Opinion: We should all be concerned about our leader’s commitment to Climate Change

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Scott Morrison at the Pacific Islands Forum (source AAP)

It’s about time our leaders were called out for their lack of commitment to climate change.

Last week, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison handed the Pacific Nations a $500 million package to help them invest in renewable energy and become more resilient to climate and weather events, but refused to sign the declaration acknowledging that Australia’s emissions might be contributing to said events.

Leaders from the Pacific, China and Australia gathered last week on the small island of Tuvalu, for the Pacific Islands forum.

Surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, with its highest point standing at just four metres above sea level, Tuvalu’s leaders are desperately scrambling to stop the ticking time bomb that is climate change.

Aerial image of Tuvalu (source: Getty Images)

Prior to the forum the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) group agreed to the Tuvalu Declaration, acknowledging climate change and calling on countries to take urgent action and revise their emission targets.

Last week was a chance for the Pacific to put the declaration to Australian and New Zealand leaders, in the hope they endorsed it. 

However Morrison decided not to sign the Tuvalu declaration, instead expressing reservations about emissions reduction, coal use and the Green Climate Fund.

Morrison told The Sydney Morning Herald that he understood sensitivities in the Pacific region but ultimately he was “accountable to the Australian people”.

The problem is that our leaders really aren’t “accountable to to the Australian people”. We have some of the largest global movements of people stepping up and taking action, but it seems that the politicians are simply not listening to us.

Throwing money at Pacific countries might soften the blow, but it is not going to replace the need for real domestic action to mitigate climate change.

“You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia … I am concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu”

By way of his failure to act, Morrison is not accountable to the Australian people, but accountable to a strong minority within the Coalition, media and community that are ferociously opposed to taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

If our Prime Minister was really to be concerned about being accountable to the Australian people he would be investing in the future of not only Australians but our island neighbours who rely on us to take action.

“You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia … I am concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu,” said Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga.

We should all be concerned about our leader’s lack of commitment to climate change and it’s about time they really start being accountable to the Australian people.

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