Oct 27, 2005

Climate Change – Critical Issue for Pacific

Climate Change – Critical Issue for Pacific

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese MP, and

Bob Sercombe MP

Shadow Minister for Pacific Islands

27 October 2005

If the Prime Minister is serious about the South Pacific’s “pooled responsibility”, he should ratify the Kyoto Protocol and help our neighbours prepare for the impact of climate change.

Climate change threatens the long term security of the Pacific and the very existence of many of our Pacific neighbours.

Sea levels are rising as greenhouse gas emissions warm the oceans. Low-lying Pacific island states such as Kiribati, barely 2m above sea level, could be the first to go under.

Scientists believe climate change could increase temperatures by up to 6 degrees and sea levels by up to 0.88 metres by the turn of the century. This would be coupled with more frequent and more severe cyclones and storms.

When the Prime Minister talked about “pooled responsibility” on Tuesday he must accept Australia’s responsibility to the region to help avoid dangerous climate change. That means ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, cutting Australia’s greenhouse pollution, sharing clean energy technology and helping our neighbours prepare for the impact of climate change.

The Prime Minister must commit to a genuine partnership with our Pacific neighbours.

The Prime Minister should commit to the comprehensive framework for regional cooperation that Labor has advanced in Towards a Pacific Community.

South Pacific nations are particularly vulnerable to global oil price hikes and are dependent on high cost fossil fuels for electricity.

Australia can play a key role in assisting South Pacific nations to utilise modern renewable energy and energy efficient technology.