Back to list

Tuvalu prime minister pessimistic on Mexico climate summit

2010/05/01 20:01:42

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) Tuvalu Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia saidSaturday that he is not optimistic about signing a deal at thisyear's United Nations climate change summit that would requirecountries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"I cannot see a legally binding agreement being signed in Mexicoat the end of this year. Things are moving a little bit too slow, "Ielemia told CNA in an interview on the sidelines of a regionalclimate change conference in Taipei.

Calls have emerged for such an agreement after talks inCopenhagen last year failed to produce a global climate treaty. TheU.N. plans to hold this year's meeting in Cancun, Mexico in November.

"I would like the negotiators to... fast-track the negotiationsthat will lead up to an acceptable agreement toward stakeholders," hesaid, referring to industrialized countries.

Ielemia received attention at the Copenhagen summit when hewarned that rising sea levels could submerge his homeland.

Ielemia also criticized the Copenhagen accord, saying it favoredthe United States over small island countries like Tuvalu. He saidthe accord reflected "what the United States wants."

"By signing the Copenhagen accord, it's something almost likesigning the death certificate for my people, " he said. "That isdisaster. And I don't want to put my signature on that."

His remarks came after a Washington Post report earlier thismonth suggested the U.S. had cut climate change assistance to Boliviaand Ecuador because they had boycotted the accord.

Ielemia blasted the U.S. for bullying small countries, especiallythose who will be most affected by climate change.

"We will maintain our position not to be part of the Copenhagenaccord," the prime minister said.

On Friday, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou promised to help Tuvalu-- one of 23 countries that recognize Taiwan diplomatically --grapple with the threat it faces from rising sea levels caused byglobal warming.

Ielemia told CNA Saturday that Taiwan is already helping Tuvalumitigate the effect of climate change and that there are Taiwaneseexperts in Tuvalu who offer advice on environmental issues.

The prime minister also spoke of the need to put in placedefensive measures, such as building sea walls around the coast toprevent the soil from being eroded.

(By Jou Ying-cheng and Alex Jiang)