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Date: Wed, 30 Jul 97 13:46:06 CDT
From: rich@pencil.gwu.edu (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Sea Level Rise A Big Problem For Tuvalu & Other Countries

/** headlines: 142.0 **/
** Topic: Sea Level Rise A Big Problem For Tuvalu & Other Countries **
** Written 9:48 PM Jul 29, 1997 by econet in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 12:42 AM Jul 24, 1997 by nobody@xs2.greenpeace.org in gp.press */
/* ---------- "Sea Level Rise a Big Problem for Tuvalu" ---------- */

From: "the greenbase" <greenbas@gb.greenpeace.org<
Subject: Sea Level Rise a Big Problem for Tuvalu

Sea Level Rise A Big Problem For Tuvalu, Prime Minister Says

From Greenpeace Pacific
22 July 1997

SV Rainbow Warrior, Tuesday July 22nd 1997:- Sea-level rise and climate chaos caused by global warming are urgent and critical issues for Tuvalu and other low-lying countries, the Tuvalu Prime Minister Rt Hon Bikenibeu Paeniu told Greenpeace yesterday.

Mr Paeniu made these comments while visiting the SV Rainbow Warrior, the first Greenpeace vessel to ever visit Tuvalu, yesterday (Monday July 21st).

Tuvalu experienced a freak cyclone last month which devastated an outer island. A string of coral atolls no more than two metres above sea-level, Tuvalu could be annihilated by the sea- level rise which scientists predict will occur if nothing is done to slow global warming. Greenpeace campaigner Stephanie Mills, on board the Rainbow Warrior, said it was time for the developed countries, who were predominantly responsible for burning the fossil fuels that contribute to global warming, to listen to the voice of Tuvalu.

Greenpeace has been highly critical of Australia and New Zealand's position on climate change. In spite of rhetorical commitments to take action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, Australia has recently said it will only agree to an international convention limiting climate change if Australia is allowed to INCREASE its emissions. New Zealand has refused to commit to any target for emissions reductions and is currently increasing its carbon dioxide emissions.

"It is shameful that countries like Australia and New Zealand, which claim to be part of the South Pacific, take no responsibility to reduce their impact on the climate when their own neighbours are at risk," she said. "Australia is lobbying to be declared a special case because of its heavy dependence on the coal industry. But it is Tuvalu, Kiribati and other low- lying coral atolls that should receive the special attention of the rest of the international community, because while contributing little to the climate problem, they are the first to suffer."

Mr Paeniu also discussed the issue of shipments of high-level nuclear waste and plutonium through the Pacific with Greenpeace representatives. Several shipments of nuclear waste from Japan to France are expected to transit the Pacific every year over the next decade. Greenpeace is campaigning for a regional ban on the shipments and for an end to the international plutonium trade.

The Rainbow Warrior was visiting Tuvalu as part of a Pacific-wide education and information tour against nuclear waste shipments and for environmental protection. It will next call at Honiara in the Solomon Islands (July 29th), then Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Cook Islands.

For more information contact Stephanie Mills, SV Rainbow Warrior ph: 872 1300312 or fax: 872 1300 313 or Greenpeace Pacific Suva Fiji ph: 679 312 861 or fax: 679 312 784 or email:pmedia@dialb.greenpeace.org

Tamsin Vuetilovoni
Media Officer
Greenpeace Pacific
Private Mail Bag
Suva, Fiji

Ph: 679 312 861, Fax: 679 312 784 Email: pmedia@dialb.greenpeace.org

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