Nauru, one of the Pacific countries at the forefront of the climate crisis, has lamented the failure of what they describe as “people with real power” to avert the climate crisis.
Speaking during the resumed high-level segment of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Nauru’s Minister of Climate Change and National Resilience, Rennier Stanislaus Gadabu, said the message from his country and other Pacific nations has not changed since the first COP.
“For 27 years, small island nations have made appeals to our common humanity, to our shared values. We have placed our trust in Western experts, who have pushed false solutions and urged us to compromise for the good of the process,” Gadabu said.
“We have allowed ourselves to become props in environmental campaigns. Aspiring international celebrities have launched entire careers on the back of our projected demise. It’s hard to conclude that this strategy has been anything but a failure. The decision makers, those with real power, simply do not care.”
Pointing to the plight of small island countries like Nauru, Gadabu said these “people with real power” do not care about communities that will be displaced and destroyed. Many of these communities are in the Pacific region.
“They do not care about food and water shortages that ravage poor countries. All they care about is power- pure and simple. And they are willing to use all the tools at their disposal to maintain that power, regardless of the consequences. The rest of us merely collateral damage. It is long past time we recognise this reality and start behaving accordingly.”
For Nauru, the Minister of Climate Change and National Resilience, said the climate crisis has become an issue of national security.
Sea level has been rising at a faster rate than the global average, and is projected to increase throughout the 21st century. While Nauru has higher elevation than some Pacific Island nations, long-term sea-level rise threatens coastal livelihoods and infrastructure.
Coral bleaching, as a result of climate change, is a significant risk to the country’s ecology and economy and is part of a global picture of coral loss.
A realignment of the nation’s fisheries is likely, near-shore fisheries are likely to decline, while deep sea fisheries face an uncertain future. Research and risk monitoring are required given Nauru’s economic vulnerability. These are just some of the impacts of climate change on Nauru, forcing the Government to treat climate change as an issue of national security.
“As an issue of national security, we must forge alliances that protect our national security – not based on some vaguely-worded promises about distant failure, but based upon material outcomes in the here and now, material outcomes on the ground in Nauru,” he said. “Climate change is no longer a prospective danger to be avoided. It is a clear and present danger that will only grow for decades to come.”
On the 27th Conference of the Parties, Minister Gadabu said: “Twenty seven years of negotiating, twenty seven years of decisions, all directed at one purpose, clearly expressed in the Convention. To prevent dangerous interference with the climate system. I hope you will agree that we are well past “dangerous”.
“I do believe we are approaching the point at which the major powers will mobillise to address the impacts of climate change. The impacts are reaching a level that is destabilising, even for them. We may even see it within the next twenty seven years.”