Current climate policies mean the world is on course for up to 3.9 degrees of heating, which would see a number of Pacific Island countries go under the ocean due to sea level rise.
This is according to a new report released by Greenpeace Australia Pacific, entitled Te Mana, o te Moana 2021, which analyses each country’s climate commitments as part of the Paris Agreement.
It reveals that, while stronger climate targets from some of the world’s biggest emitters go some way to reducing the chances of catastrophic climate change, others such as Australia’s will lock in almost three degrees of heating, a level incompatible with life in the Pacific.
“The Pacific is reeling from the compounding impacts of the climate crisis and Covid-19 pandemic – with communities facing deepening poverty, loss of livelihoods and irreversible damage to land and marine ecosystems,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Non-Executive Director Kavita Naidu said.
Climate change increases displacement of coastal communities
“Pacific communities are deeply connected to their ancestral lands that have shaped their cultural heritage and ways of sustainable living for generations.
Climate change, driven by coal, oil and gas is increasing displacement of these coastal communities from their homes, villages and communities; threatening their identities, cultural practices and relationships with land, nature and their social environment.”
Naidu said that by refusing to support reparations for historic climate damage in the Pacific, Australia was shirking responsibility and not doing its fair share.
“It’s made worse by the Morrison Government’s persistent support of the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, which sentences people in Australia and the Pacific to intense heatwaves, longer droughts, bushfires, cyclones, a warming ocean and the devastating loss of biodiversity.”
Some of the big polluters have improved their reduction targets
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Head of Research and Investigations, Dr Nikola Čašule, said that since the election of US President Joe Biden, some of the world’s biggest polluters had significantly improved their 2030 emissions reduction targets with the UK, US and EU leading the way. However, Australia was lagging behind.
“Comparing the performance of the UK or US with Australia’s is like comparing a Ferrari with a go-kart. They’re not in the same category,” he said.
“The Morrison Government’s climate failure is so bad that it places Australia in the company of countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia.”
Yesterday, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, the Edmund Rice Centre, Oxfam, the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network, the Australian Conservation Foundation and Actionaid took out a full-page advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald calling out the Government’s climate policies and urging it to commit to a 75 percent cut in emissions by 2030 to help protect the Pacific from the impacts of climate change.