5 Feb 2015

Courts an option if climate talks fail, says Tuvalu PM

2:51 pm on 5 February 2015

Tuvalu's Prime Minister says the option of litigation remains open if no progress is made in international climate talks.

Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga and the flag of Tuvalu.

Enele Sopoaga remains optimistic that a climate deal can be reached this year. Photo: RNZI / Jamie Tahana

Enele Sopoaga, whose low-lying country is one of the most at risk from rising sea levels, says trying to make other countries aware of Tuvalu's plight is difficult, but he remains optimistic an agreement can be reached this year.

Mr Sopoaga says it is also difficult when major countries like the United States and Australia continue to argue about climate change and struggle to push through any meaningful legislation.

"The time for arguing over the science is over. It is very, very difficult and the option for litigation has always been there, but I think right now those options are self-defeating. We would be eventually coming to those options, but we must continue to fight for whatever is possible to achieve."

Enele Sopoaga says relocating Tuvalu's 10,000 people is not an option for him, and if the international community can save Tuvalu from climate change, then the world will also be saved.

A Tuvalu beach being eroded by a storm.

Tuvalu is one of the countries most at risk from climate change. Photo: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY