10 July 2019
The Pacific Islands moral justification in demanding climate justice.
During the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting, which was held in Suva, Fiji, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, announced that he would host a climate action summit this September in New York.
He said the summit would be an opportunity for countries to scale-up their pledges, adding, “so that we can stop the increase in emissions by 2020, and dramatically reduce emissions to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century. I want the summit to demonstrate the benefits of climate action and how everyone can benefit.”
“We are committed to highlighting the Pacific region’s concerns, along with other small island States, including in adaptation, resilience, finance and early warning.
“The summit will showcase initiatives in key sectors such as energy, mobility, agriculture and oceans. It will underscore the need to end subsidies for fossil fuels and shift towards renewable energy, electric vehicles and climate-smart practices.”
Pacific Islands have unique moral authority to speak out on climate change, because climate change has urgency for the Pacific islands not matched by many other parts of the world.
The nations and territories of the Pacific Islands contribute the least to global warming, but are already suffering massively from its effects.
When the climate action summit takes place I very much hope that much more attention will be focused on the large and powerful corporations known to be major culprits of carbon emissions.
My concern in this regard is backed-up in an article written by Cameron Joshi and published in the ‘Peppermint in Press’ publication.
Mr. Joshi wrote, and I quote:
“We’re not just talking about the fossil fuel industry – the most profitable in history – but the large and powerful corporations extracting the earth’s natural resources. Their vast extractive projects are responsible for 50 per cent of carbon emissions and an overwhelming 80 per cent of biodiversity loss.”
Mr. Joshi’s article went on to add, quote:
“The ice caps are melting, temperatures are rising and wildlife is being eradicated at an alarming pace. Ever larger swathes of the earth are desertified and ever larger areas of biodiversity turned into wasteland.
“Vertebrate wild animal populations have declined by an average of 60 per cent in 40 years, according to the WWF’s Living Planet Index, and the number of climate-related natural disasters requiring UN World Food Programme intervention has quadrupled over the same period.
“Yet we show no signs of stopping. Still we burn more fossil fuels, extract more minerals and metals, cut down more forest and farm more intensively than at any time in history.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we have barely a decade to cut our emissions and reverse these trends to avert the risk of runaway climate breakdown. This is serious – and urgent.”
Climate justice requires that the world starts to listen to the people of the Pacific who are suffering the terrible impact of climate breakdown, and I would urge the Solomon Islands government to lead the fight for climate justice at every forum and at every opportunity.