Tuesday 15 December 2009

Seal the Deal in Copenhagen, it’s in the interest of the world, urges Ban Ki Moon

Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Climate Pasifika, Photos - Matelita Ragogo

Copenhagen, 15 December- Three years of trying to get world leaders to the table to solve climate change have come down to three days of action.  And United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon is more than hopeful the presence in Copenhagen later this week of more than 120 world leaders will bring political leadership on a new global climate change deal.

“We have a chance, a real chance to change the course of our history.  Young people from all over the world are reaching out to us.  Show us change, they asked.  Show us leadership, is what the world is waiting with bated breath this week.  I am optimistic Copenhagen will come up with a fair and ambitious deal that the world wants.  It’s time to finish this job. A new era of hope is within our crescent. We have three days left to seal a deal!"

Mr Ban (below right) didn’t mince his words at the opening of the high level segment, when he said, “Stop pointing fingers and start making compromises.

“It’s time for common sense, compromise and courage.”

The President of COP15, Danish minister for the climate change negotiations, Connie Hedegaard was forthright in her description of the status of the negotiations.

“In these very hours, we are balancing between success and failure. Success is still within reach but as COP president, I must also warn you – we can fail!  Without showing her frustration with the pace of negotiations, Ms Hedegaard said, “we spent too much time on posturing, on repeating positions and on formalities”.

“If we are going to make it, and we are, then we must change gears. We can’t risk failure – that means the key word for the next two days must be compromise!"Ms Hedegaard pleaded with parties to turn divisions into decision.

“In the next three days we have a unique chance. We can choose between fame or shame or favour action over stalemate."

The five issues that need to be expedited in the coming three days – ambitious mid term mitigation targets from industrialised countries, action by developing countries to limit emissions growth below ‘business as usual’, an adaptation framework for all countries, financing and technology support and financing.  Mr Ban said the $10 billion committed as a fast start financing mechanism will not solve the challenges of climate change.

“We cannot leave here without an understanding of how we will proceed on this vital question.  We have come a long, long way. Let us not falter in the home stretch", said Mr Ban.

On Wednesday, most of the 120 world leaders will make country statements to the main plenary session, while negotiations will continue in the background, with the hope that one or two agreements will be ready on Friday for initialing.

Survival brownies for solidarity at COP15

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Freelance journalist, Climate Pasifika
Copenhagen, 15 December - 'Project Survival' director James Tilbury with Emma Christopher of Fiji (above) presented Pacific AOSIS members working through an evening at the Bella Centre with locally-baked brownies. The gesture of solidarity from the youth activists came as AOSIS negotiators and teams hunkered down here for a long night of negotiations. 

Due to over registration which means for every person at the COP15 venue, two more are registered and unable to get in, many Project survival members are amongst the thousands of NGOs queuing outside and continuing their lobbying of delegates. 

Said Christopher, "this is just a small gesture from us to AOSIS to continue our solidarity with your work at this important time. We wish you all the best and want to let you know we are thinking of you." 

The youth advocates from the Pacific, supported with fundraising and training from their Australian Youth Climate Coalition counterparts, have been in unprecedented partnership with Pacific leaders here, featuring alongside leaders during press conferences as a reminder of the stakeholders who will ultimately live with the decisions announced this Friday. As for the verdict on the brownies? Delicious!--ENDS 

Behind the glam of the opening, COP15 reaches tipping point

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Freelance journalist, Climate Pasifika 
Copenhagen, 15 December - Pacific delegates and others who have left tropical climes to come to Denmark for this much awaited event took a break -- albeit short-- from AOSIS disappointment over slow progress in negotiations today. Instead, they got excited about the first snowfall in Copenhagen since they arrived. But apart from the snow outside, and the opening ceremony lineup inside -- and as their families wake up to another day on the other side of the world, here in the chill of a Copenhagen winter night, the sweating over text continued for negotiators struggling past clashing mandates and competing positions to try and avoid the worst case scenario: no deal at all.

