4 Dec 2012

UN study shows economic impact of climate change on Pacific countries

7:39 am on 4 December 2012

A United Nations report predicts the economy of low lying islands in the Pacific could shrink by up to 18 percent because of climate change.

The study of 500 communities in 21 countries presents evidence that food, freshwater and the livelihoods of Pacific islanders are under threat.

Sally Round reports.

"The study shows 10 million people are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. It recommends scaling up success stories such as marine parks and the use of indigenous knowledge to improve recycling, energy efficiency and sustainable water use. The report says current action is not enough to deal with the challenges ahead and that's mostly due to a lack of funds, skills, and important data. It also says many countries have endorsed, but not yet implemented, agreements covering hazardous wastes, pollution and invasive species. It's not all doom though as the study found the region could see higher uptake of carbon dioxide due to a net gain in forest cover between 2000 and 2009. The study by the UN Environment Programme with the regional body SPREP recommends better sharing of knowledge, improved law enforcement, engaging with communities and more awareness raising."