Posts tagged climate

NEW SUVA METEOROLOGY OFFICE

Honourable Ministers;

Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

It’s a pleasure to be here to mark an important milestone in Fiji’s ability to provide timely and accurate climate-related information that will ultimately help save lives and protect property.

The new Suva Meteorological Weather Office is a state of the art facility that will drastically improve our risk assessment and early warning capabilities, increase our ability to conduct important research, and enhance weather information services to the Fijian people and other Pacific Islanders.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in the recent weeks I have spoken a lot about climate change. Whatever its cause, island nations like ours feel its effects more intensely than the larger countries of the developed world.

Climate change causes extreme weather patterns such as intense flooding and ever more frequent tropical storms and cyclones. This is a reality that we have to face in the Pacific region.

Over the last decade, tropical cyclones and floods have cost more than 100 lives and hundred of millions of dollars worth of damages in Fiji alone.
So we have learned to be prepared. And I am proud to say that preparedness meant that not a single life was claimed by Cyclone “Evan” last year.

But we cannot drop our guard and the opening of this new Weather Office is part of a serious campaign to equip Fiji with the latest technology that will increase our capacity to deal with natural disasters.

The equipment housed in this new facility is a far cry from that possessed by Fiji’s first national Weather Office that was built on this site in 1942.

The new two-story building was constructed at a total cost of $3.6million and it houses a modern IT infrastructure, Conference Room and communication facilities.

The Suva Office will work in close co-ordination with the Nadi Forecasting Centre to detect extreme weather and flooding. If the Nadi office goes offline for whatever reason, the Suva Office will take the point position to ensure essential services are continued.

But it’s not just about early detection. The new technology in this facility will also allow us to conduct important climate-related research. The demand for data about the weather is very high for a number of development related purposes.

There’s no doubt that future strategies to deal with climate change will depend upon sound knowledge of past and present climate around our nation and in our region.

This is an important point. This new Weather Office will not only provide services to Fiji, but also to seven other Pacific island countries: Tonga, Samoa, Niue, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru and Cook Islands.

Under the World Meteorological Organisation, Fiji has assumed an important responsibility as a key strategic Tropical Warning Center for the South West Pacific region.
This means that Fiji is able to contribute substantially to the protection of life and property against natural disaster not just at home, but for our neighbours as well.

We perform this important job with a deep sense of humility and gratitude that we can provide this important service to the region.

In fact, given our strategic location, the Forecasting Center in Nadi is now one of six specialised centres for tropical cyclone warning and forecasting in the world.

This new Suva Office will support this undertaking by going a long way to raise the level of our Meteorological Services to the highest international standard.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to leave you with one final thought. While we cannot control the course of Mother Nature, with investment in the appropriate infrastructure and the latest technology, we can do our best to make sure we’re prepared for when she comes our way to save lives and property.

With those few words, I thank the Fiji Meteorological Service for its contribution to Fiji and the region over the past years and wish it many more years of success.

I now take great pleasure in officially opening the new Suva Meteorological Office.

Vinaka Vakalevu. Thank you.

“STOP DRAGGING YOUR FEET ON CLIMATE CHANGE”: PM’S MESSAGE TO GLOBAL COMMUNITY

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, has opened a meeting of the Pacific Small Island Developing States in Nadi with a call for urgent international action to address climate change.

He said the world was dragging its feet on the need to tackle global warming, which he said was having a “dire effect” on Pacific nations through rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

In unusually strong language, the Prime Minister said the Pacific nations expected the industrialised world to finally face up to its responsibilities.

“Let me say this to the big polluters – the big carbon emitters:  Whatever the science of climate change, it is you who must respond to global warming, which threatens the very existence of some of our Small Island Developing States.

“You need – for our sakes – to set targets to curb your carbon emissions. Because the majority scientific opinion has it that you are causing global warming”, he said.

The Prime Minister said it was unacceptable that the industrialised nations were still unwilling to set binding targets on their emissions of carbon dioxide, which most climate scientists are blaming for rising temperatures.

“It is not good enough to say “ it is all too hard”, to put the protection of your own carbon- emitting industries first. It’s time for you to place yourself in the position of a citizen of

Kiribati, one of the Small Island Developing States whose very existence is under threat.”

The Prime Minister said the people of Kiribati were slowly watching their islands sink and had been forced to buy 6000 acres of higher ground in Vanua Levu – Fiji’s second biggest island

“We welcome them as neighbours and friends. But for the industrialised countries to put themselves first, to let a whole nation sink slowly beneath the waves, is bound to be regarded by future generations as the height of selfishness”, he said.

The PM said that the Pacific nations also expected the industrialised countries to bear the cost of the adverse effects they were having on the lives of Pacific peoples.

“We are not the carbon emitters, they are. So when we suffer adverse consequences, such as more frequent destructive hurricanes, we believe they should shoulder more of the cost”, he said.