COP15 Chair Connie Hedegaard and UNFCCC's Yvo de Boer shared the opening ceremony limelight with the Prince of Wales and 2004 Nobel laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai. Tonight , as 'Hopenhagen' held out for the glam of the cultural welcome ceremony hosted by the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and UN Sec.Gen BAN Ki-moon, negotiators, drafters, text-experts and their support teams continue to labour over what is shaping up to be a very long night.

Photo: David Ngatae, Myra Moeka'a-Patai, Trevor Pitt and Liz Wright-Koteka in speech drafting mode as Pacific leaders begin taking the podium for national statements tomorrow, Wednesday 16th December. (Photo: Rikana Toroma).

1.5 to stay alive: understanding why 2 degrees is just too much-- the position of 100 nations at COP15

INsideINsights@COP15: Geoffrey Smith, Fiji

Climate Pasifika media team
Copenhagen, 15 December - After 11 years at Fiji Television journalist Geoffrey Smith is a seasoned reporter on what's happening with climate change in his own country and region. Here in Copenhagen at his first COP meeting, Smith shares insights from behind the lens:

Q and A@COP15: Changing the climate at COP15 with AOSIS Coordinator Pasha Carruthers

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Freelance Journalist, Climate Pacific Media
Copenhagen, 15 December - It's been almost 15 years now since Cook Islander Pasha Carruthers first joined the PICCAP (Pacific Islands Climate Change Adaptation Project) team for the Cook Islands. Now she is a COP veteran, leading critical negotiations into the small hours at this and previous COP meetings. Her current hats include advising not just the Pacific but all the small island states of the world within the AOSIS grouping, on adaptation. Climate Pacific media's Lisa Williams-Lahari caught up with Carruthers as she was heading between meetings at COP15's crunch time. Like other negotiators at COP15 surviving on long days and even longer nights, Carruthers is wrangling through the maze of text which the AOSIS is still hoping will form the basis for a legal commitment from more than 100 world leaders, this Friday.

LWL: It's getting to crunch time. What are the issues now as we head towards Friday?
PC: The issues now are funding of course, and also institutional arrangements. What we're looking at under the convention. We have to have the support. We don't want to be going all over the world looking for help on these huge issues of adapation. How do we deal with food security? How do we deal with water resources? How do we deal with human health? Climate change is impacting on all these areas -- and what are we going to do about it? We might have some knowledge -- in fact we do-- like the Cook Islands. But we also need to get technical support from the international level and the regional level but we don't want to be having to look for it. So the idea is to have the coordination for this under the convention. And also for the funding -- we dont want to go all over the show looking for the funding, having to have different rules. We simply in the Cook Islands don't have enough people to develop the proposals. I think the ideas that developed countries have and developing countries, are very different in terms of what's needed to make adaptation happen on the groun. Developed countries want it to be all about policies and things like that but developing countries say no it's time for action, for us to feel able and ok to cope with these impacts on the ground.

LWL: How hard does it make your job then of getting all the red lines and brackets out of the text you want to put through?

PC: It's very hard, especially because until now we haven't actually been focussing on the text. Everybody's just been stating our own postiions and now we have to go forward on the actual text and make sure that the small islands states concerns are captured in that.

LWL:There was some mention that you also have to watch out on the timing of these negotiations and hours at which developed countries with their bigger delegations are waiting to change text-- how critical is that?

PC: Oh, you can't leave the room! As simple as that. You have to be in to make sure your text (stays). The problem is when you're tired you make mistakes, and sometimes you let things go that you shouldn't and you don't realise (laughs) there's tricks happening out there. But I think most countries want something on adaptation. In that respect, it might be easier as an issue, but of course they don't want to pay for it. Basically it seems like developed countries want developing countries to take adaptation in their own countries and pay for it themselves, and then come and share their information at this level but no, that's not what we're looking for. We're looking for action on the ground.

LWL: Are you confident you will get it? It seems there's a bit of a morale slump in the AOSIS camp.
PC: I think as far as the big picture -- because the amount of adaptation we have to do depends on the mitigation that's undertaken, so if there's ambitious mitigation we won't have to adapt to as many impacts, as many physical changes in the environment. But if the mitigation language is lower we have to do a whole lot more and it'll cost developed countries a whole lot more. I think all countries have to realise that unless we do something it will be a much higher cost. Never mind the fact that we're fighting for our people, our culture and our land.

