Australia ignoring warning signs of climate change, say former Pacific leaders

The statement was released by the group Pacific Elders’ Voice, and said climate change, not military tension, is the main threat to the security of Pacific island nations.

“The growing military tension in the Pacific region created by both China and the United States and its allies, including Australia, does little to address the real threat to the region caused by climate change,” the statement said.

“These nations have done very little to address their own greenhouse gas emissions, despite nations’ declarations of intent.”
The leaders said adequate financing of loss and damage caused by climate change should be addressed by Australia, China and the United States in their engagement with the Pacific.

They also expressed concern that major powers are developing strategies and policies for the region with little consultation with Pacific island countries.

“The security and future of the Pacific must be determined primarily by Pacific island nations and not by outside powers competing for strategic interests in our region,” the statement said.

Former Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga told SBS News that climate change continues to be the most serious existential threat to Pacific security.

“While we appreciate and acknowledge the potential threats in terms of military concerns, we would like to emphasize that we cannot ignore or refocus our attention on the seriousness of climate change and its effects on the lives of people in the Pacific,” a- he declared. .

Mr. Sopoaga called on the Australian government to put climate change at the forefront of Pacific region security policies and engage in discussions with regional leaders.

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“It is regrettable that the Morrison government has continued to ignore calls from Pacific island countries for immediate and urgent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, especially from coal mining,” he said.

“We have called for the seriousness of climate change and its effects on us and Australia as well, and nothing concrete has happened to show that the Morrison government is serious about it. It’s unfortunate.”

The statement from the group Pacific Elders’ Voice came after Australian defense and security leaders called on Australian political leaders to put climate and security concerns at the center of Pacific policy in order to regain trust in the region.

Former Australian Defense Force chief Chris Barrie said Australian political leaders must now focus immediately on the security threats posed by climate change in the Pacific.

Former Australian Defense Force Chief Chris Barrie wearing a suit and standing outdoors against a gloomy sky

Former Australian Defense Force chief Admiral Chris Barrie (retired) says Australia must put climate and security concerns at center of Pacific policy Source: Provided / Australian security leader Climate Group / Rohan Thomson

“For days our national debate has been plagued by concerns about China’s growing influence in the Pacific, but now we’ve heard directly from former Pacific presidents that climate change is their top security concern.” , said Admiral Barrie.

“In response, our political leaders must immediately turn their attention away from blustering fearmongering and focus on the greatest security threat we all face, namely climate change, if we are to restore our relationship with our neighbors. the closest.

Teresa H. Sadler