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Pacific People Power to Rise Against Climate Inaction

RISE FOR CLIMATE: Pacific People Power to Rise
Against Climate Inaction on September 8

SUVA, 5 September: Climate change is “the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific”, say Pacific Islands political leaders meeting right now in Nauru for the Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ Meeting.

However, Australia, the biggest nation in the region—and member of the Pacific Islands Forum family—is refusing demands from its smaller island neighbours for urgent and ambitious action on the global stage to stop this threat, even while experiencing its own record-breaking drought and a change of leadership brought about by failed climate policy that commentators are calling the ‘Coal Coup’.

Climate change is a threat that is already here and now in the Pacific: inundation by sea level rise, the strongest cyclones ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, massive flooding, and droughts are some of the recent impacts of climate change being felt across the region.

For some low-lying Pacific countries, climate change is an existential threat. As Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine says: “If we do not raise global ambition by 2020, it will be too late for my island nation. This means increasing the targets we set before we agreed the Paris Agreement in 2015…We also need to set clear pathways to reach net zero emissions at the latest by 2050.”

In the Pacific Islands, our people are not taking the threat of climate change lying down: on September 8, 2018, people from the Pacific Islands will join a global mobilisation of people power across the planet, Rise for Climate.

On the 8th of September, towns, cities, universities, places of worship and community spaces will come together to remind world leaders that the time to act is now. The science is clear, we have the momentum, and the technology for the energy transition is ready. To avoid the worst case scenarios of the unfolding climate crisis, in Australia and all over the world, we need to commit to a just and fair transition to a world without fossil fuels, powered by 100% renewable energy.

“We cannot wait any longer. With climate impacts escalating and our Pacific people being on the frontlines of those impacts, we simply don’t have the luxury to wait to see what these negotiations have to offer,” says 350 Pacific Regional Coordinator Fenton Lutunatabua.

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