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Under current policies, the world is projected to heat by a median estimate of 2.9 degrees by 2100, with a possible range of 2.1 to 3.9 degrees Celsius, according to a new report by Greenpeace Australia Pacific.
Pacific nations are already facing severe harm from climate change at the current 1.1 degrees of warming and many could face obliteration unless there is an immediate and steep reduction in emissions, the Te Mana o Te Moana: State of the Climate in the Pacific 2020 report states.
Greenpeace Head of Pacific, Joseph Moeono-Kolio said there was still a small but closing window of opportunity for countries to sharply reduce their emissions and help safeguard the future of the Pacific.
“Our research has clearly laid out which nations have caused the climate problem, what needs to be done, what have nations pledged to do about it, and crucially, what is actually happening,” he said.
“Contributing just 0.14 per cent of annual global emissions - compared to 73.51 per cent for the top 15 emitters - Pacific states are among the nations least responsible for the climate crisis, yet are already the most impacted. This injustice must be addressed by the world’s biggest carbon emitters increasing their efforts to fix the problem they have created for the rest of the world.
“Our people are doing all we can to protect our island homes and the cultures we are intrinsically tied to but even so, this issue requires a recognition of the scale of the challenge we are faced with and concerted action at the global level right now.”
The report found that the 15 highest emitting nations together produce more than 73 per cent of annual global emissions and none of them has pledged reductions that are consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree heating limit.
However, even if all current national pledges to reduce emissions are achieved, the world is still projected to heat by a median estimate of 2.7 degrees by 2100 with a possible range of 2.2 to 3.4 degrees celsius.
“Even under a best-case scenario, large sections of the Pacific are under serious threat,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Head of Research and Investigations, Dr Nikola Casule said.
“But we should take solace from the fact that the Pacific story is one of resilience amid crisis. Solutions are being found in both age-old traditions and modern technology, and give cause for hope if we act in time. The Pacific is also employing an all-of-region approach, with civil society, youth and governments working together.
“The world must heed the unambiguous call of Pacific leaders and urgently enact plans to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees. As the world’s largest coal exporter and a significant power in the Pacific, Australia has a special obligation to do its part,” Dr Nikola said.
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