Tag: PICAN

Neighbours must do their share: Pacific climate network

Pacific civil society groups are extremely disappointed Australian and New Zealand leaders will not join island neighbours at a global climate summit in New York this week.

Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) convenor Shirley Laban said the decision by Tony Abbott and John Key not to attend the UN Climate Summit, on September 23, was ‘alarming and disheartening’.

Organised by UN chief Ban Ki Moon, the summit is intended to provide momentum for a global pact to tackle climate change, with an agreement expected to be finalised in Paris next year. More than 120 world leaders, including US president Obama and UK prime minister David Cameron, will be attending the climate meeting.

Leaders from almost all Pacific island countries will be attending, and demanding strong commitments from polluting nations.  Australian prime minister Tony Abbott will also be in New York this week to attend a special UN security council meeting on terrorism.  However he has ruled out attending the Climate Summit.

Ms Laban said Abbott’s decision not to attend the summit sent a strong message to island neighbours that Australia was not serious addressing global climate change.

‘A changing climate presents a clear and present danger for Pacific island countries,’ said Ms Laban. ‘If Australian and New Zealand leaders refuse to do their share to address the issue, they send a very poor signal to the global community. Pacific communities will reap the devastating consequences of their failure to act for generations to come’.

In recent times conservative governments in both Australia and New Zealand have distanced themselves from crucial international climate negotiations, and have rolled back support to help island states adapt to changes that are already understood to be unavoidable.

Pacific island countries are already among the world’s most vulnerable to natural disasters.  Every year island communities face the threat of droughts, devastating floods and intense cyclones.  Climate change looks set to increase the risks.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report suggests a changing climate is likely to lead to changing rainfall patterns, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching.  Coastal communities are also likely to experience stronger storm surges, increased erosion and inundation as sea levels rise, and salination is likely to compromise groundwater resources.

Samoan prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said Pacific island states were sounding a warning to the rest of the world.

‘Our experience as the “canaries in the coalmine” must finally be understood by the international community and acted on’, said Mr Malielegaoi.

Ms Laban echoed the call for polluting nations to take action now to curb emissions.  She also said wealthy nations needed to do more to help island communities adapt to a changing climate.

‘Funding for adaptation, including from the Green Climate Fund, needs to be accessible to Pacific communities and civil society organisations, said Ms Laban. ‘Because we are at the frontline of climate change, more support must be allocated to community-based adaptation measures’.

She said a global agreement to tackle climate change should include commitments to address the irreversible damage that is likely to occur in Pacific island states.

‘We are not responsible for climate change, yet we will bear the greatest impacts of a changing climate,’ said Ms Laban. ‘Even if drastic action is taken now to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere, Pacific countries are still likely to experience significant losses, and permanent damage.  The countries responsible for emitting greenhouse gases must take responsibility for the impacts of their pollution’.

The Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) brings together civil society actors in Pacific island countries advocating for climate justice.  PICAN is a regional network of the global Climate Action Network (CAN-International).

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Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN)

For Media Enquiries please contact:

P: +678 25786.  M: +678 7772306

Shirley Laban is available for interview

 
 
 

No more hot air: Pacific voices call for action on climate change

No more hot air  

Pacific voices call for action on climate change

**For Immediate Release**

Apia, Monday September 1, 2014: As the world’s eyes turn to small island countries this week, Pacific voices are calling for serious action to avoid dangerous climate change.

Representatives from more than 100 countries are gathered in Apia, Samoa, for the United Nation’s Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  The meeting is a once-in-a-decade chance for small island states to highlight their unique development challenges.

Speaking from Apia, convenor of the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) Shirley Laban said world leaders need to take action now if Pacific island countries are to have any hope of avoiding potentially catastrophic climate change. 

‘Unless we cut emissions now, and limit global warming to less than 1.5°C, Pacific communities will reap devastating consequences for generations to come’, said Ms Laban.  ‘Developed countries need to reduce their emissions as soon as possible, and must make far stronger commitments than those currently on the table’.

Her comments came as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, called for world leaders to come together in New York (September 23, 2014) with bold new commitments.

Ms Laban said the international community needed to follow the example of Small Island Developing States.  ‘Pacific islanders are strong and resilient, and we are adapting to the changes we are already experiencing,’ said Ms Laban. ‘We are also leading the way by taking action to reduce our emissions today.  Leaders from all States must use this historic opportunity to inject momentum into the global climate negotiations, and work to secure an ambitious global agreement in 2015’.  

A key organisation within the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network is the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC).  PCC’s climate change campaigns officer Peter Emberson, also in Apia, said the international community needed to provide greater funding for climate change adaptation.

‘It is time for the polluters to put their money where their mouth is’ said Mr Emberson.

‘Pacific islanders have lived in a sustainable balance with our environment for countless generations, growing our own food and relying on resources from the sea. Now, because of pollution we are not responsible for, we are facing catastrophic threats to our way of life.’

Mr Emberson said wealthier nations needed to provide adequate, additional and predictable financing to help Pacific communities adapt to a changing climate. 
‘Global funds – such as the Green Climate Fund – must be accessible to Pacific island governments, communities and civil society organisations, said Mr Emberson. ‘Because communities are at the frontline of climate change, more support must be allocated to community-based adaptation measures’.

Both Mr Emberson and Ms Laban said there were already likely to be impacts island states cannot adapt to.

‘Even if drastic action is taken now to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, island countries are likely to experience losses and permanent damage associated with climate change,’ said Ms Laban.  ‘Countries responsible for emitting greenhouse gases must address the impact of their pollution.  Toward that end, loss and damage mechanisms must be written into the text of a global agreement to tackle climate change.’

Pacific island countries are already among the most vulnerable to natural disasters.  Every year island states face climate-related hazards like prolonged droughts, devastating floods and intense cyclones.  Climate change looks set to increase the risks.

Earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicated small island developing states are likely to face changing rainfall patterns, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching.  Coastal communities are likely to experience stronger storm surges, increased erosion and inundation as sea levels rise.  Salination is likely to compromise groundwater resources.

About PICAN:
The Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) brings together civil society actors in Pacific island countries advocating for climate justice.  PICAN is a regional network of the global Climate Action Network (CAN-International).
Picture Capition: A global agreement needed now: PICAN convenor Shirley Laban, with UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres

Contact:

- Ria Voorhaar, Head - Global Communications Coordination, Climate Action Network,  + 49 157 317 35568, rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org 
- In Apia, Shirley Laban: +685 7297617 or Peter Emberson +685 7291464.  

Both Shirley Laban and Peter Emberson are available for interview

 

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