Responding to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement today of a $500m climate change and oceans funding package for the Pacific, Oxfam Australia Climate Change Advisor Dr Simon Bradshaw, in Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum, said:
“Pacific leaders have been emphatic in their requests of Australia: Please move beyond coal, shift to zero climate pollution as soon as possible, and stop undermining our future.
“While greater certainty on Australia’s future funding for climate change adaptation in the region is welcome, it is not a substitute for action at home to tackle the causes of this crisis – the burning of fossil fuels.
“And to be clear – this is not new money but drawn from Australia’s existing and heavily diminished aid budget.
“Yesterday, we heard Pacific leaders express once again their grave fears for their islands’ and their children’s future should Australia and the world fail to listen to the science and to those on the frontlines of this crisis. All nations must play their part in limiting warming to 1.5C. This means no new coal. Here in Tuvalu, it’s a matter of survival.
“Right now, if all nations followed Australia’s lead, we’d be heading for catastrophic 3C or more of global heating, and a world to which it will be impossible for vulnerable communities in the Pacific and beyond to adapt.
“Oxfam works with communities around the world to tackle poverty and inequality, and has seen first hand in the Pacific the devastating impacts of climate change and the leadership in tackling the greatest threat to their future.
“We look forward to hearing more details of the measures that the Prime Minister announced today, including how the Government will ensure it aligns with local priorities and makes its way to those who need it most.
“But we reaffirm that Australia’s failure to tackle the climate crisis, a key driver of inequality and poverty, risks undermining all the gains of recent decades and any short-term benefits such funding may yield.”