LWL: There's so many (issues) in that basket of issues -- adaptation is just one of them. Is it the most important one?
PC: I think that's part of it, because of the lack of ambition being shown  In the old days you didn't fight for adaptation so much because you were fighting more for mitigation so you wouldn't have to adapt. But now, we have to adapt, no matter what. But it's how much we have to adapt. In some ways it's just as important and unfortunately the less mitigation there is, the more important it will become.

LWL: And it's all about how much its going to cost.

PC: Of course.

LWL: Will 10billion (announced earlier this week by EU) be enough?

PC: No, 10billion will not be enough. I mean World Bank and institutions like that which are donor run are estimating we need 86 to 160billion, and UNDP are saying similar. That's per year until 2015 so 10billion is not enough, and especially the way they're talking about 10billion for all aspects of climate change, including mitigation, technology building, not just adaptation on the ground. So definitely it's not enough.--ENDS

Schwarzenegger charms COP15, spreads a green message

By Cherelle Jackson, Environment Weekly, Climate Pasifika, Photo by Cherelle Jackson

Copenhagen, 15 December - Famous leaders have graced the halls of the Bella Centre for the COP15 these past few days, but only one has caused hundreds of journalists to go running for tickets to enter his

Arnold Schwarzenegger the Mayor of California, but better known in our parts as the Terminator addressed a handful of COP15 participants in Copenhagen this afternoon.

"It is the individuals, the civil societies, the sub national leaders and the people that make a difference, who can push to make changes," Schwarzenegger said.

According to the former action hero  although high level decisions are necessary, they can be time consuming and less action oriented.

"While national governments have been fighting over emmissions, some sub national governments have been adopting their own targets.  While national governments debate on carbon caps affecting their economies, many of their citizens are seeking greener lifestyles on their own."

Schwarzenegger said: "I believe in the power of the people, the individuals, the activisits and scientists to be the implementers of new ideas."

The Mayor said: "I think too often we fail to see the progress made in those different levels."

Although the audience was captivated by his address, many were impressed by his sense of humour.

He complimented Copenhagen for their green approaches, and said that it was not his first time to the city.

"I have been here before to promote my movies, and for weightlifting conventions," to this the crowd laughed.

"I never thought I would even come here as the Mayor of California to address a climate change conference."

Despite that he ended his address on a humorous note saying: "That's it from me, and I'll be back."

Political consultations continue in Copenhagen, next 48 hours crucial

Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 15 December - Open ended informal consultations continues Tuesday as the president of the Conference of the Parties (COP15), Connie Hedegraard comes under intense pressure to find political solutions to a number of ‘sticking’ points of the negotiations.

On Monday, Ms Hedegaard appointed five groups, chaired and facilitated by ministers to discuss among other things developed countries targets under Kyoto Protocol, long term financing for adaptation and mitigation, long term emission reduction goal, developing country mitigation efforts and other issues arising from mitigation policies, international aviation and marine bunker fuels.

“Ministers are now working, knowing full well that time is limited. The next 48 hours is crucial, if we are to be successful here, said Ms Hedegaard.

UNFCCC executive secretary, Yvo de Boer said while some progress has been made, there needs to be more engagement from developing countries.

“We’ve now reached a very distinct and important moment in the negotiation. Ministers now have 48 hours to inform their Heads of States of whether an agreement can be signed here in Copenhagen, said Mr de Boer.

Both Hedegaard and de Boer defended the political process now in place to try and find an amicable solution to the negotiations, which have been stalled by ‘processes’ within the Kyoto Protocol.

“We’ve had a transparent, open and inclusive informal discussions. This is a UN conference and every member has to everything before we can proceed on anything. We cannot dictate anything."

“There is no conspiracy. We have nothing to hide", defended Ms Hedegaard.

She admits however that there are still some obstacles but ministers are working their way through these sensitive issues.

“We still need to progress on longer term financing and a governance structure. We are still not there with commitments, said Ms Hedegaard.

