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.