Oct 22 2021 - The Pacific has demanded that world leaders at the upcoming COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow must draw a line under new coal, oil and gas projects and immediately end fossil fuel subsidies if the Pacific islands are to remain above the sea with their cultures preserved.
The Pacific Islands Climate Action Network, which is made up of civil society groups from across the Pacific, including Greenpeace, has outlined its demands for a successful COP26 climate summit and near the top of the list is an immediate end to fossil fuel projects and subsidies. (https://www.pican.org/cop-26/cop26-demands)
PICAN official Lavetanalagi Seru said that it was crucial that Pacific people facing catastrophic climate damage had their voices heard by world leaders at the most important global climate summit in history.
“The Pacific is already knee-deep, experiencing irreversible climate-induced loss and damage, and the Pacific communities are demanding urgent and accelerated climate action now – not in another twenty or thirty years. We are demanding that parties, especially the developed nations to come to COP26 with concrete plans on closing the emissions gap and bring the world to a pathway to achieve the Paris target of limiting global warming to well below 1.5 degrees, he said.
“This calls for an end to all fossil fuel subsidies and no new coal, oil or gas projects everywhere. We are holding the line on 1.5 degrees because for the Pacific, we have everything to lose, and so in the lead up to COP 26, we are making our demands known. We demand increased, robust, and accessible climate finance; that loss and damage is being made a permanent agenda item of the UNFCCC negotiations and that the Santiago Network on Loss & Damage is operationalized and technically & financially supported; and that developed countries deliver on their failed promises to mobilize US$100 billion per year in climate finance.”
“The Pacific is already in the grip of a climate disaster and only deep, rapid emissions cuts including the complete phase-out of climate-destroying coal, oil and gas and an immediate end to fossil fuel subsidies will provide a fighting chance of a safe and habitable future for the Pacific islands,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Acting Head of Pacific Steph Hodgins-May said, adding there was no more time for excuses and history would judge world leaders on their actions at COP26.
“Pacific Island nations have contributed the least to the climate crisis and are paying the highest price as climate fuelled extreme weather wreaks havoc on the region. Less developed states, including those in the Pacific, need some of the US$100 billion in climate finance that was pledged by the richer nations in 2015 but is still yet to be delivered.
“Australia should pay its fair share of climate finance to help our neighbours tackle climate change. The UK, USA, Canada and NZ made bold new commitments. A commitment of $3 billion over five years would be a good start for Australia.”
Pacific civil society organisations will officially launch the demands at 6.30 pm (AEDT) this evening with a webinar and question and answer session including, former President of Kiribati H.E. Anote Tong, Former Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Dame Meg Taylor, former Tuvalu Prime Minister Hon. Bikenibeu Paeniu and Greenpeace Australia Pacific Head of Research and Investigations, Dr Nikola Casule.
The call for an end to support for the fossil fuel industry is one of four key demands of Pacific civil society organisations, which are:
- Climate finance and solidarity for developing countries: Vulnerable nations and developing countries need to receive the promised $100 billion annually until 2025 - and increased political attention given to loss and damage and new climate finance above $750 billion annually beyond 2025.
- At least halve global emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050, with the richest nations, such as Australia, moving significantly faster - backed up by ambitious emissions-cutting plans from world leaders
- A COP decision that calls for a phase-out of fossil fuels (at home and abroad)
- No new oil wells, no new coal power stations, no new coal mines and no new gas projects. And no public support, like subsidies, for existing fossil fuel projects, which should be phased out. Coal - the most carbon-polluting fossil fuel - should be phased out as quickly as possible.
- Climate justice. All UN members support Vanuatu’s bid for an International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on climate change and human rights.