Politician gives Cop26 speech knee-deep in sea to make powerful point on climate change

Politician gives Cop26 speech knee-deep in sea to make powerful point on climate change

The foreign minister of a small nation in the Pacific delivered a Cop26 speech while knee-deep in the sea to highlight the climate crisis.

Tuvalu politician Simon Kofe was pictured in the sea donning a suit and tie, with his trousers rolled up above his knees. Behind him was a blue background, the UN flag, and the Tuvalu flag, and before him stood a lectern.

Kofe delivered his speech as part of a Cop26 side event that focused on climate change in the Pacific region.

Addressing the Glasgow climate summit, Kofe said: “In Tuvalu, we are living the realities of climate change and sea level rises as you stand watching me today at Cop26.

“We cannot wait for speeches when the sea is rising around us all the time.”

He added: “Climate mobility must come to the forefront, we must take bold, alternative action today to secure tomorrow.”

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The camera then zoomed out to reveal that Kofe was standing in the sea.

In his speech, he demanded global net-zero by mid-century, that the 1.5-degree goal be kept within reach, and called for finance to be mobilised to tackle issues caused by climate change. He also appealed for greater accountability from all nations “to act as good stewards of the earth”.

Images taken during the broadcast were shared widely after they were posted to social media by Tuvalu’s Ministry of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs.

Tuvalu is a nation made up of nine small coral islands over 3,000 miles away from Australia and over 2,500 miles away from Hawaii.

According to the World Bank, Tuvalu’s sea level has been rising by approximately 5mm per year since 1993.

The World Bank also states that in the western Pacific Ocean, the sea level has been rising at a rate two to three times the global average. Before the end of the century, it’s predicted to rise between half a metre to 1.1 metres.

Since the climate summit kicked off it has made plenty of headlines as world leaders scramble to try and solve the climate emergency. Naturally, the summit has been its fair share of laughs and gaffes, too.

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