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Pacific Civil Society Urges Global Leaders to Redouble Commitments to Paris Agreement

Pacific climate activists holding a banner at the climate watch in Vanuatu
Pacific climate activists call on leaders to act for climate justice now

For Immediate Release

Pacific Civil Society Urges Global Leaders to Redouble Commitments as Global Temperature Risks Temporarily Exceeding 1.5C Threshold

26 May 2023, Suva, Fiji — The World Meteorology Organization (WMO) is sounding the alarm that the world is likely to temporarily breach the 1.5C target in at least one of the next five years.

Earlier this week, the WMO report revealed that there is a 66% chance that the annual average near-surface global temperature will temporarily exceed the critical 1.5C with scientists warning of far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management, and the environment.

Pacific civil society urges world leaders to recognize the urgency of the situation and take immediate, concrete steps to combat climate change and redouble their commitments agreed to in the Paris Agreement to limit the long-term average of atmospheric temperatures to 1.5C.

Lavetanalagi Seru, Regional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) says: “The time for rhetoric and incremental measures has passed. We call upon global leaders to commit to a rapid, deep and immediate shift away from fossil fuel production and invest in renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure, and increase support for adaptation measures to protect climate frontline communities. Any further expansion of the fossil fuel infrastructure is a climate bomb that will cause widespread and more pronounced climate impacts for many Pacific frontline communities.”

Recent events, such as the disappointing outcome of the G7 Summit, where G7 leaders failed to address the climate emergency and justified ongoing fossil fuel production, coupled with most of Australia's AUD $2 billion federal budget allocation to the Pacific primarily focused on security projects rather than new major climate initiatives, have further deepened our concerns that there isn’t enough being done.

“Pacific civil society calls upon governments worldwide to recognize the imminent danger and prioritize the preservation of our shared future,” said Seru.

“The window for effective action is closing fast and the next five years are predicted to be the hottest on record. This critical period will offer a glimpse of the severe consequences we will face if governments fail to act urgently and with ambition,” he added.

WMOs forecast, combined with the predicted development of an El Niño weather pattern in the coming months, paints a dire picture of “uncharted territory” for our planet's climate.

Reactions by Pacific civil society:

George Koran, Coordinator for the Vanuatu Climate Action Network says: “The alarming announcement by the World Meteorological Organization sends a clear message: the world is on the precipice of crossing the 1.5C threshold. As Pacific Island advocates, we demand world leaders redouble their commitments and take immediate, ambitious action to combat climate change. The next five years are predicted to be the hottest on record, giving us a glimpse of the future if we fail to act. The 1.5C target remains our lifeline, and we cannot afford to let it slip away.”

Richard Gokrun, Coordinator for Tuvalu Climate Action Network says: “We need an immediate and unwavering commitment from global leaders in the face of this alarming forecast by the World Meteorology Organization. G7 Leaders and the Australian Government missed an opportunity to prioritise our people and planet. The Pacific continues to show that it is serious about delivering a deep, rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels through the Port Vila Call to Action made in March of this year, the rest of the world must follow suit.”

Pelenise Alofa, Coordinator for the Kiribati Climate Action Network says: “The world stands at a precipice as global temperature risks temporarily surpassing the 1.5C threshold. Our shared future hangs in the balance, and we must prioritize the preservation of our planet before it's too late.”

Shiva Gounden, Pacific Advisor for Greenpeace Australia Pacific says: “The recent report by WMO states what we have been dreading in the Pacific. We have shouted, sang and chanted the slogan '1.5 to stay alive', and now with the high likelihood of global temperatures temporarily exceeding that marker, it comes with huge consequences for our people, our communities and our nations. For far too long we have taken a piecemeal approach to addressing the root cause of climate change, but now we truly need to take the most ambitious of actions and stop the burning of fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas.”

Kesaia Vasutoga, Interim Climate Justice Lead for Oxfam in the Pacific says: “The 1.5-degree world is no longer a target, it is a reality where our lives hang in the balance. We stand with Pacific Civil Society in calling for accountability from those whose actions are responsible for tipping that balance. If we continue on this path of laxity and inaction, the next five years could have disastrous impacts on Pacific Island states and territories.”

Reverend James Bhagwan, General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches says: "We reaffirm that climate finance for adaptation, mitigation, loss and damage, and relocation by polluting countries is akin to receiving “30 pieces of silver” for the betrayal of Pacific Islanders who seek, first and foremost, a rapid phase out of fossil fuels. We call on all Pacific Island countries and those who would seek to be our friends to commit to and campaign for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty for a rapid, coordinated, transparent and equitable transition away from fossil fuels, including, in particular, access to renewable energy & low carbon solutions for our region."

About the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN):

PICAN is a regional alliance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations (CSOs), 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.



Images are available for download here.

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