Oct 24, 2006

Howard’s climate scepticism undermines Australia at Pacific Forum

Howard’s climate scepticism undermines Australia at Pacific Forum

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Anthony Albanese MP

Shadow Minister for Environment, Heritage and Water; and

Bob Sercombe

Shadow Minister for Overseas Aid and Pacific Island Affairs

24 October 2006

Climate change is a very significant issue for every Pacific Island nation.

Rising sea levels mean the Pacific already has climate change refugees as the Carteret Islands in PNG go under water and Tuvalu is expected to be uninhabitable over coming years.

Climate change causes flooding and shortages of fresh food and water for Pacific Islands, and raises significant security issues for affected countries.

John Howard’s scepticism over climate change is undermining Australia’s authority at the South Pacific Forum.

Pacific Island leaders have joined the chorus of voices urging the Howard Government to get serious about climate change.

Yesterday, the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, sounded a clear warning:

“If we are talking about island states sinking in 10 years time, we simply have to find somewhere to go. If we become refugees, then so be it. I think the international community has to get used to it.”

Australia should be showing leadership on climate change to help our Pacific neighbours and protect future generations from dangerous climate change.

Labor’s Pacific Climate Change Strategy, announced on 5 January 2006, proposes:

· The establishment of a Pacific Climate Change Centre;

· Assistance to Pacific Islands for adaptation efforts;

· An international coalition to accept climate change refugees;

· Training to assist those evacuated to adapt to new countries;

· Measures to preserve cultural heritage; and

· A Pacific Climate Change Alliance to add greater momentum to regional and global efforts to deal with climate change.

Labor’s Climate Change Blueprint from March 2006 and our Pacific Climate Strategy show Labor is very serious about taking action to avoid dangerous climate change.