The informal high level segment starts Tuesday evening and continues into Wednesday and Thursday. All 193 members of UNFCCC are expected to make country statements during the two days High Level Segment

Seal Level Rise and Coral Bleaching

Rachna Lal, USP Journalism, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 15 December - According to research and statistics presented by Professor Rob Dunbar of Stanford University, the sea level will rise by 50-60 centimeters by 2050 and in the event of the entire West Antarctic ice sheet melting, the sea level will increase as much as six meters.

“This will be more dangerous for the small Pacific Islands as the biggest danger facing them is the fact that they do not have a high elevation to retreat to,” he said.

“I have been working in Pacific islands nations such as Kiribati and Tuvalu and have realized that these islands will become uninhabitable even before sea level rise takes over completely.”

Dunbar (left) pointed that coastal erosion is already happening as well as king tides coming inland and destroying their food and water sources.

“The highest point in such small islands is merely one to two meters above the sea and because their water and food sources are getting destroyed by king tides, they may have to relocate even if the sea level does increase as such,” he stated.

While on the issue of oceans and climate change impacts, Ove Hoegh Guldberg says the world has already lost about 30 to 40 percent of corals over the last 40 years due to coral bleaching arising from ocean acidification.

The University of Queensland based representative said, “We are now losing corals at a rate of two percent every year and this is a lot faster than before.”

“There are a number of consensus papers stating that the only way to sustain the ecosystem is to pertain the atmosphere at 350 parts per million (ppm).

Pacific voices@COP15 Joe Pokana, PNG Government on REDD

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 15 December - Papua New Guinea has explained its strong stand on REDD in the Alliance of small islands states (AOSIS) saying the complexities over shifting from fund based to market based financing has to be within the context of indigenous rights.

Joe Pokana of the PNG Government delegation says that for a country such as theirs with majority of land still under indigenous ownership, it will be something they intend to include as part of ongoing negotiations.  

Joe Pokana - PNG Delegate

The other thing that we are looking at is finance, we are pushing for three phase finance that will move from readiness to market based thats what we are doing. There's a lot of resistance to that option that one moves from market based to fund based, so we are moving from a readiness fund to a market based.

A lot of parties during our discussions and negotiations they want us to only stop at fund based and maybe in the next commitment phase than we go to market based.

Its those areas that we are really pushing for even though we are supporting other issues that the Coalition of Rainforest parties are involved in, we support human rights and indigenous rights because for Papua New Guinea 97 percent of our land is owned by local people so we cant do a policy thats outside of what our national circumstances are, we have to make sure that we capture in our negotiations as well.

So those are the key areas that we are pushing and working on it for the last 4 years so that REDD became an issue in Montreal in 2005. 

Samoan delegation and Minister stranded in the cold

Cherelle Jackson, Environment Weekly, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 15 December - Three members of the Samoan delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen received a not so warm welcome from Denmark.

After flying for more than 20 hours the previous day, the Minister of Health Hon. Gatoloai Ama Gidlow and two delegates from Samoa had to wait for up to six hours outside the blistering cold and snow at the Bella  Centre the next morning to get registered.

Gatoloai who was pre-registered as a representing Minister managed to go into the centre within the hour but returned to appeal to the officers to let two supporting delegates, who were placed some 300 people behind in the registration line.

Unfortunately the Danish officers who did not understand UN protocol did not allow the two delegates to be registered with the Minister.  Thus six hours later without much progress the two delegates were still in line.  Luckily for the delegates, a Samoan Police Officer currently serving a United Nations Mission and one of the securities at the conference came to their aid. Tonisi Lalogafau rescued the delegates from the cold and personally escorted them into the centre without a fuss.  It took another two hours before the two were registered.  Gatoloai said she was disappointed at the way in which the registration process was handled.  When Environment Weekly caught up with her, she was safe and warm inside the Bella Centre, but tired from the wait.

Meanwhile hundreds of others were turned away at the gate as the Danish conferencing system collapsed causing great delays, and even harsh reaction from the conference goers.  The Conference organisers told the media that they were only prepared for up to 20,000 participants, but have been hosting 45,000 therefore cause glitches in the system.

The high level meeting starts today in Copenhagen.

