Jacinda Ardern got off on the wrong foot at Tuvalu, the theme this year is “Securing our Future in the Pacific” which, as you will have guessed, is primarily about climate change and how much money will change hands to address it.

Ardern did not hold back from raising her colours at Tuvalu and insulting Scott Morrison to boot.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing hard-hitting questions from New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as the leaders meet at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu.

Ms Ardern has challenged the Prime Minister to explain Australia’s position on climate change with the subject taking centre stage at the regional conference, and accusations Australia is not doing enough.

Sky News Australia

Sky News reporters in Australia were quick to point to Ardern’s trolling of Scott Morrison, asking who she thought she was to throw her weight around when both countries have similar Kyoto targets.

They said the idea that “Australia is somehow a climate sinner while NZ is a bunch of climate saints” does not stack up; and it is “not helpful for Ardern to be splitting the Pacific nations when we should be working together to counter Chinese influence in our region”.

Aaah, yes, the Chinese. Sky News recollected Ardern walking away from media recently instead of answering the hard question about the Chinese in Hong Kong.

 “Jacinda Ardern always gets this sort of halo around her but then when you start to look more deeply at it, it doesn’t hold up.

And just on the China thing, there has been a lot of concern around Chinese influence in NZ and in fact Jacinda Ardern even walked out of one of her own press conferences some weeks ago when she was trying to be drawn on the Hong Kong demonstrators and giving any support to their mission in Hong Kong.”

Transcript Sky News Australia

Ardern’s halo has slipped in Australia but she also came up short on climate change at Tuvalu.

“Ms Ardern said it’s very fitting to have a nation like Tuvalu hosting this year’s forum.

At the last Pacific Islands Forum climate change was a significant topic, in fact, it was identified by the forum as the biggest threat facing the Pacific.

So, to now hold a forum on an island where climate change is not a theoretical proposition but is very much a reality and a visual reality I think will be quite pointed,” she said.”

Radio NZ

Ardern is still pushing her political narrative but she is well out of date because scientists have moved on. While sea levels at Tuvalu are rising the land area of Tuvalu has increased.

The tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, thought to be under threat from sea level rise, has actually expanded in land area over the past 40 years and is likely to continue to be habitable a century from now, scientists say.

New research from the University of Auckland published in Nature Communications mapped shoreline change of each of Tuvalu’s 101 islands across its nine atolls over a 40-year period.

Maritime Executive

But why aren’t scientists concerned about Tuvalu’s rising sea levels?

“The sea level at the Funafuti tide gauge has risen at 3.9 mm per year, which is approximately twice the global average.

Tuvalu could be one of the first nations to experience the effects of sea level rise. “

Skeptical Science

Tuvalu is not unique in that all tides in the western Pacific are rising at double the expected rate but the science is by no means settled on the reasons why.

“Measuring ongoing sea global level rise, which results from the global warming-induced melting of land ice and thermal expansion, is a complicated business.

This comparatively small long-term rise is often obscured because sea level can undergo large up-and-down fluctuations over seasonal, annual, and even decade-long time scales.

This is especially true in the case of the islands of the western Pacific where the ENSO cycles El Niño and La Niña result in sea level fluctuations up to 20-30 cms, which is around 40-60 times larger than the long-term annual increase (5.1mm) found at Tuvalu. Quite obviously these fluctuations have to be accounted for in order to see the underlying long-term trend.

The tide gauge and satellite altimatry data both have their own shortcomings, for example the tide gauges have long records, but some are plagued by data gaps, and monitoring equipment that has been updated over time.

Also, tide gauges are fixed to the seafloor, which can either be sinking or rising dependent on the location (hence the use of co-located GPS equipment at some sites), so that has to be factored in to observations too.”

Skeptical Science

Tuvalu disappearing underwater in the next decade does not line up with the latest science, but there are political mileage and good money to had from climate change so Ardern keeps the spin going – but not, I suspect, for the benefit of Tuvalu.


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Ardern Embarrasses Us at Tuvalu

Suze is an avid reader and writer after a career in accounting starting in the farming industry. 10 years working in the NZ mining industry made her passionate about accessing our resource potential whilst...