Fiji’s Prime Minister Bainimarama’s frank speech in California
San Francisco, September 19, 2018
Photo Caption: Fiji’s Prime Minister Bainimarama speaking at the San Francisco Summit
Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama has challenged international and regional leaders to be more assertive in their efforts to fight climate change.
Speaking at the opening plenary of the Global Climate Action Summit on Saturday, September 15, 2018 in San Francisco, he appealed to “the national and regional leaders in the room, and around the world.”
He said, “We were elected to lead, not to pander, not to follow, and not to hold up a wet finger to the wind. So let’s lead.”
Not just Talk
Mr Bainimarama called on leaders to show courage and determination leaving politics aside.
“Ask yourself,” he said: ‘If I could solve this climate crisis knowing that it would come at the cost of my political career, would I do it?’ As far as I am concerned, there is only one answer.”
He reminded his audience of the importance of the Talanoa (dialogue) that are being held around the world as a means of ramping up every country’s ambition to combat climate change.
“The Talanoa around the world are producing thousands of good ideas and a torrent of valuable information that can put us back on track,” he said.
He said that Talanoa was “not just talk.
“Talanoa is storytelling for a purpose. And the stories we’ve heard in yesterday’s Talanoa – and the scores of others that have taken place around the world – aren’t just talk, they’re tools. Tools that can be used by political leaders to increase climate action at the national level,” Mr Bainimarama said.
Current national plans to reduce carbon emission, known as ‘Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs,’ are inadequate.
“The levels of ambition in our national plans need to be ramped up because we are not on track to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. Loss of land, degradation of our oceans, extreme weather and the other certain effects of warming will rob us of community, culture and livelihood,” he reminded leaders, Mr Bainimarama said.
He warned against hiding from the consequences, saying that there are ways to help shape our own destiny.
“We need to help people embrace that hope,” he said.
Led by California Governor Jerry Brown and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, the Global Climate Action Summit brought together leaders of government, business, Labour, finance, philanthropy, science, research and civil society to San Francisco, for three days of high-level talks on all aspects of climate change.
The Conference was designed to share developments and perspectives in order to encourage a more robust global response to the climate-change crisis.