Confronting detail in minister's beachside address to the world

While more than 30,000 delegates have descended on Glasgow in a bid to get their messages across about the world's developing climate crisis, one country has managed to make the biggest splash by simply staying home.

Due to the vulnerability of Pacific island nations amid the pandemic, there is limited representation from the region in Scotland for COP26.

Yet Tuvalu has still managed to make a significant impact with images from its impending video message about its own climate predicament going viral.

Photos of Tuvalu's impending video address for COP26 have gone viral. Source: Ministry of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs Tuvalu Government
Photos of Tuvalu's impending video address for COP26 have gone viral. Source: Ministry of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs Tuvalu Government

A suited Foreign Minister Simon Kofe was pictured standing at a lectern knee-deep in water – a poignant choice of location for Tuvalu's virtual message in a bid to highlight the effects global warming has on rising sea levels.

"This photo of Tuvalu’s virtual address to the Climate Conference says everything that should need to be said," historian Ben Phillips said in a tweet that has garnered more than 36,000 likes.

Mr Kofe is pictured standing in front of a concrete WWII structure, with a government official revealing the site is a coastal location that was once accessible, not just at low tide.

"The statement juxtaposes the COP26 setting with the real-life situations faced in Tuvalu due to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise," Tuvalu's Ministry of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs said.

"[It] highlights the bold action Tuvalu is taking to address the very pressing issues of human mobility under climate change."

Many on social media praised the stunt, with the photos being described as "so powerful".

"He did not move a muscle to get his message out [and] not wasting government coffers" one Facebook user said.

Earlier this year scientists at the University of Auckland revealed research that showed that while some islands in the Pacific are shrinking as sea levels rise, some have actually grown in size in the past 50 years.

Experts say further studies on how this has occurred will allow the region to tackle climate change.

Tuvalu's Finance Minister Seve Paeniu has travelled to Glasgow where he is serving as the Pacific Political Climate Champion for Loss and Damage at COP26.

Tuvalu's recorded message will be played in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Australia is 'so behind', UK's top climate advisor says

Australia's position at COP26 has faced intense scrutiny with Prime Minister Scott Morrison's 2050 net zero emissions plan criticised for a lack of immediate action.

Australia was one of the countries who has also refused to phase out the use of coal power.

Lord Deben, chair of the UK Government's Climate Change Committee and former Environment Secretary, lambasted Australia's approach.

"There's a long way to go but a great deal has happened, but I don't think it's been helped by the Australians I have to say, which is a great disappointment to the rest of the world," he told ABC Radio.

He said it was a shame a nation of Australia's stature was "so much behind" on climate issues.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific has accused the Australian government of bullying its Pacific island nation neighbours in a new report.

“Pacific Island leaders are some of the world’s strongest climate advocates, but Australia has brazenly tried to buy their silence through aid with strings attached," the organisation's international relations expert Alex Edney-Browne said.

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