Australian PM warns of failure

Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Climate Pasifika (Source: Sky News)
Copenhagen, 15 December - Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is urging developed as well as emerging economies to compromise and show more flexibility in Copenhagen.

His reaction comes as ‘consensus’ looks difficult due to stalled negotiations in the Danish city. 

"Otherwise, the global climate summit is at risk of "failure", the Prime Minister told Sky News.

“I think, to land a strong agreement in Copenhagen we are going to have to see more compromise all round - from the big developed economies as well as the emerging economies... We've got a lot of work ahead of us,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr Rudd, who has been appointed a deal-brokering “friend of the chair” by the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, has been forced to head to Copenhagen without parliamentary approval of his proposed carbon trade laws.

On Tuesday Rudd will meet with his Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama as well as Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada en route to theo UN climate summit in Copenhagen.

Yvo de Boer takes blame for ‘nightmarish’ logistical arrangements

Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Climate Pasfika -
Copenhagen, 15 December
- UN climate change boss, Yves de Boer has taken full blame for the overwhelming logistical arrangements that forced thousands of delegates and observers out in the cold for up to six hours yesterday (Monday) queuing to get into the conference venue here in Copenhagen.

In his daily briefing Tuesday, de Boer said he was responsible for all the ‘difficulties’ yesterday.

“You can’t fit a size 12 shoe into a size 6. The conference centre can only take 15,000 people. What do we do when 46,000 are registered and wanted their voices to be heard here at the conference?

“Do we stop when registration reached 15,000?

“Our expectations were that people will come in and out during the two weeks conference", Mr de Boer explained.

The flow of people into the conference improved today, as police and military assisted the movement of people in and out of Bella Centre in an orderly fashion.

As of Tuesday, over 46,000 delegates and observers have registered for the climate change conference.

Of this number, 22,747 are registered observers, a big number of which are non governmental organisations.  From today, only 1,000 NGOs representatives will be allowed to attend the meetings on a daily basis.

Bianca Jagger on the PNG delegation

Ahimsa Kibikibi, PNG National Broadcasting Corporation, Climate Pasifika
Copenhagen, 14 December - Papua New Guinea is hosting a gala event in Copenhagen, which features Bianca Jagger, who is registered as a country delegate.

The former Mrs Jagger, a prominent human rights and climate change advocate, also a goodwill ambassador was invited to promote the rights of indigenous forest dwelling communities, under the ticket of the Coalition of Rainforest Nations, which PNG co-chairs.

Audio: Bianca Jagger
Transcript: ' I am invited to be speaking to the gala that the Coalition of Rainforest Nations will have,' she said.

She will be presenting on  the inclusion of indigenous rights of forest owners which she says is key for a successful REDD agreement.

Audio: Bianca Jagger
Transcript: ' we really cannot achieve a successful,effective and robust REDD agreement if we are not going to include indigenous people and their communities.

Meanwhile,evironmental watchdog Global Witness has highlighted concerns over PNG's opposition to a provision of text which safeguards indigenous rights in the REDD text document.

Dr Rosalind Reeve said questions will have to raised with chief negotiator, Kevin Conrad as to why PNG opposed this important provision,which is now in the preamble and not in operations, where it can be covered in the legally binding text instead of just being where it does not count.

Dr Reeve said the safeguards on indigenous rights do impede on human rights, if they are surpressed.

Audio: Dr Reeve
Transcript: 'Papua New Guinea opposed this provision in the operation, so then in effect Papua New Guinea is opposing the safeguards on rights and some questions need to be raised with Kevin Conrad,' she said.

Coping with Changing Climates in Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use

Ruci Mafi, SPC, Climate Pasifika

Agriculture, forestry and land use can also contribute to climate change mitigation through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration, a report launched at the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said.

The report launched by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) challenged governments to decide how they can systematically think about and then undertake adaptation and mitigation activities.

Governments have been urged not to “wait for projections based on the output of scientific models of climate change” to confirm what is already suspected or known about the impacts of climate trends, variations and extremes on food security.

