They are “literally negotiating over their own survival,” U.N. Environment Program chief Achim Steiner said.
While most countries think of climate change in terms of economic costs, Pacific atolls and remote island groups in the Indian Ocean and Caribbean picture a world map without them on it.
Rising seas are already eroding their coast lines and contaminating their freshwater wells. Many are in the path of typhoons and hurricanes that scientists say could become more powerful as the climate warms.
“We are already limping from climate disaster to climate disaster. And we know there is worse to come,” Christopher Loeak, the president of the Marshall Islands, told the climate conference in Paris.
Their vulnerability gives the small islands a powerful voice on climate change relative to their tiny size and impact on world affairs. At the start of the Paris talks last week, U.S. President Barack Obama met with five leaders of island nations. Secretary of State John Kerry has been discussing the envisioned Paris deal with others, including Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu, an island nation of just 10,000 people.
Available at: http://www.newsday.com/news/world/paris-climate-change-conference-tiny-islands-have-powerful-voice-1.11215595