Tuvalu to you

What is Tuvalu to you?

Some folks in the county know about the 15th United Nations conference on global climate change taking place in Copenhagen this year (December 7 to 18th). Go HERE

Called COP (Conference of the Parties) the conference is an effort for the rest of the world to get on with the business of reducing global climate change. The conference represents the 97.2% of climatologists who believe global warming is human caused; only the American press continues to give equal press time to the tiny minority of scientists who disbelieve anthropocentric global warming.

The international news sources covering the COP15 have given us the usual mix of well healed public officials hurrying back and forth, and rag tag groups of activists young and old protesting this and that. One recent demonstration involved 100,000 people by activist estimates and 40,000 by police estimates; and police made massive arrests, 1000 people by activist estimates and 100 people by police estimates. The Prospect recommends finding an average between the estimates, so 70,000 people demonstrated and 550 were arrested. You can read about it in the independent media HERE.

Typically, government and industry represent the wealthiest people, and demonstrators represent the poorest; in this discussion demonstrators represent the poorest nations, though of course officially it is the well-heeled who represent everyone.

The themes of the last conferences continue this year: U.S., the European Union and other developed nations refusing to cut carbon enough, refusing to lay down long term goals, and denying a fair cost share to developing nations.

That point was driven home by tiny Tuvalu (Too-va-loo). This tiny island nation has been inhabited for about 3000 years. Its ten thousand inhabitants are Christian and live and work on its four reefs and five atolls, which total less than 10 square miles. Its military is a patrol boat on loan from Australia. There are no lakes, rivers, no mountains or canyons. No natural feature on Tuvalu is more than 12 feet above sea level. Since it is a constitutional monarchy and a realm of Britain, Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Tuvalu, but she doesn’t spend a lot of time there.

Tuvalu, Map




Tuvalu, from Soundwaves/USGS



Tuvalu from Tuvalu Island




In 2003 the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Saufatu Sopoanga, told the UN:

"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."

This is why Tuvalu, and an alliance of island and very poor African nations, held up the climate talks until their concerns, and calls for stronger standards, could be heard.

It is interesting to note that it is not the powerful nations of the world that tiny Tuvalu is taking on, it’s the second tier, the G77, a group of 77 developing nations which formed 45 years ago, and includes India and other large nations. If Tuvalu’s proposal is accepted, the developing nations would have to make deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, a move that is not popular with those countries who are finally burning oil with the big boys.

Even so, Tuvalu called U.S. President Barack Obama out. Ian Fry, representative of Tuvalu to the COP 15 said:
"I understand that we are waiting for the US senate. It seems the fate of the world lies in the hands of a few U.S. Senators. It is [difficult] that we are waiting for one country to decide before the international community can move forward. President Obama was recently in Sweden accepting a Nobel Prize, whether rightly or wrongly. For him to honor his Nobel Prize, he should address the greatest threat to humanity, climate change, and the greatest threat to human security, climate change."

Enjoy the Colbert report on COP15.

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