The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C is a sobering reminder that Pacific Island nations could be wiped out by climate change, and that Australia and other polluter nations are standing idly by as the tragedy unfolds, said the Pacific Calling Partnership.
The report outlines the huge difference between the impacts of 1.5°C and 2°C of warming compared to pre-industrial levels: several centimetres of sea level rise, deaths linked to extreme heat, and reduction in the nutritional quality of crops, among others.
IPCC also warns that the world will cross the 1.5°C limit by between 2030 and 2052 if no action is taken to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reach net zero emissions by around mid-century.
“Pacific Island nations have long maintained that we need “1.5 to stay alive’,” said Maria Timon Chi-Fang, Pacific Outreach Officer, Pacific Calling Partnership.
“My home country of Kiribati is only two metres above sea level, and sea level rise is a life-or-death issue for us. Already with 1°C of warming, we are seeing more frequent and damaging storms, the loss of our crop-growing lands and freshwater resources, and our homes flooded.
“Many I-Kiribati are already resigned to having to leave home as life on the islands becomes untenable, and we know many of our Pacific neighbours are facing the same crisis.
“We call on Australia and other big carbon polluters to give us a fair go at preserving our culture and having the dignified, safe, and secure future that we deserve.”
Vincent Sicari, project officer, Pacific Calling Partnership, added: “Australia’s woefully inadequate progress on emissions cuts or clean energy is weakening its regional standing in the Pacific.
“Australia’s leaders have laughed at the plight of the Pacific, they have tried to water down language articulating how dangerous climate change is for us, and they have no credible or coherent climate policy to speak of—even as Australia’s emissions continue to rise.
“This is shameful, and it’s no surprise that Australia’s credibility and reputation as a regional leader is being eroded by its stubborn inaction on climate change.
“It’s not enough for Australia to simply stay in the Paris Agreement as a token gesture that will preserve its influence in the region.
"Australia must urgently adopt readily available solutions like renewable energy for the safety and security of vulnerable Pacific Island nations, as well as its own citizens.”
For interviews, contact Vaidehi Shah at 0452 290 082 or [email protected]