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Climate Change Science – Far from Frozen program opened in Nuku’alofa

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 11/06/2019

Experts from the Otago University in New Zealand are currently in Nuku’alofa for the Climate Change Science “Far from frozen” program. The team from New Zealand are in Nuku’alofa with portable showcase – designed to elaborate on some of the Science and concepts behind climate change in tonga.

Yesterday, the Hon. Minister of MEIDECC – Poasi Tei opened the program.

In his remarks – Tei said, This is the first time for such program to be conducted in Tonga and he hopes that this program will develop the public’s knowledge on the issue.

“Tonga’s marine territory 700 thousand square kilometres is about 1000 times the size of our land mass. In Tonga seas there are many economic activities, many marine resources, cultural significance and extraordinary diversity. The ocean our heritage, our home is increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change. Last week during our national environment week the efforts to support the national environment awareness week effort to support the national theme “Beat Pollution”, youth programs, communities throughout Tongatapu collected over 200 tonnes of waste in illegal dump sites”

New Zealand’s High Commissioner H.E Tiffany Babington elaborates on their assistance to Tonga as it is the second most vulnerable country in the world to the impacts of climate change.

“Extreme weather events such as tropical cyclone Gita can have a devastated impact on the infrastructure and economy. New Zealand’s immediate support cyclone Gita and our budget support for recovery demonstrated our commitment to Tonga as our close Pacific neighbor. We also partnered with Habitat for Humanity and Caritas and the Tongan Government to prepare 315 damaged houses on Tongatapu we are actively supporting Tonga to implement its national plan and climate change including supporting amendments to legislation to ensure that responses to national emergencies are better coordinated. “

Professor Richard Barker from the Otago University spoke on the purpose of their visit with the aim to build partnership with the people of Tonga to tackle the major challenge faced by the Pacific nation.

“None then global warming and as we learn from interacting with the exhibit the changes that are going on and Antarctica far from here the frozen continent are driving much of the change that you will be seeing and your local areas and even though it is indeed far from frozen we share a common interest in the Antarctica. And the symbol for me for our connection with Antarctica are the humpback whales which is just appearing of the coastal of Tonga. They breed in the Tonga region, they follow the Tonga trench down South they go down the trench passed NZ whales they go passed Dunedin on their way to Antarctica where they feed summer and then return the journey back to Tonga”

While in Nuku’alofa high school students will have the opportunity to learn more about climate change issues such as sea level rise, extreme weather events and among others.

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