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Members statement: Climate action in the Pacific

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
16 November 2021

Last week my colleague Ellen Sandell and I had the honour of meeting with the Pacific Australian Women’s Association to talk about climate action in the Pacific. We were joined by representatives from Fiji, Vanuatu, PNG and Samoa and the Pacific Australian leaders who are working for climate justice. It was not lost on any of us that we were having this important conversation as the COP26 climate negotiations were underway in Glasgow and not long after Tuvalu’s foreign minister, Simon Kofe, delivered his powerful speech knee-deep in the rising ocean and told the world, ‘We are sinking’. For these island nations climate change is not some political football they can afford to toss around like in a game; it is life and death, and it is happening now.

We heard about how the global community needs to support these nations to mitigate and prepare for the impacts of climate change, including plans for human mobility and where climate refugees will go when islands become uninhabitable, and of course we talked about the need for much more prevention. We discussed the realities and the extra struggles that women endure in the face of climate change and every disaster.

While Australia went about sabotaging the climate negotiations in Glasgow, these women appealed to us for help because the world refuses to listen. The so-called leaders at COP26 continued to do the bidding of the fossil fuel industry and in the process completely abandoned future generations and the communities who will be the hardest hit as the world warms. In many ways COP26 was bound to fail given the so-called leaders we sent there to negotiate for the future of our planet. But all hope is not lost, because we have the power to elect better leaders. So let us mobilise, organise and fight for our future. Thank you, Pefi and your team, for your inspiring leadership. We are with you in this fight for survival.

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
16 November 2021
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