Petition Closed

Ocean warming, acidification and sea level rise, as well as ocean-related extreme weather events, are well documented, as are the negative impacts of this warming on coral reefs, fish migration patterns and local fish stocks.

Changes in ocean dynamics and threats to ocean health are already having profound impacts on many vulnerable communities around the world. Any rise in sea level is ultimately catastrophic for people living on low-lying small islands and atolls.

The world’s best scientists tell us that this is the critical decade for cutting carbon emissions if we are to have any chance of preventing runaway climate change and its devastating consequences.

As one of the highest per capita carbon emitting countries on the planet, fulfilling our global obligations will require the kind of leadership which resists appeals to short-term tax payer interests and which is capable of mobilising all sectors of society in a common goal. It will require comprehensive policies to transform our pollution dependent economy into one based on clean, renewable energy.

Australia also has a special obligation to its island neighbours in the Pacific Ocean. On current estimates, around 800,000 people in the region are already under threat of forced climate-change-related displacement, and several communities have already had to relocate.
Any Party wishing to be the next Australian government must be actively involved in efforts already underway to develop new legal and policy frameworks for the resettlement of people forced to migrate by climate-related factors.

Letter to
Prime Minister of Australia The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Leader of the Opposition The Hon Tony Abbott MHR
and 2 others
Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Bob Carr
Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Senator the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite
The Rising Tide – Leaders Must Act Now

Dear Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, and Ministers and Shadow Minister,

I am deeply concerned about the present and expected impacts of climate change on our Pacific neighbours.

Ocean warming, acidification and sea level rise, as well as ocean-related extreme weather events, are well documented, as are the negative impacts of this warming on coral reefs, fish migration patterns and local fish stocks.

Rich, high per capita emitting countries like Australia have created the bulk of the climate change we are already experiencing. Around the world, vulnerable nations are already being impacted by climate change.

Australia has a special obligation to its island neighbours in the Pacific Ocean. On current estimates, around 800,000 people in the region are already under threat of forced climate-change-related displacement, and several communities have already had to relocate.

Sadly, no amount of adaptation or resilience building will be adequate to deal with the damage already caused by highly industrialised countries like Australia to communities living in small, low-lying islands in the Pacific. With limited land availability, internal migration becomes less and less of an option.

We must act immediately to reduce our contribution to global warming.

We must also be actively involved in efforts already underway to develop new legal and policy frameworks for the resettlement of people forced to migrate by climate-related factors.

For Australia this will mean developing clear, appropriate and generous resettlement options, in consultation with affected communities and their leaders, and expressing public support for such Pacific Island initiatives as the Kiribati government’s ‘migration with dignity’ project.

Please show real leadership and act on our global responsibilities. Stop new coal and gas exports. Transition to renewables. Accept that climate-change-related displacement is real, and plan for it in conjunction with our Pacific neighbours.