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A drop in the ocean

December 13, 2010

Last night I spoke to the Tuvaluan Prime Minister and other government officials about the modest climate change agreement at Cancun. They were pleased, particularly with the $100bn promised to help the poorest countries tackle the impact of global warming, but they expressed doubts about accessing the funds. Despite the big pledges made at international meetings, it’s surprising how little of the money actually ends up becoming available.

And as if sea level rise weren’t enough, climate change has other, more immediate impacts on Tuvalu. It’s currently supposed to be the wet season, but it hasn’t rained for a month or so. The water table is very shallow, and ground water isn’t drinkable in the main atoll of Funafuti. The drought has meant that 19 families in the capital are already on special water rations and another 84 may become so in the next week. The Secretary to Government told me they are considering declaring a state of emergency.

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