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Oceania voices lend weight to urgency of climate action

CARITAS AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND

MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

3 November 2014

Oceania voices lend weight to urgency of climate action – Caritas

Voices from Oceania recently gathered by Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand in an environment report lend weight to the latest United Nations report calling for dramatic cuts in fossil fuel use to avoid catastrophic and irreversible climate change impacts.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s synthesis report and summary for policymakers was released overnight in preparation for the next major climate conference in Lima, Peru next month.

“People across Oceania are already losing shorelines and experiencing rising temperatures and unusual weather patterns that have disrupted food and water supplies,” says Caritas director Julianne Hickey.

“That’s what we found in speaking with our partners in the region for our report Small yet strong: voices from Oceania on the environment, published last month.

“While an immense amount of activity is generated and money spent through international fora to discuss climate change, this seems extremely remote from people on the ground in the Pacific who are building sea walls from sticks, stones, shells and coral. We need to urgently minimise the impact of increasing environmental changes, and intensify our assistance for ongoing community efforts to plan and prepare for an uncertain future.”

Mrs Hickey says that responsibility lies with individuals, communities, and businesses – as well as government decision-makers. “We need decisive steps and the right frameworks nationally and internationally to cut emissions and provide resources to adapt for poor and vulnerable communities.”

Stories and experiences from the Caritas report will be shared at the Lima conference by Amelia Ma’afu of Caritas Tonga (Programmes Coordinator and Climate Change Officer). Mrs Ma’afu says the injustices of environment and climate challenges that threaten to sink her homeland need to be taken to such platforms to ensure the voices of Oceania are heard.

ENDS.


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