Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Thank you – or as we say in Fiji, “Vinaka Vakalevu”. I’m thankful to be with you all for this year’s Climate Vulnerable Forum.
Just last week, I addressed the Global Smart Energy Summit in Australia, where I stressed the need for countries of the world to embrace firm commitments to curb their emissions – particularly those with highly-developed economies.
I made it clear that these commitments, whether for 2030 or 2050, are not aimless targets. They are life-or-death deadlines.
I admit, speaking in such harsh terms is, well, harsh. But for Leaders of vulnerable countries, you know more than anyone that the reality we live with, day in and day out, is much, much harsher.
It’s our job to speak out. As vulnerable nations with vulnerable economies, we must come together, and hold the high-emitting countries accountable. Heads of countries and corporations alike need to take notice: While we may be vulnerable, we will not sit quietly as they kick the can of accountability to the next generation.
China recently announced a net-zero target by 2060. Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook recently announced net-zero targets of their own, with some even going further by pledging to remove their historical carbon footprint. So for companies and administrations who balk at the idea of putting their commitments in writing, know that those whose lives depend on your action are watching you. You have no excuse.
By making a commitment – and putting a plan in writing – the rest of the world can count on your progress. Instead of living in fear, we can have hope for our countries’ future, and the futures of our children and grand-children. It’s like a wedding band; it is a reminder your life is part of something bigger than yourself.
So this is the message we must take to the high-emitting countries: Commit. Commit. Commit. Choose what lasting legacy you want to leave: The damage that you’ve done to the planet, or the commitments that will help it heal.
Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.