Oxfam is backing calls from Pacific leaders for the New Zealand and Australian governments to endorse the Port Vila Call for a Just Transition to a Fossil Fuel Free Pacific, a top agenda item at this week’s Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting.
“Fossil fuels are on their way out globally – the fight now is between hope for the future and a short-term gamble on continuing our destructive past for a bit longer”, says Oxfam Aotearoa Climate Justice Lead Nick Henry.
“Pacific Ministers from six nations showed historic leadership in March by calling for an end to fossil fuels, starting right here in our region. These leaders have come out on the side of hope.”
Henry says that we need our new Government to now do the same, and endorse the Port Vila Call in a Leaders Declaration at the Pacific Islands Forum:
“Christopher Luxon has said that you can’t be a climate denier or a climate minimalist in 2023. He has promised his Government will meet all of New Zealand’s climate commitments. As his Government’s debut on the global stage, this is a chance for him to put these words into action and show that he will be a climate leader.
“But while Pacific Island leaders have been calling for a transition from fossil fuels, Australia has approved four new coal mines. And on the campaign trail, the leaders of our own incoming Government talked about reopening offshore oil and gas exploration.
“In Aotearoa and across the Pacific our people deserve and need a fast and just transition, where a managed decline of fossil fuel production is matched with the creation of good jobs in renewable energy, clean industries and social services.
“Pacific communities have been bearing the brunt of climate impacts for years already, and we’re now seeing devastating impacts ourselves in Aotearoa. Around the world, we are calling for rich countries to stop polluting, and start paying. In addition to a managed decline, New Zealand must continue to support communities facing climate impacts in the Pacific and globally to adapt, transition and bear the costs of unavoidable loss and damage from climate change,” Henry said.
“The Port Vila Call says Pacific leaders ‘have the power and responsibility to lead, and we will’. Our question for Christopher Luxon is whether he’ll be among them.”
Oxfam in the Pacific Executive Director Eunice Wotene agreed, saying New Zealand could do more to support the Pacific in a Just Transition:
“As the Pacific experiences of climate-induced loss and damage become even more acute, we know that now more than ever we need Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia to halt the expansion of their fossil fuel industries, to stop subsidising those industries and to support safer and more sustainable alternatives.
“Already, a number of our Pacific leaders have endorsed the Port Vila call for a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels. What we need now is for Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia to not undermine that call, but to join – in the spirit of true Pacific partnership, their fellow regional leaders in committing to a climate-just future for all.”
Notes for editors
• In March, Ministers from six Pacific states issued the call for a global, just and equitable phase out of coal, oil and gas, asking fellow Pacific leaders to show their support in a Leaders Declaration at the Pacific Island Forum.
• The call demands an end to the development and expansion of fossil fuel extracting industries, including halting all new licensing rounds for oil and gas, and setting a Paris-aligned end date for production.
• The call also asks countries to join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance. New Zealand is currently an associate member of BOGA in recognition of the 2018 ban on offshore oil and gas exploration.
• The full text of the Port Vila Call is here: https://pina.com.fj/2023/03/17/port-vila-call-for-a-just-transition-to-a-fossil-fuel-free-pacific
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