In part 2 and final of our Climate Change talk with Coral Pasisi, she talked to Esther Pavihi about the science and security issues.
Coral Pasisi is one of the regions leading experts on Climate Change. She is also the Senior Advisor to the Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Last month she was asked to address the United Nations Security Council for the second time.
This time she was asked to speak to the informal session of the Security Council on Sea-level-Rise and Extreme Sea Level events in the Pacific based on the latest science in the IPCC reports.
Ms. Pasisi told BCN news that she highlighted four key points in her address, Maritime Boundary Security; Coastal flooding, inundation, and habitability; Food and Water security, and finally displacement and forced migration.
Pasisi said that “In illustrating the magnitude of implications of Coastal flooding and wave inundation I used two examples – Tuvalu as a low lying atoll and the flooding from Cyclone Tino, and secondly Niue, Cyclone Heta wave damage associated costs in relocation and rebuilding and the fact that practically none of these huge costs were funded by Climate Finance from the multilateral systems because it is simply too hard to access. I also showed our home videos of wave action and the aftermath of cyclone Heta. So Cyclone Heta and its impacts on Niue is now on record in the UNSC in this context”.
Last month she told BCN news that the fight over climate change is no longer about the blame game, that is it now everyone’s responsibility to act.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility so let’s lead by example and that’s why so many of the countries in the region have put strong renewable energy targets, NDCs that are pretty ambitious to say “We’re small, we’re not causing this problem but we’re willing to do our part.
“I think that’s been the moral high ground that the rest of the countries in the world have actually heard and has forced them to look hard at that,” says Ms Pasisi.
Coral Pasisi is hopeful that the ambition we’re seeing now is being driven by young people to mobilise a collective effort to take action.
“The ambition that we will see into the future is now being driven by young people in their countries and developed countries and it’s also driven by the fact that they are experiencing wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, like out of the park – one in a hundred years things – every year some of them now, so I think in their security policies, climate change is now one of the top ten issues because they’re now realising, this is real.
It is actually impacting them as well. Whether we mobilise the collective effort in time is just something that we have to keep pushing for”.
On the science, Coral Pasisi says that scientists have been underestimating the impacts and they are now realising that they should not just speak to the facts or the science, but that they as scientists need to provide their opinion as well.
“Even though we have a lot of science on this now, we’re still not 100 percent sure at what rates are things going to unfold and we can already see the scientists underestimated the impact on many things.
That’s partly because the scientists of the world and the IPCC do the assessments. The scientists never say ‘I think its going to be…’ They only speak to the absolute facts of what they can be definitively sure of and then that report goes to the member states and parties of the convention who then go through it and water it down as much as they can for some of these countries so it becomes even less accurate or as robust as it could be.
“But scientists now are starting to say ‘Actually this is such a serious issue that we think we have to give our opinion on top of the facts. So now we’re starting to get a lot more strong and out there messaging” says Coral Pasisi.
COP 26 started this week and will run until the 12th of November in Glasgow, Scotland. Niue’s Special Envoy at the conference is Niuean paediatric surgeon Dr. Dean Rex whose been living in London for fifteen years.