German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was in the Pacific island nation of Palau on Saturday, where she discussed the threat of rising sea levels.
“When we stand here looking out at the ocean, we see what really looks like paradise. But we can also easily imagine what will happen to this peaceful paradise if the sea level rises even higher,” Baerbock said.
The Green Party politician promised closer ties between Germany and the Pacific region and called for greater international focus on tackling climate change.
“The climate emergency is not an isolated crisis. It is the most difficult security issue of our time,” she said. “But we have to admit that our response as an international community has been insufficient and our support too limited.”
“Blatant injustice” of sea level rise in the Pacific
Baerbock, the first German foreign minister to visit Palau in 120 years, announced the appointment of a special envoy to the Pacific island states.
“I think it’s actually time that we not only listened to you from afar, but actually came here,” she said.
The Foreign Secretary also said it was a “gross injustice” that Pacific islands like Palau faced such a pronounced threat from rising sea levels, despite having contributed very little to the global greenhouse gas emissions.
“In this crisis, we don’t put the oceans aside – we stand with you,” she wrote in a Twitter post. “We will keep up the pressure on the energy transition in industrialized countries and we will accompany you here on the ground.”
Germany’s commitment to fossil fuels
Baerbock is on a six-day tour of Asia, having attended the G20 summit on the Indonesian island of Bali on Friday and traveling to Japan after its stopover in Palau.
A recent United Nations conference on the oceans held in Lisbon aimed to establish a legal framework to protect the 70% of the planet’s surface covered by water, but it was condemned by environmental groups as a missed opportunity for real change. .
Germany, which is one of the countries most responsible for historic carbon emissions, has pledged to stop using coal and to phase out non-renewable energy sources.
However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine saw the German government seek other sources of gas, fearing that Russia would cut off its supplies.
ab/msh (dpa, AFP)