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February 28, 2016 | by  | in News Splash |
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Kiribati is about to fucking sink

“We are not drowning, we are fighting.”

In the calm before O-Week, Victoria University hosted an event which was kind of a massive deal—the Pacific Climate Change Conference 2016.

For three days, attendees heard from leaders in the climate change field ranging from professors, entrepreneurs, and journalists, through to the president of the Republic of Kiribati, Anote Tong. Representatives from 16 Pacific Island nations were also in attendance.

President Anote Tong gave the keynote address of the conference about the fate of his country.

Tong appealed for those in attendance to stand up to those ignoring the climate change. With scientists believing Kiribati could be uninhabitable as soon as 2030, Tong added urgency by telling attendee that the low-lying islands and atolls making up Kiribati were already experiencing “extreme high tides and more severe storms on [an] unprecedented magnitude.”

The final day of the conference focused on the future of climate politics, and saw Australian National University Climate Change Institute director Will Steffen tell those in attendance that if changes aren’t made now, a 6.0°C temperature increase by 2100 is possible—something which could “collapse contemporary civilisation.”

By the conference’s close, a memorandum of understanding had been signed by Victoria University provost Wendy Larner and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme’s (SPREP) director general Kosi Latu.

The memorandum has created a framework for future co-operation on activities of mutual interest such as climate change research, coral research, and the enhancement of biosecurity.

Following the signing, Larner said “the university has a long-held role in the Pacific and recognises we must work hand-in-hand with our Pacific neighbours if we are serious about facing the issues arising from global warming.”

Victoria University is the first New Zealand university to formally sign a memorandum of understanding with the SPREP.

The conference came off the back of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference where the Paris Agreement was signed by delegates from 195 countries. In ratifying the treaty, states are agreeing to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to aim to keep global warming below 2.0°C by 2030. State’s will be able to review each other’s contribution to decreasing emissions every five years.

There is no word yet on when New Zealand will ratify the treaty.

 

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