Climate change was the leading concern at the annual Pacific Island Forum this week, where leaders of small island nations chastised the United States for abandoning the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The islands have an unusually vested interest in the protocol because they face a high risk of being swallowed up by seas swollen from melting ice caps and thermal expansion of ocean waters. The leaders of the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, the Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu released a statement at the forum noting their “profound disappointment at the decision of the U.S.” The consortium stopped short of chiding Australia, which has also rejected Kyoto on the basis that it would be fatally flawed without U.S. participation. Australia is the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the South Pacific, but it is also one of the largest aid donors to Pacific islands.
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