Fiji, which will preside over the annual climate change conference next year, has invited US President-elect Donald Trump to visit the island nation and see for himself how climate change was impacting the lives of the people there. Speaking at the climate change conference in Marrakesh, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama appealed to the new President to help the people in the small island countries which were the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
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“I appeal to the President -elect Donald Trump to show leadership on this issue, by abandoning his current position that man-made climate change is a hoax. On the contrary, the global scientific consensus is that it (climate change) is very real and we must act decisively to avert catastrophy,” Bainimarama said on Friday.
Bainimarama’s comments came amidst fears that Trump will pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, something that he has promised to do on the campaign trail. The withdrawal of the United States, which is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, could be a very serious setback to the global architecture that is being created to fight climate change.
Bainimarama said the US must not abdicate its responsibility on climate change. “As the second biggest carbon emitter on earth, the US must take responsibility for contributing to our collective response to this crisis and show leadership at this critical stage. We in the Pacific, in common with the whole world, look to America for their leadership and their systems and assistance on climate change, just as we looked to America during the dark days of World War II. And I say to the American people that you came to save us then and it is time for you to help us save now,” he said.
“I renew my offer to President-elect Trump to come to Fiji to see the effects of climate change himself, and to meet the Pacific island leaders face to face in Fiji and discuss the crisis we are facing along with low-lying areas all over the world, including parts of America,” he said.
Fiji will host the next year’s climate conference, but not on its own land, since it does not have large enough facilities to organise an event of this size. The conference will happen in Bonn, the headquarters of the UN climate agency, under Fiji’s presidency.