US President Joe Biden has announced financial support to the 18 states of the Forum of Pacific Islands in the fight against the climate crisis.
The USA would support the countries particularly affected by the consequences of global warming in “adapting to climate change and coping with its effects,” said a statement from the White House after the start of a joint summit in Washington.
Biden will request almost 200 million US dollars (around 188.9 million euros) from the US Congress to support the Pacific states, it said. The funds should therefore be used, among other things, for disaster relief and preparedness in the region.
Climate change is already an acute reality in the island states in the South Pacific. On some islands, settlement areas have to be evacuated because they will be flooded in the future due to rising sea levels.
The US president also announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands in the South Pacific and the island of Niue, an atoll with 1,500 people about 2,400 kilometers northeast of New Zealand. The move is part of the US government's efforts to counter China's growing influence in the region, the New York Times reported.
This became particularly visible last year when the Solomon Islands concluded a security agreement with Beijing. This could open the door to a possible permanent Chinese military presence in the region, which also includes the US territory of Guam, it said.
The United Nations (UN) describes climate change as long-term changes in temperatures and weather patterns that have been "primarily due to human activities" - particularly the burning of fossil fuels - since the 19th century.
The regions of the world are affected differently by the consequences. Regions that have emitted the fewest greenhouse gases are feeling the effects of climate change most clearly: island states in the Pacific are experiencing sea level rise, Greenland is experiencing ice loss, and in Africa, with more and severe extreme weather, the consequences are being felt more keenly than the global average, according to the World Weather Organization (WMO).