Majuro, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- A tense opening session of the 44th pacific Islands Forum has been dominated by appeals from pacific leaders for 'real action' against the threat of rising sea levels associated with climate change.
Speaking at the International Conference Center in Majuro, the capital of Marshall Islands, the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, responded to a presentation from Nobel Peace Prize Professor Elisabeth Holland by decrying what he intimated as the dollar approach of 'theoretical scientists' to an issue that requires 'concrete action.'
Slade said, " when speaking of trading I feel worried we maybe shifting attention to what may be taken away from the real actions that are direct actions to be done to save these islands.
Holland, the co-recipient with Former U.S. Presidential nominee Al Gore of the 2007 Nobel Prize and the Director of the Pacific Centre for Environmental and Sustainable Development at the University of the South Pacific told a panel of experts on climate leadership that pacific islands had a resource bound in negative emissions worth almost 5 billion U.S. dollars at the current global exchange rate.
"I found that collective emissions from Pacific islands countries we have negative emissions of 8.1 gigatons already." Holland said.
Newly installed Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, echoed Slade's concerns despite island nations compiling negative emissions through Ocean carbon sink holes and forest regrowth, which he described as good news, but that the time for trading carbon was over.
"I think we have to be very cautious that we are not sending mixed signals, what must be done is concrete action on the ground to save small islands." Sopoaga said.
Professor Holland, a contributing author to several intergovernmental panel climate change assessment report's described herself as a theoretical scientist forced to become a ' practical scientist in facing the realities of the impact of rising sea levels in the pacific.
Holland said there was hope, despite the prevailing view here that concrete action was required 'yesterday.'
"It is still possible to choose a different path and this where we need the pacific leadership to come together with the scientific community."
However, the Holland's optimistic assessment was dismissed outright by the Tuvaluan prime minister in a blunt attack from the floor that received spontaneous applause.
"The situation is dire," he said.
"There is simply no point of talking about sustainable development if we cannot reverse the impact of climate change."
The 44th Pacific Islands Forum is being held on Tuesday in the Marshall Islands, one of the world's most climate exposed nations, and runs until Thursday.