The WWF offices in Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Aotearoa New Zealand, Fiji, and Australia, know that climate change poses a fundamental threat to the places, species, and communities that we have spent more than 40 years working to protect.
We continue to listen to the Indigenous Peoples and local communities with whom we are privileged to work and we understand that, despite having contributed the least to the problem, these communities, their lands and their waters, are bearing the worst impacts of climate change.
Climate change is not a future problem. It is happening now and we are seeing its effects daily. Pacific Island Countries and Territories are experiencing more frequent and extreme weather events, as ocean warming, and acidification erodes the ecosystems that underpin livelihoods and culture. Just this year, Vanuatu experienced two Category 4 cyclones in less than one week. In Australia, recent bushfires killed or displaced more than three billion animals and decimated lands that have been cultural strongholds of the oldest continuing living culture on earth. In New Zealand, mistakenly imagined by many as a refuge from the worst effects of climate change, a series of climate-related weather events hammered the country through the first half of this year - with Cyclone Gabrielle the second costliest natural disaster in New Zealand history.
The science is clear that fossil fuels are at the root of climate change. We know that Oceania is home to the traditional knowledge, leadership, technical know-how, and resources needed to transition our economies, help the world tackle climate change impacts, and stabilise global warming at 1.5°C. Yet the emissions reductions targets of some countries, especially Australia and New Zealand , are insufficient to help avoid climate catastrophe.
The WWF team stands with leaders of the Blue Pacific in supporting the Port Vila Call for a Just Transition to a Fossil-Fuel Free Pacific and the roadmap it provides to achieve:
- A global, just and equitable phase out of coal, oil, and gas (including through support of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty);
- New Pacific-tailored development pathways based on 100% renewable energy;
- Expanded public and private finance for the just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy at the scale required, with innovative, simplified mechanisms and reforms of existing financial institutions; and
- Redoubled efforts to reaffirm, strengthen and codify legal obligations with respect to the global phase out of fossil fuels.
We urge world leaders to respond to this urgent Call and, along with our many partners and millions of WWF supporters, stand ready to help.
Dr Mark Drew Dr Kayla Kingdon-Bebb Dermot O’Gorman
Director, WWF-Pacific CEO, WWF-New Zealand CEO, WWF-Australia