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Two Pacific Island representatives are calling on the public to join them as they head to a key UN climate meeting in Germany where they will demand that countries cut their sweet-talk and honour their Paris Agreement commitments.
The Pacific Islands contribute virtually nothing to climate change but in a cruel twist of fate they will be more impacted than almost anywhere else on earth.
Despite being at the coalface of global warming the big international climate meetings are dominated by the likes of China, the EU and the US, who too often decide the fate of the Pacific with little to no input from Pacific leaders.
Even worse, nations like Australia portray themselves as climate progressives but at the same time violate the spirit of the Paris agreement by continuing to export and extract fossil fuels. Through coal Australia exports almost double the emissions it produces at home.
“It’s a disgrace! The big polluters need to stop sugar-coating their climate destruction, step up and take responsibility for their actions,” Pacific Island represent spokesman Samu Kuridrani said.
“Our shorelines have eroded the extinction of fish and the repetitive occurrence of extreme weather events is becoming the new norm. At the same time Australia, our so-called friend, exports more coal than ever. We have been hammered by the impacts of climate change and if nothing is done it could be even worse for the next generation.”
Kuridrani is one of the faces of Pacific Island Represent (P.I Rep), a new group set up to inform, empower and support Pacific Islanders to challenge the hypocrisy of nations that say one thing and do another on climate change.
As part of P.I Rep’s mission to call out the climate sweet-talk and demand that countries abide by their commitments Kuridrani and fellow P.I Representative Alisi Nacewa are travelling to Bonn, Germany where Fiji is hosting the 23rd Conference of Parties meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP23).
The meeting presents a unique opportunity for Pacific voices to be heard as it will be the first hosted by a Pacific island state. COP23 will be critical to the future of the Pacific with world leaders set to decide how to implement the Paris agreement, which aims to cap global warming at 1.5°C.
“Limiting warming to 1.5°C means a chance to continue to live on our Pacific Island homes,” Nacewa said.
“Rising seas are taking away scarce land, coastal erosion is digging away at the foundations of our homes and salt-water intrusion is making it harder to plant and grow food. Stopping global warming at 1.5°C means entire coastal villages will not have to relocate to escape rising seas.“
In order to realise their goal P.I Rep is crowdfunding to get Kuridrani and Nacewa all the way from Fiji to Bonn.
“Going to COP would be a great opportunity to question world leaders on what they’re doing to reduce carbon emissions. Nations signed up to the Paris Agreements continue to extract, export and burn coal, oil and gas. They think that we don’t see the double game they’re playing,” Kuridrani said.
“I want to be the voice of my people. The decisions they’ll make at COP affect the Pacific and we need our voices to be heard. In the Pacific we making a stand by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and turning to renewable energy. We need answers from the global community on what they are actually doing to fix climate change and we need answers now!”
Just a day after launching the group has already raised more than $12,000 (US$9,408).
COP23, chaired by Fiji, will be held in Bonn, Germany from November 6-17.
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media