Australia’s neighbours in low-lying Pacific Island countries, such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, will be most impacted by the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Edmund Rice Centre’s Pacific Calling Partnership (PCP) is calling on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to pick up the phone to President Donald Trump to convey Australia’s opposition to this announcement.
“It is not good enough for the Australian Government to simply say this is a matter for the Trump Administration because it is our neighbours in the Pacific who will be most impacted,” the Centre’s Eco-Justice Coordinator Jill Finnane said.
"Pacific Island leaders have warned that unless global temperature increases are limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, their countries will be devastated by climate change. The Paris Agreement was critical for the Pacific because it recognised the importance of the 1.5 degrees target.
"US withdrawal from the Paris agreement will slow down the urgent global move away from fossil fuels and towards a clean energy economy, making it even harder to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
"This is also yet another wake up call for our Government to commit to deeper and more urgent reductions in our greenhouse emissions."
Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang, who is from Kiribati and works as the Centre’s Pacific Outreach Officer, has also condemned the decision.
“I am very frustrated and extremely disappointed at this news. I fear that this means our people’s future in Kiribati is at risk,” Ms Tiimon Chi-Fang said.
"It is so unjust. Every day, the people of Kiribati continue to live with the impacts of climate change, such as coastal erosion, stronger storm surges, longer droughts, sea-water inundations and increasing shortages of fresh water and food.
“The Australian Government cannot ignore the seriousness of this. Pacific Islanders look to Australia as our big brother and we need the Government to act.
“Please Mr Turnbull, pick up the phone to Donald Trump and tell him not to walk away from the Paris Agreement. The future of Australia’s neighbours in the Pacific depends on it.”
The Pacific Calling Partnership is an Edmund Rice Centre initiative working to promote knowledge of and action with the people of low-lying Pacific Island communities who are at the frontline of climate change. PCP delegations have participated in past UN Climate Summits, including the 2015 Paris Conference.
Contact: Dominic Ofner 0407 678 564
Jill Finnane 0409 640 366