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Whilst welcoming the U.S government’s step into the right direction of increasing its climate targets, the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network states that the climate commitments are not ambitious enough to save Pacific Island nations from the threat of climate change.
The Summit which was convened by the U.S on the 22nd and 23rd of April as part of the Biden administration’s 100-day pledge saw key major economies such as the U.K, Canada, Japan, and the U.S. announcing new climate targets.
“The climate targets announced are not sufficient and are not aligning to what the scientific community as well as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been calling for, which is to reduce emissions and limit global warming to 1.50 celsius. The Pacific communities are already knee or waist deep in experiencing this existential threat and the economic costs alone are already in the billions - a burden that is now being borne by Pacific Island governments and its taxpayers. Our governments are having to dig deeper into their treasury to fund for climate adaptation and loss & damage, which is something the U.S. and other industrialized nations should be doing, and these countries must set up a new window for financing loss and damage”, says Lavetanalagi Seru, the Climate Justice Project Officer for the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network.
The UN Environment Programme 2020 Emissions Gap Report warns that the current climate pledges will limit global warming to no less than 3.2 degrees celsius by the end of the century, whilst the NDC Synthesis Report released by the United Nations Framework on Convention on Climate Change had highlighted that the emission reduction ranges to meet the 1.5°C temperature goal should be around 45 per cent lower than current targets. Globally, the top four emitters, China, the USA the EU27 + UK and India contribute 55% of total emissions, while the Group of 20 [G20] accounted for 75% of total emissions.
“The re-engagement of the USA in the global fight against climate change is warmly welcomed. However, the lack of new climate finance commitments coming from the summit is alarming given the urgency of addressing climate change impacts in vulnerable countries in the Pacific. The Pacific countries right now are fighting a battle on two fronts; COVID-19 and climate change, and without urgent and scaled-up support from developed countries such as the USA, Canada, Japan and others, the chances of our economies surviving really looks bleak. We need the USA and its developed country parties’ allies to step-up now and fulfil their obligations as per the Paris Agreement not only in terms of cutting their emissions but also in providing the necessary financial support to vulnerable countries”, says Dr Jale Samuwai, the Climate Finance Advisor for Oxfam in Pacific.
“Climate change should not be treated as business as usual by developed countries; rather they need to live up to their emission targets to keep this earth a safe place. We the people living with disability are increasing and becoming more, and more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and extreme events. Imagine, we are dying because of our inability as compared to able people. The responsibility of saving our life should be everyone's business, we must not go beyond 1.5 degrees. Act now to save life and humanity and the earth. For nothing about us is without us” stated Melvina the Climate Change Officer for the People with Disability in Solomon Islands.
The Pacific Islands Climate Action Network continues to work with regional and international partners to call on developed countries for more urgent and concrete actions to combat climate change. This also includes pursuing a UN General Assembly Resolution seeking an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the obligations of States under international law to protect the rights of current and future generations from the adverse effects of climate change; and calling for financial support and compensation for the most vulnerable who are already experiencing loss and damage.
The Pacific Island Climate Action Network (PICAN) is the largest network of civil society organizations in the Pacific Islands working on climate change. Established in 2013, the Network brings together non-government actors from across the Pacific island countries, advocating for climate justice and environmental integrity, and more ambitious climate change policies and action at the national and regional level. PICAN is the Pacific arm of the global Climate Action Network which has over 1,100 members in 120 countries.
For more information about the PICAN climate justice program, or about the campaign for an International Court of Justice opinion on climate change and human rights, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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