New Zealand aid agency Christian World Service is calling on New Zealanders to support a strongly-worded petition from the Pacific that lays out bluntly the effects of climate change on Pacific people.
The Pacific Conference of Churches’ Moana Declaration and petition calls on the world community to take significant action to reduce greenhouse gases and plan for large-scale resettlement of Pacific islanders. The PCC will take its message to next week’s Pacific Islands Forum in Cairns but fears the meeting will be overrun by trade talks.
Peter Enderson, PCC campaigns officer, said it would be a grave injustice if the PIF “flimsily” addressed climate change or not at all. “It will be very unfair if it does only talk trade. And if there’s nothing to trade, that’s the irony. They are putting the cart before the horse if they don’t address issues of climate change.”
The PCC is aiming to take 100,000 signatures to global climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.
Mr Enderson said the call for a 40 percent cut in 1990 carbon emission levels would not be enough. The Alliance of Small Island States was trying to ensure the even more ambitious level of 45 percent, based on science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“But we lament the fact that even if by 2020, you manage to achieve that ambitious 45 percent reduction, the islands will continue to sink.”
The declaration asked for plans to resettle people in a just manner. They would be a ‘received people’ without a state, in the same way as Palestinian refugees.
Christian World Service says climate change is not just an economic issue but one of human dignity. It is this week asking all the New Zealand protestant churches to support the Pacific peoples and their plea for urgent action.
CWS national director Pauline McKay says wealthy nations including New Zealand benefit most from burning fossil fuels. Climate change was one of the world’s most urgent problems and making poverty worse. CWS believed John Key and Kevin Rudd had a responsibility to pick up this regional concern.
“Climate change affects us all but negotiating an agreement that only suits rich countries won’t be fair and won’t halt harmful greenhouse emissions. All of us who care about the world’s poor must work to pressure the government to push for the 40 percent reduction at Copenhagen.”
Ms McKay said the Government’s proposal for a 15 percent cut was inadequate and short-sighted.
July 28, 2009
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