The speech set down in Tuvalu may have been staged, but set in the Pacific Ocean, it could not be more real.
To make a point about rising sea-levels affecting the longevity of its three reef islands and six atolls, Tuvalu foreign minister Simon Kofe was left standing in the country’s problem while addressing the world’s cameras.
The well-dressed suit of the minister behind a podium and in front of the flags for the United Nations and his homeland in shallow waters looked out of place as the ocean rose up to the minister’s knees.
But the innovative approach for the UN climate change conference illustrated exactly what Tuvalu – and many other Pacific islands – face in the not-so-distant future.
“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 said in a statement, “and highlights the bold action that Tuvalu is taking to address the very pressing issues of human mobility under climate change.”
Comparisons were drawn from when the Maldives government in 2009 first brought attention to the seriousness of climate change to a more naïve world while wearing scuba gear for a cabinet meeting held under water.
The pre-recorded video will be played on Tuesday in Glasgow as part of the Pacific climate change mobility and human security side event at COP26 summit.
But the released clip across social media that demonstrates the impending effects of global warming has gone viral, stirring up much debate.
“This is another severe and shameful indictment on the Australian goverment who are leaving behind their close neighbours as well as our community,” Pippa tweeted.
Others on Twitter thought it was little more than a PR stunt.
Several followers argued that Tuvalu was in fact growing, not shrinking.
“Oh so this is why Tuvalu is desperate to have Papua Merdeka, so they get a piece of land before they’re sinking by the ocean? I just don’t get it? How is it possible for coastal communities to live in high mountains in Papua?” Tan Ho Seng tweeted.