… or I’ll eat my shorts


Dear climate friends,

My role, as your tracker, is to closely follow the Australian delegation, and report back to you what they are saying, doing and championing on our behalf. At key moments in time, I will also ask that you join together with me to put pressure on those very people making decisions about our futures, about the future of our world.

Very important I hear you say, but what’s  this talk about shorts? You’ll have to read to the end to find out…

Yesterday, here in Australia, the senate voted down the Government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. While some say this is a loss for our climate, I say this is an opportunity for our Government to upgrade Australia’s climate change policy, and commit to an emissions reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Now, more than ever before, is the time to raise our concerns loudly to our political representatives and let our government know we want to see Australia be a global climate leader and take the level of action historical responsibility demands.

So, to that end, I have worked with various NGO friends here in Australia to come up with a call to action (see below). Right now we are distributing this ask widely through our e-networks. Can you help us to get this message out even wider?

How to take action


Dear Senator Wong,

I am very concerned that Australia takes a lead in the international negotiations for a new global climate agreement so that we get an effective and equitable response to climate change. I am aware that our Pacific neighbours are already dealing with the impacts of climate change.

I read the blog reports from the Adopt-A-Negotiator project and believe that Australia could be taking much stronger action to help the people of the Pacific. I was disappointed to see that the Call to Action issued at the close of the recent Pacific Islands Forum failed to endorse emission reduction targets consistent with the science of 40% reductions by 2020 in spite of support for ambitious targets from Pacific nations.

Climate change is already having an impact on Pacific people through storm surges, more frequent cyclones, coastal erosion and loss of clean water and agricultural land.

I urge you, especially as Australia is currently Chair of the Pacific Island Forum, to advocate at the UN climate talks for a collective emissions reduction target for developed countries of at least 40% by 2020. Without that scale of commitment, many Pacific communities will face extreme impacts and dislocation.

In addition, I urge your Government to support actions within the UN process for developed nations to fund the needed adaptation and emission reduction costs of developing nations including the pacific Islands. In particular I call on the Government to make an immediate public commitment to contributing Australia’s fair share of the $180 billion dollars that will be needed annually to help fund emissions reductions and climate change adaptation in developing countries.

Finally, I urge you to commit to take whatever action that may be needed to help communities in the Pacific if displaced by the impacts of climate change to relocate, to ease their anxiety about the future of their children, their livelihoods, and their cultural identity.

I look forward to seeing Australia play a more positive leadership role in the UN climate negotiations.


Your name


As if you need  convincing, but maybe your aunt/ colleague/ neighbour/ pet rabbit does…

Australia is looked to as a leader in the Pacific region, but their actions at the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) last week and the United Nations climate talks in Bonn are inadequate to tackle the climate threat facing Pacific nations. In the ‘call to action’ from last weeks Pacific Island Forum in Cairns there was widespread recognition of the need for the Pacific region to stick together. The ‘call to action’ noted a good UN deal was vital in saving Pacific Island countries from even worse climate change impacts.

However, this ambitious rhetoric has not been matched by meaningful action from the Australian Government. Despite these bold and ambitious statements, and despite hearing numerous pleas from people living with the reality of climate dislocation, our leaders failed to take actions to ensure the survival of our low lying Pacific neighbours.

The UN climate change talks being held right now in Bonn are an opportunity for Australia to work to rectify this situation and play an active leadership role in the global talks. These and other UN meetings leading up to Copenhagen in December will determine whether we avoid dangerous climate change. Our delegation to this meeting needs to grasp this opportunity, and you can help.

The issue in (even) more detail

The scientists tell us that the situation is deteriorating more quickly than previously thought. The economists tell us that the cost of action now will be much less than inaction. The Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) is calling on developed countries together to cut their emissions by at least 45% by 2020. Cuts of at least 40% in Australia’s emissions by 2020 need to be made if we are to avoid dangerous climate change and secure the survival of the small island states in the Pacific.

Based on the completed National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPAs) of Pacific nations, McGoldrick estimated that between $365 – $668 million was needed to deal with the most urgent adaptation tasks in the Pacific. This compares to Australia’s current commitment of $150m mostly to Pacific adaptation that came out of the existing aid budget.

Currently Australia is not doing enough to help our pacific neighbours. The evidence presented over the last two weeks is pretty damning:

New Zealand announces emissions targets
Early this week New Zealand announced emissions reduction targets of 10-20% from 1990 levels by 2020. Australia’s lack of leadership on emission targets could be seen when the NZ Prime Minister justified his country’s low target by comparing it to Australia’s.

Tuvalu shows the way
In the lead up to this week’s UN talks, Australia hosted a meeting on the legal architecture of a new global climate deal. Various governments, including Australia, presented their views. The stand-out winner for a future friendly, green and meaningful proposal came from one of the world’s smallest countries – the Pacific Island state of Tuvalu. However Australia failed to support their proposal.

If Australia and New Zealand want to be taken seriously as members of the Pacific community they need start prioritising the interests of our Pacific neighbours in the United Nations negotiations.

If that doesn’t convince your aunt/ colleague/ neighbour/ pet rabbit to take action, I’ll do a Bart Simpson and eat my shorts.