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Rising sea levels could wipe out Pacific Island Tonga

Glasgow’s climate agreement will reduce world dependence on coal, and it promises to provide more aid to poorer nations to deal with the effects of global warming.

Climate change campaigners have spoken to BBC about what this means for them.

They were overwhelmingly pessimistic about what the summit would bring and passionately expressed their concerns that the political agreement won’t be enough to save their cultures and homes.

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Elizabeth Kité is an youth leader in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. She says that the deal does not do enough to protect her Pacific island home from being submerged. Their survival is in danger.

The summit is a platform for large countries to show their support by “flexing how much they are willing to pay small nations”. She was eager to hear the rich acknowledge historical greenhouse gas emission. “But, they talk as if promising us money – that is not the case,” she said.

Her emotions grew when she spoke of how proud she was that Pacific Island negotiators had fought hard for the summit. To highlight the rising sea level, Simon Kofe (Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister) held a press conference last week standing by the ocean.

“We are friendly and generally very peaceful. She explains that it’s not natural for us to be so strong.

She feels frustrated at the lack of urgency and prompt actions.

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However, she is optimistic about the future. The text includes coal and fossil fuels for the first time. It is also positive that countries have agreed to separate funding to cover loss and damage, money to pay for damages caused by climate change.

Sohanur Rahman is 25, a founder member of Bangladesh’s Friday for Future movement. As a leader, he guides young people in low-lying countries that are extremely susceptible to climate change.

He stated that he believed youth had been recognized for the first-time at COP as he witnessed it being signed. However, he said that the end result was “nothing”.

Two weeks ago, he was in Glasgow to bring good news back to the worst-affected communities. He’s now feeling helpless and betrayed.

“These empty promises won’t protect our people against crisis,” he says.

While he is happy to hear about the loss and damage news, he believes that voices from the most vulnerable people have been silenced. He blames representatives of the fossil fuel sector at the summit.

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He is concerned that children in Bangladesh may still have to leave school, and their communities could be destroyed by the rising sea level.

Ugandan citizen Edwin Mumbere lives under the Rwenzori Mountains, where flooding and glacial melt are threatening rural areas. He is now 29 and became an activist after seeing the snow melt from high above.

He is a volunteer who works in the community to promote solar energy.

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The Glasgow agreement is disappointing to Uganda, he says. He believes it does not make any difference for the 100,000 Ugandans living in his community.

He says, “Real solutions are not being put into place despite our proving that climate change exists.”

He is most concerned about the inaction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He is concerned about new oil-and gas explorations in Uganda, and the rest of Africa. The Glasgow agreement will not stop this.

He says, “Pledges are made to donate money and the same countries invest in projects which are serious increasing carbon emissions. It’s really a double-standard.”

Jon Bonifacio (23), studied biology, before becoming an activist in Metro Manila. He said that the deal was a series of “one step forward and two steps backwards”.

There are 197 participants to the UN summit. This means that compromise among countries with very different priorities can lead to an agreement. However, he said that the compromise was “completely unfair” for climate-frontline countries. “We will experience the climate crises acutely, and for the long term,” says he.

The language that is used to describe coal and other fossil fuels in the text is a source of concern for him. He believes it contains get-out clauses which are favorable to big polluters.

He believes that the pledge to give more money to the poorer nations is a good step forward, as do many other activists who long advocated better aid for developing countries.

He plans to return to Manila, where he will continue to fight for change.

Source: BBC.com

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