea level caused by climate change. Satellite data indicates that the sea level in Fiji has risen by about 6 mm per year since 1993, which is higher than the global average. This rise is expected to accelerate in the coming years.
"We in the Pacific, in common with the whole world, look to America for the leadership and its engagement and assistance on climate change, just as we looked to America during the dark days of World War II," Bainimarama said. "And I say to the American people: You came to save to us then and it is time for you to help save us now."
The prime minister further invited Trump to visit Fiji in the near future to see the effects of climate change for himself. "I renew my offer to President-elect Trump to come to Fiji ... and to meet Pacific island leaders face to face in Fiji to discuss the crisis we are all facing, along with other low-lying areas of the world, including parts of America," he said.
Trump's presidential transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
After passing a threshold for ratification on Wednesday with support from European nations, a sweeping global agreement to combat climate change by shifting the world economy away from fossil fuels will take force next month. Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Obama called the "Paris Agreement" potentially a "turning point" for our planet. Obama said, "This gives us the best possible shot to save the one planet we got." Addressing climate change has been a core goal for the president. Indeed, netting the Paris climate deal is considered a critical part of his environmental policy legacy.
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Some 170 countries are signing the Paris agreement on climate change at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Friday, signaling their commitment to put the landmark deal to curb global temperature rise into practice.