Pacific nations among the most at risk from climate change will lobby Australia and New Zealand to almost halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Leaders and representatives from the Pacific’s smallest island nations met in Cairns on Tuesday at the start of the three-day Pacific Islands Forum.
Small Island States (SIS) chairman and Niue Premier Toke Talagi said the seven-nation alliance would push Australia and New Zealand to agree to cut emissions by 45 per cent by 2020 and by 85 per cent by 2050.
‘We understand the difficulties that developed countries have with respect to the changes that are needed,’ he told reporters in Cairns.
‘(However) we must make a strong stance with respect to greenhouse gas emissions and advocate the small island states’ view in respect to climate change.’
Many of the seven nations who make up the SIS, such as Tuvalu, lie just a few metres above sea level and are considered among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
The Australian government has said it is working towards a five to 15 per cent cut on 2000 emission levels by 2020 while New Zealand has set a 50 per cent reduction target on 1990 levels by 2050.