New poll finds Australians want help for Pacific Islanders dealing with climate change

Media Releases article written on the 29 Nov 2010

More than 86 per cent of Australians believe Australia should be doing more to support Pacific Islander communities deal with the impacts of climate change, according to a Galaxy poll released today by Oxfam Australia.

The poll, which coincides with the opening of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, also finds that 93 per cent of Australians support sharing technological expertise in new and renewable technologies like solar and wind energy with developing countries as part of Australia’s efforts to tackle climate change.

The findings come as Oxfam International released a new global report called Now More Than Ever: Climate talks that work for those that need them most, which finds that 2010 was one of the hottest years ever recorded, with Pakistan logging 53.7°C – the highest ever temperature in Asia.

The report identifies that 21,000 people died due to weather related disasters in the first nine months of 2010 – more than twice the number of deaths for the whole of 2009. It also finds that 2010 is on course to experience more extreme-weather events than the ten-year average.

Oxfam Australia Climate Change Advisor Kelly Dent, in Cancun for the conference, said the human impact from extreme weather events in 2010 underlines the need for greater urgency at the United Nations to create a fair Climate Fund so that money can get to those who need it most.

“At last year’s Copenhagen conference, world leaders committed to trying to find US$100 billion a year by 2020 from public and private sources in order to help developing countries adapt to climate change and develop along low carbon pathways – yet there are still no details of this fund on the table.

“How governments will source this fund, how the money will be spent, and who will manage and disperse it needs to be finalised this week in Mexico otherwise poor people will be forced to wait another year for the support they desperately need now,” Ms Dent said.

The Now More than Ever report finds serious impacts of climate change in the Pacific, with a focus on Tuvalu where there was a five – six mm annual sea level rise recorded and the highest point on the islands is less than four metres above the ground.

Ms Dent said the United Nations is the only forum where the world can decide on an effective global response to climate change as all countries, especially those experiencing climate change the most, can participate in decisions that will affect their future.

“Pacific Islanders are resourceful and resilient yet they, and millions of others in the developing world, cannot afford global action on climate change to be delayed any longer,” Ms Dent said.

Kelly Dent is following the United Nations Conference in Cancun and available for interview.

For a copy of the report Now More than Ever click here. For interviews or more information, please contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Sunita Bose on +61 407 555 960.