Kiribati people concerned for livelihood

  • 05/12/2015
Kiribati people concerned for livelihood

By Elise Scott

Tinaai Teaua wants to have children one day.

The 23-year-old from Kiribati - one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change - dreams of a future where she and her children can live on her land.

Her reality is it could be just a dream.

"I'm starting to worry about my future," she told NZN.

"I'm going to have more ahead of me, I want to have children, I want to stay on my own land.

"I don't want to move."

Across a stretch of the Pacific Ocean in Tuvalu, Pulafagu Toafa worries about a similar fate for her people.

"It's a matter of life and death for our country," she told NZN.

Both nations, which sit just metres above sea level, are being hit with increased flooding and inundation, particularly during high tides.

The women say it's damaging food supplies, penetrating the island's clean water and making children sick with vomiting and diarrhoea.

"It is so bad," Ms Teaua said.

"Every month, we have this water coming in."

They have flown to Paris for major United Nations climate talks, where it's hoped 195 countries reach a deal to curb emissions and limit global warming.

The agreed goal is to limit warming to two degC but vulnerable nations are concerned the damage at that temperature will be too severe.

A call for a 1.5 degC limit has been backed by 108 countries so far in Paris.

While Australia isn't one of them, it is understood negotiators aren't opposed to some sort of aspirational reference to 1.5 in the agreement.

Ms Teaua says she's in Paris to make sure the voices of the Kiribati people are heard and to push for a strong enough deal to reassure other young people their future is safe.

"As a young person, I'm here to fight for my future," she said.