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Samoa's Prime Minister Throws Serious Shade At Climate Change-Denying World Leaders

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Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockSep 3 2018, 17:52 UTC

As a small island deep in the Pacific Ocean, Samoa has every reason to be impassioned about this issue. zstock/Shutterstock

The Samoan Prime Minister gave a refreshingly straight-talking speech on Thursday in which he said any world leader that that denies climate change is “utterly stupid” and should be taken to a mental institution (not mentioning any names, obviously).

Speaking at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said many nations aren’t doing enough to tackle climate change and argued the world needs “greater ambition” when it comes to mitigating the problem.

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He went on to call out the United States, China, and India as the main drivers of the problem, before noting: “Any leader of those countries who believes that there is no climate change, I think he ought to be taken to mental confinement."

"He is utterly stupid, and I say the same thing for any leader here who says there is no climate change,” he added bluntly.

“We all know the problem, we all know the causes, we all know the solutions. All that is left would be some political courage, some political guts to get out and tell the people of your country: ‘Do this, this, this, or there’s a certainty of disaster.’”

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Prime minister Tuilaepa added that climate change is “the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security, and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific.”

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One notable world leader who regularly denies climate change is the US President Donald Trump, who once notoriously tweeted it was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” Needless to say, this goes against the overwhelming majority of climate scientists and actual experts in the field.

As a small island deep in the Pacific Ocean, Samoa has every reason to be impassioned about this issue. Neighboring Fiji was famously the first nation to ratify the Paris agreement.

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Global sea level rise is the main aspect of climate change that threatens island nations and coastal cities. Higher sea levels mean that destructive hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones are more likely to reach inland and cause damage to inhabited areas. Increased instances of nuisance flooding will also cause disruption and destruction.

This isn’t speculative. It’s already happening. A 2016 study found that five uninhabited Pacific islands in the Solomon Islands had totally disappeared amid rising seas and erosion. Huge swathes of land on at least six inhabited islands were also swallowed up, destroying entire villages and forcing people to rehome.

In spite of all this, the South Pacific Islands collectively emit considerably less than 1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which doesn't really seem fair.


natureNaturenatureenvironment
  • tag
  • climate change,

  • environment,

  • science,

  • carbon emissions,

  • politics,

  • climate change deniers,

  • Samoa,

  • rising sea levels

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