Tuvalu's State of Emergency | The Jackal

3 Oct 2011

Tuvalu's State of Emergency

If you haven't had your head buried in the sand lately, you might be aware that unchecked climate change is starting to have a major impact on the earth, especially on low lying Islands.

The Polynesian Nation known as Tuvalu declared a state of emergency today, because of a lack of clean drinking water. This is undoubtedly due to seawater intrusion contaminating groundwater. It's an effect of rising sea levels caused by climate change.

Being that climate change is a major issue that needs to be addressed appropriately, we should expect our government to undertake policy that alleviates the causes and symptoms of climate change.

However National through a revised Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) has recently made it more cost effective for polluting industries to pollute more, effectively ensuring New Zealand will fail to meet its obligations set out under the Kyoto protocol.

In fact as soon as National gained power in 2008 they halted implementation of the newly passed ETS pending a full review, scrapped Labour’s ban on traditional (and inefficient) incandescent light-bulbs and repealed the ten-year ban on new thermal power stations, just to mention a few of their denialist policy changes.

Today the New Zealand Herald reports:
The tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has declared a state of emergency due to a severe shortage of fresh water.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully said in a statement that water is scarce in the capital, Funafuti, as well as in a number of outlying islands.

McCully said New Zealand's defence services were flying today to Tuvalu armed with supplies including two desalination units. The New Zealand Red Cross is also contributing supplies and people to help.
I notice that the article paints McCully in a favourable light while not mentioning climate change or rising sea levels once.

National isn't much better at providing factual information either... despite a major upgrade to their website, they still use a very old pdf download that has Don Brash promoting their outdated policies.

On that same website, National claims they will set a target of a 50% reduction in carbon equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050.

However at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, which took place in June 2011, New Zealand's representatives refused to set a 2020 emissions target... clearly showing National is simply electioneering and has no intention of meeting any emission reductions at all.

Knowing that they would not be able to meet the criteria set out in the Kyoto protocol, to reduce emissions to an average of 5% against 1990 levels by 2012, National preferred arrangements to be made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and not under the Kyoto Protocol.

At the time, Tuvalu representatives expressed dismay at New Zealand's decision, saying they were disappointment with the lack of progress on addressing climate change.

Way back in September 2003, Tuvalu Prime Minister Saufatu Sopoanga spoke of his concern at the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York:
"We live in constant fear of the adverse impacts of climate change. For a coral atoll nation, sea level rise and more severe weather events loom as a growing threat to our entire population. The threat is real and serious, and is of no difference to a slow and insidious form of terrorism against us," Sopoanga said.
Meanwhile National has cut public transport services funding by 23%, while increasing funding for the state highway network by billions of dollars, which will increase CO2 emissions markedly. In my opinion National's policy failures show just how much they care for places like Tuvalu...they don't.