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Senator Wong meets Kiribati President to discuss climate change.



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PW 87/07 20 June 2008

SENATOR WONG MEETS KIRIBATI PRESIDENT TO DISCUSS CLIMATE CHANGE

Minister for Climate Change, Senator Penny Wong, will today meet with the President of Kiribati, Mr Anote Tong, to discuss the impact of climate change and both countries’ efforts to tackle it.

Pacific Island Countries such as Kiribati are particularly vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise. As a country with many low lying islands, Kiribati will be increasingly affected by climate change over time. Australia is also very vulnerable to climate change.

“Unless we act now, climate change will be catastrophic for Australia, Kiribati and the world,” Senator Wong said.

“If we don’t do something about climate change it will cause higher seas and more extreme weather, including more droughts, floods and bushfires.

“And it will put the whole global economy at risk, with shortages of basic necessities like food, water, shelter and energy causing global conflict.

“Acting on climate change is all about doing the responsible thing for the economy and for the future.

“We need to change the way the economy works, to move it from a high emissions economy to the low emissions economy of the future - by introducing an emissions trading scheme.

“Taking action on climate change will be very hard, but we can’t afford to wait any longer to act.”

The Rudd Government is committed to assisting Australia’s Pacific neighbours, including Kiribati, meet the challenges associated with climate change.

“Australia has provided substantial support for Pacific Island countries to implement plans and strategies to adapt to the effects of climate change, including through the new $150 million International Adaptation to Climate Change Initiative,” Senator Wong said.

“This aims to strengthen climate change adaptation efforts in countries in our region at significant risk from the impacts of climate change, including Kiribati.

“The vulnerability of countries including Australia and Kiribati highlights the fact we need a global solution.

“Australia is playing an active and constructive role in helping to shape this global solution.”