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Pacific NGOs to Australia – Show us the money

Villagers clean up their destroyed homes on Tanna Island, Vanuatu, March 19. Catholic Relief Services is coordinating closely with Caritas Australia and Caritas New Zealand in their emergency response in the South Pacific. Source: (CNS photo/Dave Hunt, EPA)

Australia has been warned it needs to make a better financial contribution this decade than the last to protect the Pacific against climate change.

A commissioned report from Climate Action Network Australia has found that wealthy governments have fallen short towards meeting their $US100 billion commitment by 2020 and current pledges for 2025 will leave the poorest nations around $US75 billion out of pocket.

“This finance shortfall is unfairly pushing the costs of the climate crisis on to those least responsible for it,” The Fairer Futures: Financing Global Climate Solutions report said.

The document was created in collaboration with authors from Oxfam Australia, ActionAid Australia, Climate Council, The Australia Institute, the Edmund Rice Centre and Greenpeace.

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The agenda of the Australian not-for-profit organisations is to drive collective action while seeking major policy and practice changes to improve the lives of people experiencing climate change.

“Across the Pacific, where communities face the existential threat of rising sea levels, leaders have described climate change as ‘the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific’,” the report said.

But their biggest frustration in the October report was with Australia’s dismissive fiscal approach towards saving their small island neighbours.

“Australia has had important periods of climate finance leadership over the past decade, but it is currently not contributing its fair share towards global climate solutions,” the report said.

“Australia has the responsibility and capability to expand climate finance commitments and ensure that low-income countries, including our Pacific Island neighbours, can adapt to worsening climate impacts.”

Based on Australia’s wealth and considering its own greenhouse gas emissions, its government’s fair share is estimated at 2.5 per cent of global climate action.

Australia can achieve this fair share by “immediately” doubling its climate finance commitments to $US2.25 billion ($A3 billion) until 2025.

Recommendations in the report includes recommitting between $US525 million and $US675 million ($A700 and $A900 million) to the Green Climate Fund by 2023, and progressively boosting its “fair share” annually before reaching $US9 billion ($A12 billion) by 2030.

“Australia’s domestic and international response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates our willingness and capacity to mobilise resources in times of great need,” the report said.

“Providing its fair share will ensure that Australia and low-income countries across the world can implement the Paris Agreement and limit global warming to 1.5° Celsius.”

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