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Published: 2015

A question of survival: why Australia and New Zealand must heed the Pacific’s calls for stronger action on climate change

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International condemnation of Australia and New Zealand's contributions towards tackling global climate change has come amidst strong efforts by Pacific Island leaders and civil society to catalyse international action and cooperation. Australia and New Zealand are surrounded by some of the most vulnerable countries to climate change on earth. The Australian and New Zealand governments need to fully recognise the dangers facing Pacific Island countries and territories, and work hand-in-hand as a united Pacific towards solutions. As a first step, this report produced for for the 46th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, Port Moresby, September 2015, argues that Australia and New Zealand should join Pacific Island leaders in a strong political statement that clearly communicates the minimum requirements for a new international climate agreement if it is to ensure the survival of all Pacific Island Forum members. More importantly, Australia and New Zealand must increase their climate targets and take action consistent with their status as high-emitting, industrialised countries.

The report calls for Australia and New Zealand to:

  • Substantially increase their current emissions reduction targets
  • provide clarity on how they will meet their international climate finance commitments and help ensure vulnerable communities in the Pacific can access the support they need
  • commit to the robust implementation of the Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Development in the Pacific (SRDP) across the region
  • join Pacific Island leaders in a united political statement ahead of the Paris climate conference. This should call for:
  • a strengthening of the global temperature goal to a 1.5°C limit
  • provisions for addressing unavoidable loss and damage caused by climate change
  • adequate long-term financing for climate change adaptation in Pacific Island countries and territories
  • practical solutions for those facing displacement


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