Australia braces for likelihood of climate refugees, backs UN justice

The issue is particularly sensitive in Pacific island countries, which face rapid coastal erosion and the highest economic costs of climate change, but which contribute a fraction of global greenhouse gases. Australia has one of the highest per capita carbon emissions in the world due to its intensive mining and agricultural industries.

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Dr Tess Newton Cain, a Pacific expert at Griffith University, said Conroy’s willingness to collaborate in crafting the claim in court suggested “there was a little hesitation that Vanuatu had full ownership of it. “.

“There were concerns that Australia was looking to water down the language,” Newton Cain said.

“Everyone is taking note of the change in content and tone of Australia under the Labor Party. But it is expected that there will be more in terms of participation and alignment with Pacific priorities.

Conroy said Australia should be ready to help refugees who are forced to move in and out of Pacific countries due to climate change.

“It’s a real challenge, and it’s a challenge we’re working hard on, first, to avoid climate change where we can through our commitment to international action,” he said. declared.

“One of the aspects of climate change that we’re going to have to deal with is islands disappearing, and how we deal with human movement around that is a critical issue going forward. New Zealand has reviewed specific visas. This is a question that I think will come up in future Pacific Island Forums.

Newton Cain said the prospect of islanders being driven from their homes by climate change was a very sensitive issue in the region.

“The idea of ​​people leaving their lands and the remains of their ancestors and detaching themselves is a very big problem for communities in the Pacific, and it is a problem that is viewed with enormous trepidation,” he said. she stated. “There’s more to it than just telling everyone to get on the boat, we’re going to take you somewhere where you won’t be overwhelmed by the sea.”

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will arrive at the forum on Wednesday, two days after Kiribati’s withdrawal. Kiribati President Taneti Maamau accused the forum of failing to adequately address the concerns of Micronesian countries. The forum has also angered the Pacific nation by choosing to hold the regional dialogue on Kiribati’s national day.

Kiribati is seen as a potential partner for China in the region after Beijing tried to circumvent the Pacific Islands Forum to secure a region-wide security deal in May. Kiribati has argued that a Chinese state-backed proposal for an airstrip on one of its islands midway between America and Asia would be strictly for civilian use.

Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo has called on Pacific island leaders to stand together amid growing geopolitical competition in the region.

“Consensus has always been the format of how we do things together,” he said. “The harmony and peace of our region are of vital importance. Our national interests must come first. We do not want our region to be collateral damage again.

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Elna M. Lemons