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Australia and New Zealand urged to cut emissions
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Small Island States (SIS) chairman and Niue Premier Toke Talagi said in Cairns Tuesday the seven-nation alliance would push Australia and New Zealand to agree to cut emissions by 45 percent by 2020 and by 85 percent by 2050.

Leaders and representatives from the most vulnerable smaller pacific island nations are meeting in Cairns on Tuesday to form strong force, urging the two big powers to take more actions on greenhouse gas reduction in the pacific region.

"We understand the difficulties that developed countries have with respect to the changes that are needed," Talagi said, adding "we must make a strong stance with respect to greenhouse gas emissions and advocate the small island states' view in respect to climate change."

Many of the seven nations that make up the SIS, such as Tuvalu, lie just a few meters above sea level and are considered at most risk to the effects of climate change.

The Australian government has said earlier it is working towards a five to 15 percent cut on 2000 emission levels by 2020 while New Zealand has set a 50 percent reduction target on 1990 levels by 2050.

Leaders' Meeting for Smaller Islands States concluded in Cairns Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday's official opening of the 40th Pacific Islands Forum.

Talagi said the meeting discussed pertinent matters specific to SIS, including sub-regional shipping, labor mobility, bulk procurement of petroleum, development financing and progress to date on the implementation of the Niue Declaration on Climate Change.

Membership of the SIS includes Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.

(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2009)

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