Small countries need to make a big noise, climate change expert James Renwick says will be his message to the Eye of the Storm Pacific climate change conference in Wellington next week.
The conference at Victoria University will bring together scientists, politicians and activists from around the Pacific with the aim of coming up with a plan of action.
Professor Renwick says even though their emissions are so low they have done almost nothing to contribute to global warming, small island states like Kiribati, Tuvalu and Niue disproportionately feel its effects.
He says things could turn ugly quickly in the Pacific with sea level rises, storm surges and more frequent cyclones.
“The best thing that we can do, the people across the Pacific can do, is make a lot of noise. Agitate. I think the small island nations as a group, have been pretty effective. The COP21 meeting in Paris just before Christmas talked about keeping global warming well below 2 degrees and ideally 1 and a half degrees. That’s been the line that’s been pushed from the island states for a number of years.”
Professor Renwick says the ultimate goal of the conference is to empower people so they feel they can take action.