This was the bold statement from Prime Minister Henry Puna as he presented before the world at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, France yesterday (CI time).
Over 150 leaders from across the globe have met in Paris to demonstrate their support to save the Planet through a new climate change agreement.
The form of this is to be finalised by the end of the two weeks of negotiations.
Government officials here had indicated they would be pushing for the ‘1.5 to survive mandate’ and they have stuck to their guns by uniting with the Alliance of Small Island States and are calling for a legally binding agreement that limits global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“We need action now. Action that needs new, additional, predictable and accessible finance,” said Puna in his address to the conference.
“Action that needs to address loss and damage from the adverse effects of climate change. Action that allows us all to adapt to the consequences of this threat. We need action now."
Puna said the Cook Islands had indicated their spirit of solidarity and resilience through their actions.
“We have designated our entire 2.2 million square kilometres of Exclusive Economic Zone as a marine park, for the benefit of not only our people, but as our contribution for all of mankind, through our share of the Pacific Ocean carbon sink.
“We aspire to do more as we have outlined in our submitted INDC. (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution).”
Puna ended his impassioned plea by calling for all to win the battle against climate change in solidarity and united as a global family.
“We cannot delay. We must not delay. The time for action is now.”
The Cook Islands also made a presentation at a side event entitled, “We the Pacific.”
Talissa Koteka, who represented the Prime Minister at the event reminded all that the emissions of the Pacific islands are negligible and that while we have not caused the climate change problems experienced we are the victims of its effects.
The event was coordinated by the Pacific Island Development Forum and the Pacific Island Climate Action Network.
Meanwhile, Puna and his team met with Green Climate Fund (GCF) Secretariat head Héla Cheikhrouhou to discuss Cook Islands’support and engagement with the fund.