- Date published:
8:07 am, September 12th, 2015 - 98 comments
Categories: australian politics, climate change, Environment, global warming, International, john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: Kiribati, tony abbott
Anthony R0bins has already posted on this subject but it is an important one and deserves multiple analysis so here goes.
The Pacific Leaders Forum has occurred over the past few days. The proud leaders of small Pacific Nations were there. Some nations like Tuvalu and Kiribati are facing the prospect of disappearing under increasing sea levels caused by climate change. The issue is clearly of utmost importance to them.
So how did Australia and New Zealand handle the impassioned pleas of the leaders of these nations for us to do something meaningful? The response can only be described as meh.
From ABC News:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has held his Government’s line on climate change despite pleas from low-lying Pacific island nations for a stronger stance on emissions and temperature rises.
Both Mr Abbott and New Zealand prime minister John Key refused to go further than their existing commitments on global warming at the Pacific Islands Forum in Port Moresby.
Some Pacific island leaders say they are disappointed in the leaders for putting economic growth ahead of the survival of communities in small Pacific nations.
“Australia and New Zealand have made no additional commitments when it comes to climate change,” Mr Abbott told reporters after the meeting last night.
“As you know Australia and New Zealand have already announced very ambitious targets for emissions reduction to take to the Paris conference.”
Pacific island nations had said the meeting was their last chance to highlight the threat they face from climate change, before the UN Climate Conference in Paris.
The Australian response disappointed leaders who say some people are already being forced out of their homes by rising salinity, lack of water, or damage from severe storms or high tides.
Kiribati president Anote Tong had campaigned especially hard for Australia to further reduce emissions, support a tighter cap on global temperature rises and consider a moratorium on new coal mines.
“It is disappointing,” he said.
“I would really have loved to go back and say yes, we had support, solid support from all of the Pacific neighbours including our developed neighbours. How does it feel? I’ve learned to live with the disappointments.”
Mr Tong said Australia and New Zealand continued to argue that reducing emissions further would stymie economic growth and lead to job losses.
“I understand what’s being said, that if they agree to those reductions in emissions, then it would hurt their industries and it would hurt their life, standard of living,” he said.
“But what I’m perhaps failing to communicate across is that while it will affect their standard of living, for us, it will affect the future of our people.”
Mr Tong’s statement sums up Australia’s and New Zealand’s attitude perfectly. We are worried about short term economic gain while they are worried about long term survival.
Key said this in this One News report:
A lot of those leaders from very low lying areas believe that climate change could be the biggest risk to the survival of their countries. That may or may not be correct.
My tourettes kicked in. Rising sea levels are a current fact, not some future possibility. And why risk it?
Such gross intellectual dishonesty is hard to comprehend. It is the equivalent to someone my age saying that they cannot recall what their position on the Springbok tour was.
But instead of trying to improve our response Key and Abbott stuck to their insipid positions previously announced for the Paris talks. They agree to the aim of maintaining no more than a 2 degree increase even though in New Zealand’s case what is proposed will not achieve this. The other Pacific Nations want the increase to be no more than 1.5 degrees. There is clearly a major disjoint between Australia’s and New Zealand’s positions and the expectations of the Pacific Island Nations.
And the difference between a 1.5 degree increase and a 2 degree increase in temperature?
Potentially it represents a catastrophic difference for the Islands. It is predicted that the Greenland Ice shelf will melt completely if global temperatures increase by 1.6 degrees. If this occurs then sea levels rise by 6 metres. Good bye Kiribati.
Of course this may not happen. But if you are talking about devastation of low lying areas the precautionary approach should kick in.
And if you want to witness the utter indifference Australia has for the Pacific Islands plight then watch this video.
Shame on Abbott and Key for insisting that short term economic gains are more important than the long term future of Pacific Islands. Shame on them.