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Aspirations Fall Short, Urgent Action Needed to Avert Climate Catastrophe

[Rarotonga, 9 November 2023] In response to the initial outcomes announced by Pacific Leaders at the press conference held on Aitutaki Island following the Leader’s Retreat, Lavatenalagi Seru, Regional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) says:

“The Leader’s decision to welcome the aspiration for a just and equitable transition to a fossil fuel-free Pacific, and the commitment made to transition away from coal, oil, and gas in our energy systems with a peak of fossil fuel consumption in the near term in line with the 1.5°C limit, and without abatement loopholes is welcomed, but falls short of the ambition required to save our islands, peoples and communities from the unprecedented climate impacts. Pacific leaders have missed an opportunity to demonstrate genuine commitment instead, opting for an ‘aspirational’ rhetoric.

“Furthermore, Australia’s newly signed pact with Tuvalu is a mere band-aid solution that in no way adequately addresses the fossil-fuelled climate crisis. Australia must understand that the only real solution to stop the destruction of Pacific homes is to stop the expansion of its fossil fuel industry, end all fossil fuel subsidies, and support the climate frontline countries and communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“As we now look ahead to the UN climate talks in Dubai, we urge governments around the world to follow the leadership of the six Pacific nations who adopted the Port Vila Call for a Just Transition towards a Fossil Fuel-Free Pacific, and agree to a rapid and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels; and for industrialised countries to provide adequate finance to fund the urgently-needed energy transition.

“Avoiding the worsening climate crisis, disasters, and fossil fuel and climate-related illnesses and deaths requires countries to agree to end fossil fuel expansion and build a just and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels. The alternative is climate failure and a chaotic, expensive transition with stranded assets.

“We look forward to reading the final Leaders’ Communique.”

— ENDS —

Notes for media:

  1. PICAN recently responded to comments from New Zealand’s National Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee, indicating a regression in their stance on fossil fuels. A possible indication of the approach the incoming New Zealand government may adopt.

About Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN):

PICAN is a regional alliance of non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, social movements and not-for-profit organisations from the Pacific Islands region working on various aspects of climate change, disaster risk and response and sustainable development.

For more information on PICAN, visit our website.

Media Contacts:

Dylan Kava, Communications Officer, Pacific Islands Climate Action Network | +679 9061989 (Fiji / GMT+12)

Nicole Rodel, Oil Change International | +27842570627 (GMT+2)


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