October 18, 2009

Pacific Islanders Discuss Climate Change Plan

Officials from Pacific island countries, which may become the earliest victims of climate change, are set to devise a strategy for the crucial Copenhagen conference.

The officials will meet this week in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, a nation where islands average less than one meter above sea level.

Over a dozen Pacific Island countries will be deliberating their strategy for the United Nations Climate Conference in December in Copenhagen. They will attempt to negotiate an international deal to combat global warming.

Espen Ronneberg, the climate change advisor to the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), said on Thursday that Pacific countries will be gathering new information on the impact of global warming in the region to devise a negotiating strategy.

Ban Chutaro, board chairman for Marshall Islands Environmental Protection Authority, says, "We are going to be among the first casualties of climate change."

Mark Lander, a meteorologist with the University of Guam's Water and Environmental Research Institute, says the rise of sea levels in Micronesia this decade has been three times the world average.

"In Micronesia we're seeing 10 millimeters per year. This is extreme sea level rise and far exceeds the global average," says Lander.


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