|The mean sea level trend is 0.60 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence
interval of +/- 1.78 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from
1947 to 1995 which is equivalent to a change of 0.20 feet in 100 years.
September 12, 2011, 2:38pm
AUCKLAND (AFP) – Pacific leaders identified climate change as the greatest threat to the region Thursday, ordering officials to start work on plans to help people forced to relocate by rising sea levels.
The 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum said the impact of climate change was already apparent in countries such as Kiribati, where some villagers have had to abandon their homes as the seas rise, and finance was needed to help them.
''Climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific,'' said a communique issued by the regional grouping after a two-day summit in Auckland.
The communique, which also raised concerns about human rights in Fiji, thanked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for travelling to Auckland this week to highlight the threat posed by climate change.
During his visit, the UN leader said he had seen the effect of global warming first-hand during a visit to Kiribati and it had reinforced his belief that climate change was a reality. ''Climate change is not about tomorrow,'' he said during his Auckland visit. ''It is lapping at our feet -- quite literally in Kiribati and elsewhere.''
The PIF leaders ordered a report into how relocation options could be financed in a region where many island nations rely heavily on foreign aid, taking into account ''the specific capacities and needs of respective countries''.
They said there was a ''critical and urgent need'' for finance to help Pacific countries ''in particular those already suffering, (who) are displaced or are being displaced as a result of the detrimental impacts of climate change''.
During the summit, Kiribati President Anote Tong revealed that his low-lying nation was considering radical solutions to deal with rising seas, such as moving its 100,000-strong population onto man-made floating islands.
Related post by Steven Goddard: NPR : Kiribati To Drown Within 50 Years