“The inherent issues related to national decision making must be evaluated to determine if government are equipped to cope with the dynamic nature of the impacts of climate change. In other words, are governments able and ready to address twenty first century climate change problems that are not covered under current policies and programmes?” the report noted.

The report is an expanded version of a paper that was originally drafted to encourage participants to the FAO Expert Meeting on Adaptation and Mitigation.

“Policy makers are now being pressed to cope with a changing climate, from its anthropogenic causes to its impacts on food security. In this task, they are not unharmed: they can rely on information, knowledge and experience derived from historical accounts of the impacts of climate, water and weather as well as scenarios derived from global and regional modeling activities,’’ the report said.

In welcoming the report, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) North Pacific Manager, Amena Yauvoli said the insights of the report are worth undertaking in their own right.

“The results of climate change can be slow but cumulative and we must encourage our policy makers in the region to improve the ways they choose to deal with environment issues especially if they are to influence food security,” Mr Yauvoli said.

The report said there were numerous existing controversies and conflicts in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

“The controversies and conflicts must be made explicit, and their functional as well as their geographic boundaries must be indentified and dealt with in a more global and systematic way.”

“Prevention strategies and tactics must be pursued along with mitigation and adaptation,” the report said.

Pacific youth will keep on fghting until Leaders listen

Ahimsa Kibikibi, PNG National Broadcasting Corporation, Climate Pasifika  
Copenhagen, 15 December - They will not be statistics and they will not shut up until leaders take action, here in Copenhagen or beyond.

Pacific youth gave this resolve and today showed in many ways why the Pacific is unique, not only because of its rich bio-diversity, languages and cultures but also its food. 

Coconut, a main ingredient and source of food found on all islands and coastal regions also featured, guests at the Pacific youth press conference were given a taste of coconut ice and for some it may have been their first taste of the Pacific's tree of Life, as none was left on the tray at the end of the session. 

The youth gave strong messages through poems and presentations on how their countries are being affected by climate change. 

Here are some of their messages: 

Audio transcript:  ' we want the developed countries to champion this cause, India and China have led the cause, we want you to continue there is more that can be done, lives are at stake here and you have heard stories not just statistics, real island people," (Vanuatu)

Audio transcript: ' we call upon the world leaders, to ask with humanity and without delay, we call also on world leaders to help raise our voice and we call on all citizens of the planet to address with real good passion, committment and urgency.' (Kiribati)

Pacific Voices @ COP 15: Solomon Islands youth and Samoa youth

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 15 December -


Maylin Sese, Solomon Islands Youth Delegate
Hi my name is Maylin Sese and I'm from the Solomon Islands and I really hope to hear that a deal is being signed in Copenhagen so that I can take this hope to my people in the Solomon Islands. I'm really hoping that this deal can be legally and ambitiously signed by those leaders. This is my only hope that I have.

Tamati Fau, Samoa
I'm Tamati Fau from Samoa and I think what we need to get as the outcome of this COP15 is we hope that all that is needed to be achieved is achieved.

Christina Ora, Solomon Islands
Hi my name is Christina Ora and I'm from the Solomon Islands and I'm here in Copenhagen to put the voice of the Pacific Islanders out there and what I hope to achieve out of this is the experience and what we all wanted and hope and pray for, a legally binding agreement, so seal the deal.

Pacific Voices @ COP15: David Lambourne, Kiribati

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika

One of the Pacific states hit hardest by climate change is critical of how other developed states are approaching COP15.

Kiribati negotiator David Lambourne says unless parties enter the negotiation process with the flexibility to compromise, it will be hard to expect any form of agreement to come out of COP15.

David Lambourne, Kiribati

The thing is really, what we are seeing is far too many countries are taking a hardline approach and what we need to see is countries to enter the negotiations in the spirit of compromise.

Because without that spirit of compromise we not going to get a deal at all. And even if we get to the end of the week with this many leaders here obviously they are going to be looking for a political statement at the very least. But there are countries here who so much want to trash this process, they want to derail this process that they looking to get not even a strong political statement they looking to get a weak political statement.

And really from the small Pacific Island perspective we really cant afford that.

