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Scoop Coverage: ‘In the Eye of the Storm’ Pacific Climate Change Conference 2016

In February 2016, Victoria University hosted its first climate change conference focused on the effects, challenges and possible solutions for countries in the Pacific.

Speakers from the Pacific region and beyond from a range of fields – science, politics, indigenous rights, media, arts and the environment – came together to discuss the realities of climate change in the Pacific.”

Thomas Leaycraft reported from the conference for Scoop.

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Closing Address: Paris Agreement Not Enough For Pacific Nations
Kosi Latu, the director-general of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, which has 26 member nations, said: “I think it’s a positive outcome for our regions and a positive outcome for our countries … but it’s not finished yet.” More>>

Closing Forum: Labour’s Sio – New Zealand Must Act Now On Climate Change
Labour Party MP Su’a William Sio has told a climate change conference that the public needs to start thinking about ‘the end of the fossil fuel world’. More>>

Professor William Steffen: Climate Change Badly Damaging Australia
… It faced many of the same crises as Pacific Island nations. Above-average sea level rise had caused “a threefold increase in coastal flooding” on both Australian coasts. Ocean acidification had significantly damaged the Great Barrier Reef, which was crucial to both Australia’s fishing and tourism industries. “This is a livelihood issue for us.” More>>

Climate Warrior: Vatican Kava Ceremony All Part Of Climate Activism
Praying for action on climate change and a kava ceremony in the heart of the Catholic church were all part of the journey leading up to last year’s momentous Paris climate change talks, according to the leader of the Pacific Climate Warriors… The group comprised activists from fifteen countries who had taken action regionally and across the world to combat climate change, Tiumalu said. They were perhaps best known for using canoes in an attempt to prevent Australian coal ships from leaving port. More>>

Bill McKibben: Climate Change Action ‘A Fight’ With Big Oil
Climate change activists have to be prepared for a confrontation with oil companies that will “flat out lie”, environmental leader Bill McKibben said yesterday… Noting how high the stakes were, he said there were “absolute survival risks in this century if we let the temperature go up even a little bit more”. More>>

Minister’s Remarks: Bennett Acknowledges Need For ‘Collective’ Action
Paula Bennett, the Minister for Climate Change, has acknowledged that widespread action is needed to tackle climate change… The government was “committed to reaching its ambitious target of reduce emissions by 30% by 2030”, though she insisted that “support for climate action has to support sustainable economic development”. More>>

Dayle Takitimu: Indigenous Rights Lawyer Urges Solidarity Over Climate Change
… Arguments about climate change were often too technical and neglected the basic “truths” surrounding the issue, Takitimu added. “Before we run to textbooks and graphs, it’s about being in touch with what we know, and being in touch with our ways of knowing.” More>>

Tim Naish: Only Ten Years To Tackle Climate Change
Keeping world temperature rises to less than two degrees is considered important to avoid the worst effects of climate change. However, Naish warned: “The window of possibility for less than two degrees temperature rise will close in the next ten years.” Naish, a professor of glaciology at Victoria University, and Professor James Renwick of Victoria’s School of Geography, were presenting empirical evidence on the long- and short-term implications of climate change. More>>

Kiribati And Kapiti: President Anote Tong On Climate Change
When President Anote Tong of the Republic of Kiribati told his story about climate change to the United Nations General Assembly, they didn’t listen. “They only want to talk about terrorism,” Tong said. “Perhaps we should call it eco-terrorism. Then they might listen.” … While he jokingly requested that New Zealand gift him Kapiti Island in case the ocean should swallow Kiribati, his remarks painted a bleak picture of a disappearing island and a nation deeply affected by the rising sea. More>>

Pala Molisa: ‘In The Eye Of The Storm’ Conference Begins
“One of the reasons we call this … conference ‘In the Eye of the Storm’,” Molisa says, “is that the Pacific is one of the places where the impacts of climate change will be most severely felt and first felt. We’re going to lose islands – we’re going to lose whole countries – because of rising sea levels … The Pacific is one of the most vulnerable areas to these super storms and extreme weather events.” More>>

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