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Call for greater cuts in carbon emissions

By Danny Morgan and Jemima Garrett

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, August 5, 2009) – Australia is under pressure from Pacific island nations to commit to deeper cuts in carbon emissions.

Australia's pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between five and 25 per cent over the next decade hasn't impressed Pacific island nations at the mercy of rising sea levels.

The Premier of Niue, Toke Talagi, says developed countries need to cut emissions by at least 45 per cent.

"There will be a need for them to make some substantial changes if we are to save our planet Earth," he said in an address at a forum of Pacific nations in Cairns, Australia.

Pacific island nations have also expressed concerns that bureaucratic problems are blocking the flow of aid money directed at tackling climate change.

Mr Talagi says he's happy with the level of support, but the transfer of funds needs to be better managed.

He says it is also important to ensure every island country understands the different aid packages offered from Japan, the European Union, New Zealand and other nations.

Australia and other developed countries have offered millions of dollars of aid to help the islands adapt.

The Pacific has been warned that the effects of the global economic crisis will be exacerbated by climate change.

The Secretary General of the Pacific Forum, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, told a conference in Brisbane that the Pacific's recovery from the economic crisis will be protracted and made more difficult by existing problems including climate change.

Australia's Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong says the response to the global economic crisis in the Pacific must be comprehensive but must not distract from urgent measures to deal with climate change.

Ms Wong says failure to act on climate change now, would impact on future development.

Climate change and the global economic crisis will be key issues when Pacific Island leaders meet in Cairns later this week.

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