CHINA, INDIA BALK AT UN DEBATE OVER CLIMATE CHANGE

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U.S. ambassador calls action ‘pathetic’

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 21, 2011) – The United Nations Security Council has failed to agree that climate change is a threat to international peace.

Australia had argued that fragile economies in the Pacific could be destabilised by climate change but China and India balked at the idea.

The United States ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said the Security Council's failure to make a clear statement recognising climate change as a threat to global security is a dereliction of duty.

"This is more than disappointing, it's pathetic," she said.

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, was among those arguing that rising sea levels could destabilise fragile countries.

"No serious member state can deny that climate change is a primordial threat to our planet," he said.

Mr Marles told Pacific Beat the debate was particularly import for countries like Kiribati and Tuvalu where there is "no height whatsoever".

"Climate change represents a genuine existential threat. A rise of sea levels there... and the very future of those nations is therefore under threat."

But countries like China, India and Russia objected, arguing climate change is more appropriately handled by other bodies within the UN.

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