Friday, August 7, 2009

Help Pacific or face the consequences, Australia told

Evan Schwarten in Australia must help its Pacific neighbours deal with climate change now or face a future stuck in the middle of constant regional conflict, the United Nations Asia-Pacific development chief has warned.

Ajay Chhibber, assistant secretary general for the United Nations Development Program, said it was vital for Australia to support its impoverished island neighbours through funding, emission cuts and lobbying fellow industrialised nations.

The consequence of insufficient action in the near future was dire, he told AAP. "It will mean there is more pressure on migration. It will mean more conflict around Australia," he said. "You don't want to be in a neighbourhood where you are surrounded by countries in perpetual conflict because you (will) have to deal with that more and more."

He praised the Rudd Government's decision to allocate $150 million to help island nations to cope with climate change but said the global cost of adapting to rising temperatures and sea levels would cost billions….

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