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REGION: Pacific needs to prepare for climate change impact, says Kerry

John Kerry reaffirms the urgency of taking action over climate change at the Pacific Islands Forum. Image:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Item: 8400

MAJURO (Pacific Media Watch): The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, made no new environmental promises at his speech at the Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro this week, but said that there is “still time to prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change”.

Kerry, who addressed the Forum via a video link, acknowledged that the Pacific was on “the front lines of climate change” and that there was a need for climate change mitigation efforts.

“The people of the Pacific Islands know as well as anyone that we also need to prepare communities for the impacts that are already being felt.”

The former US presidential candidate emphasised that there had already been progress in adapting to the climate change challenge.

“I stand with you in the fight against climate change, and I look forward to continuing to work together to ensure a more secure future for the Pacific family of nations and the entire planet,” he said.

Kerry also made the consequences of not doing anything clear.

“Without strong – and immediate – action we can all expect new threats to critical infrastructure, regional stability, public health, economic vitality, and, in some cases, even long-term viability of states.”

Action plan
But instead of promising new US climate change policies, Kerry pointed to an already existing plan.

“This summer, President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan, which will drive more aggressive action than ever before and help us meet our commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 17 percent from 2005 levels.”

The US Secretary of State also stressed the importance of co-operation in combating climate change.

“I applaud the steps Pacific Island nations are taking to adapt to and address climate change. And let me assure you that the United States is committed to doing our part also.

We also know that no single nation can take on this challenge alone – and few have the resources to even try. Climate change is a global crisis, and it will require a global solution – one that includes shared resources, shared responsibility and a shared sense of urgency above all.”

Listen to John Kerry’s speech

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