SPC Director: Climate Negotiations ‘Could Go Either Way’

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Tukuitonga says he’s getting mixed messages about outcomes

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 10, 2015) – Pacific Community director general Dr Colin Tukuitonga believes that negotiations in Paris could go either way.

Speaking to this newspaper when he visited their Suva office to thank his staff members for the effort given throughout the year, Dr Tukuitonga said he had been receiving mixed messages.

"I'm getting mixed messages I guess. Of course, we were all hopeful going to Paris. We still have SPC staff supporting the countries in Paris, we were all hopeful of a binding agreement, we were all hopeful of keeping the level below 1.5 degrees but, of course, I understand the negotiations are difficult, so it could go either way," Dr Tukuitonga said. Despite the tussle between leaders to reach a binding agreement that would see Pacific Island nations benefit, he said they remained hopeful.

"We remain hopeful, of course. Reality is that the Pacific Islands may not get what they're hoping for, it's not over yet. I mean the ministers are still there and for us it's also important that we see what happens after Paris.

"The world doesn't stop after Paris. Somehow we got to see how to make things work, in terms of the outcome from Paris, it's hard to say at the moment, I'm really not sure."

The SPC head said even if leaders agreed to the 2 degree Celsius, the damage would continue.

"I think it's important to point out that even at 1.5, it's not to say there's no ongoing damage, it's just to reduce the level of damage. But it does require significant disinvestment in the use of fossil fuels."

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