Shocked Pacific Islander fears for the future of her country: Reaction to announced minimalist 28% climate commitment from Australia

"I am very frustrated and extremely disappointed at this news," said Ms Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang on hearing the announcement of Australia’s commitment to reduce its carbon pollution by just 26-28% by 2030 from 2005 levels. Ms Tiimon Chi-Fang who is from Kiribati is spokesperson for the Edmund Rice Centre’s Pacific Calling Partnership.

"I strongly fear that this means our people’s future in Kiribati is at risk and they will face an even harder life than they have now."

"It is so unjust. We are all part of this globe and we are supposed to care for our neighbours," she continued. "Every day, the people of Kiribati continue to live with the impacts of climate change: coastal erosion, stronger storm surges, longer droughts, sea-water inundations, and increasing shortages of fresh water and food."

"My country is a developing country with few resources and is trying so hard to survive. The people are very resilient and are working very hard for survival." 

“Australia has the highest per capita green-house emissions in the world. Kiribati people live with the consequences of high emissions. If Australia were to take its responsibilities seriously then the people of Kiribati will have more chance to build up their resilience by initiating more extensive adaptation measures.”

“For many a long decade Kiribati President Anote Tong has voiced the fears of his people and has fought for climate justice. I ask Australians to listen to the people of Kiribati and other nations that are vulnerable to climate change. Kiribati and other Pacific islands need and depend on serious and effective action right now from Australia and the global community.” 

Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang, daughter of Tiimon and Baneawa, grew up on Beru Island one of the Southern islands in Kiribati. Maria has just returned from Kiribati where she was helping develop the leadership skills of young people concerned about climate change. She now resides permanently in Australia and works as Pacific Outreach Officer for the Pacific Calling Partnership at the Edmund Rice Centre in Sydney. Her role includes running workshops at schools and communities of how climate change is affecting Pacific Islands. 

For interview/comment contact Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang or Jill Finnane on 0409-640-366 (International: +61-409-640-366 )

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