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“Climate Change is Now”: Former Irish President Mary Robinson and Marshall Islands’ Tony deBrum

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Among the hundreds of thousands of people who attended the People’s Climate March in New York City was Mary Robinson, former Irish president and U.N. high commissioner for human rights, who now heads the Mary Robinson Foundation–Climate Justice. She was interviewed in the streets during the Democracy Now! broadcast from the march alongside Tony deBrum, foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, who described the threat climate change poses to the Pacific Ocean nation. “Six feet above sea level, sitting in the middle of the Pacific, one of the five most vulnerable atoll countries in the world,” deBrum said. “I join Ms. Robinson in saying that we consider this to be a wonderful occasion to be able to tell the world that the problem of climate change is now, and we must deal with it now.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: And I believe I see Mary Robinson and the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, Tony deBrum. I welcome you both to Democracy Now! Nice to see you again.

MARY ROBINSON: Nice to see you.

AMY GOODMAN: Why are you here? Let’s begin with Mary Robinson.

MARY ROBINSON: We want people all over the world to come out and demand that their leaders change course. I was in Samoa with Tony deBrum and other leaders of the small island developing states, and they had tears in their eyes at times, because the situation has become so serious. But it has affected New York. It affects everywhere now. And we are not on course for a safe world. We need to go below two degrees Celsius. And we’ll have this climate summit in two days’ time, and the leaders of the world have to hear the pressure, not just in New York, but all over the world today.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Mr. deBrum, the Marshall Islands.

TONY DEBRUM: Six feet above sea level, sitting in the middle of the Pacific, one of the five most vulnerable atoll countries in the world. I join Ms. Robinson in saying that we consider this to be a wonderful occasion to be able to tell the world that the problem of climate change is now, and we must deal with it now.

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