March 1, 2021, PIF HQ, Suva— The Pacific is deeply concerned with the findings of the Initial NDC Synthesis Report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, confirming that current levels of climate action are not enough to put the world on a 1.5°C pathway by the end of this century.
Pacific Islands Forum Chair and Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Honourable Kausea Natano says citizens everywhere “should be alarmed by the growing gap between words and action when it comes to honouring the Paris Agreement. In 2015, most of the world agreed to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This is a legally binding target based on science. It is frustrating to read the latest updates showing our national actions towards 1.5°C are clearly inadequate to prevent the warming of our Blue planet beyond a point of no return.”
He says this has resulted from indifference and inaction by the world’s biggest polluting countries towards their moral obligation in ensuring Small Island Developing States and other countries facing the brunt of climate change, are able to have a future.
“Ocean acidification and the rate of sea level rise is a harsh reality that is threatening the livelihoods and food security of our Pacific communities by causing irreparable damage to our marine ecosystems and bio-diversity.”
“The report demonstrates a shocking dereliction of duty by the world’s largest emitters of green-house gases for which all world leaders must hold themselves accountable. It is unacceptable that Parties are not keeping their promises and not honouring their commitments in the Paris Agreement. We must have the moral courage to influence positive behavioural change and garner the political will to initiate more ambitious climate action,” said Honourable Natano.
“Forum Leaders issued their strongest ever statement on urgent climate change action now in the Kainaki II Declaration. These calls to action remain relevant today and must be realised at COP 26 in November 2021.”
“As we approach COP 26, I call on all countries – particularly the major emitters that have not yet done so – to submit their revised enhanced NDCs this year, so this information can be included in the updated report expected prior to COP 26”.
Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor, who also serves as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Action said, “This report raises a red flag to vulnerable Small Island Developing States and is a wake-up call for the rest of the world to reflect and change course before it is too late. It reaffirms the need for urgent ambitious climate action now to address the severity of the climate change emergency facing our Blue Pacific Continent, and for the international community not to be bystanders as the climate crisis deteriorates.”
“At the current level of 1.2°C, our seas are already rising, our oceans are warming, and the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events are inflicting unprecedented damage and destruction on our population, public infrastructure, ecosystems and economies. This is further exacerbated by the impacts of COVID-19. The shared prosperity and security of our Blue Pacific can only safely exist if the international community limits global warming to 1.5°C”, added Secretary General Taylor.
Secretary General Taylor urges countries not to use COVID-19 as a reason to delay climate action and the submission of their revised NDC targets. In congratulating Parties that have submitted their revised NDCs, she states that now, “is not the time to be complacent but rather a moment for decisive action. The Pacific region is hopeful that with the United States re-joining the Paris Agreement, other major emitters will come forward with more ambitious plans.”—ENDS.
Public Affairs Adviser