We really want a legally binding agreement ... but if that is not possible, our absolute bottom line is...and here's me drawing a red line, our bottom line is we need to find a strong political statement from our leaders and from all the word leaders, not just from the Pacific.

We've already made our statement but what we need is a global consensus and that there is a strong commitment to doing something with climate change to ensure that we all join together in committing to mitigation and that we also join together in ensuring that there are adequate funds available for small island states.

The ultimate reality for us is if we stick with these red lines, the coast lines the coastline that we will be drawing for Kiribati has no land in it. For us its a matter of survival so we have no choice but to fight it, to keep fighting and to scream and shout and do whatever we can to try and get a commitment from our friends in the world to something thats meaningful.

Solomon Islands Tetepare Conservation Project at COP 15

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 15 December - 

Transcript: Allan Tipet Bero, Tetepare Conservation Project, Solomon Islands

I'm representing a local community organization based with the Solomon Islands which is called the Tetepare Descendants Association. Im here to raise awareness about our organization and hope to access this REDD initiative since we are conserving a portion of rain forests in the Pacific Ocean.

We hope that such an initiative will be very beneficial to all of us Pacific Islanders since most of the REDD initiatives are carried by the African, Asians and only PNG is benefiting apart from us .

I think that this is an initiative for those of us who are from small island developing states.

The island is virtually uninhabited and because of it un-inhabitation the island is regarded as a significant area in the Solomon Islands.  Through the conservation of the forest we believe that we are helping in reducing emissions.

A taste of Solomon Islands heritage at COP15
Rachna Lal, USP Journalism, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 15 December - Tetepare Island in the Solomon Islands became the centre of interest at COP15 for a number of delegates when Allan Trippet Bero explained their project on conserving the natural forests and island resources.   

Bero is the coordinator of the Tetepare Descendents Association and coordinates the Tetepare Community Conservation Project on the 120 square kilometer uninhabited island.

The history behind the island is that people were once living there until they left the islands due to their personal beliefs and issues 200 years ago.

“The people in the surrounding islands later inherited it but have never inhabited it as they consider it sacred and a symbol of their identity,” Bero said.

The people find their subsistence from the island as they do fishing, hunting and harvest edible crops and this has been a tradition for a long time.

“They do not do anything to disturb the nature or how the things have been left to the descendents.”

The project his association is working on is mainly donor funded and he is glad to be able to employ people from the neighboring islands to help out in many activities including biological monitoring at the same time.

But even so, with Solomon being famous for logging, the Tetepare Island has also been subjected to logging.

“Logging is our biggest threat and in totality, if nothing is done to stop this major trade, all our forests will be exhausted by the year 2015,” he pointed out.

So what is Bero doing here at COP15?

“I am here to raise awareness that we are trying to do something to reduce our emissions through projects like this, even if it is on a small scale.”

Pacific Voices@ COP15: Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika
Copenhagen, 15 December

Annie Rasmussen: Samoa delegate

Hi my name is Annie and Im from Samoa I don't know what our expectations are from this meeting but we are looking for a legally binding agreement as all the small island countries are calling for. So thats what our expectation is here we are not looking for politically binding agreement but a two track legally binding agreement so I hope we reach that in this COP otherwise then are are just wasting our time here.

Subashni Raj: Fiji Youth
Im hoping that leaders have their ears fixed this time .... so we'll see how things go, we still have one week to go.

Diana Saili: Vanuatu youth
Hi, I'm Diana from Vanuatu and I'm here at COP15 to make a difference and I hope that out of COP15 that I get a legally binding a agreement and if that dosen't happen after COP15 us Pacific Islanders should stand together and work together because we live in one ocean and we're one people and we have one problem and so we need one solution and that is to reduce carbon emissions and adapt.

Hi, I'm Subashni Raj and I'm from Fiji and I'm here with 350. I'm here at COP15 to try and get the peoples voices out to the leaders and be the human face that every time the leaders walk by they see us and they remember that this is for the people. This is not about the money.

You know we try everyday. On Saturday we had the biggest protest on climate change in the history of mankind and by doing this we hope to get the message out to the worlds leaders that are meeting here at COP15 that we are very serious and people realise the gravity of the situation.