SUVA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Fiji's options of getting an adequate international response to climate change are limited, Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said Monday.
Speaking at the opening of the Building Resilience Summit on Climate Change in the Fijian resort town of Nadi on Monday, Bainimarama said there is a lack of political will from overseas countries to take tough decisions needed to reduce carbon emissions.
Fiji is disheartened to see the lack of leadership being demonstrated by some neighbouring countries in the region, including Australia, despite their heavy carbon emissions, he added.
"The Australian government once described climate change as the greatest morale challenge of our time, for once I agreed with the Australians on this, so it's been very disappointing for pacific islanders to see Kevin Rudd and Australia generally back away from the tough emission targets that were once envisioned before it became obvious that this came with a political cost," said Bainimarama.
Bainimarama encouraged Pacific island countries to act decisively themselves, saying the recent Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) meeting will formulate proposals to take to a wider global meeting of small island states in Samoa next September.
Island countries can not hope to achieve change only by using their collective strength but with good influence, they could persuade the world of the absolute imperative for immediate response, Bainimarama said.
"Simply put, there is a lamentable lack of political will in those countries that are the big polluters to take the tough decisions needed to reduce carbon emissions," said the prime minister.
"The scientific consensus is that these emissions are pushing up global temperatures. The polar regions are melting and sea levels are rising. And as they go up, we are gradually being submerged. The situation in countries like Kiribati and Tuvalu is critical. Their very existence as nations is threatened. And in countries like Fiji, we are already moving whole villages out of the path of the encroaching waters," Bainimarama said.
"As I have said before, it is the height of selfishness for the industrialized countries the big carbon polluters to put their economic interests before our survival. To them we say: we didn't cause this, you did. For heaven's sake, face up to your responsibilities and do what the scientists say you need to do. Stop talking and start taking appropriate and decisive action," Bainimarama underscored.