Editorial comment – Our region, our reality

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres speaking to youths at the University of the South Pacific Japan-Pacific ICT Centre at Laucala campus in Suva on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

CLIMATE change appears to be a touchy topic for some people.

It draws emotional responses that can weigh in on different spectrums of the thought process.

US President Donald Trump, for instance, has a different take on the issue.

Sceptics will insist the leader of one of the most powerful nations on the planet has a lot to say about climate change.

In the lead-up to the US elections in November 2016, Mr Trump made no bones about what he believed in.

On the campaign trail, his views were quite clear over the issues of energy and climate change.

He is on record labelling climate change science a “hoax”.

He has even suggested it was part of a plot to undermine the US economy.

He made it clear he would scrap former president Barack Obama’s greenhouse gas policies, and the Paris Agreement.

CBS News once wrote about some of Mr Trump’s wildest quotes… reporting a tweet the president sent out on October 19, 2015: “It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!”

Mr Trump continues to give the impression he remains an aggressive critic of climate change.

Now it seems climate change sits high on the list of voter concerns in the US.

Reports suggest around 40 per cent of potential voters may see the issue as crucial in how they cast their ballots in next year’s presidential elections.

This was according to a poll released on Thursday last week, according to Reuters.

It goes against Mr Trump’s stand on the issue.

In November last year, BBC reported Mr Trump cast doubt on a report by his own government warning of devastating effects from climate change.

The Trump administration has pursued a pro-fossil agenda.

In the face of that, it is encouraging to note that Fijian youths are pushing for increased and for a stronger role in shaping climate change policies.

During the 3rd Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) conference last week, University of the South Pacific final year law student, Vani Tosokiwai, said youths wanted involvement in the climate change talks.

Her stance comes in the wake of a powerful stand by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on his whirlwind tour of our region last week.

On one end of the divide sits the notion that climate change is a “hoax” as Mr Trump and his supporters insist.

It is the other side of this divide that has a great impact on our people.

Villagers are being forced to relocate.

The sea is slowly creeping into their villages, in some instances, splashing right on to homes they have lived in for decades.

Their imagination isn’t on overdrive.

Their situation is real.

Call it what you want.

Believe what you want.

Those affected certainly believe something is not right.

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