Pacific plea to the world: Act now to reduce global warming

Tagaloa Cooper Photo: RNZ Pacific / Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor

The Pacific Islands need an urgent commitment for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, says the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

A call for action is underway by the secretariat at the UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

The Director of SPREP’s Climate Resilence Program, Tagaloa Cooper, said the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has highlighted the urgency with which the world needs to act.

Cooper, who’s in Glasgow for the UN summit, said it’s critical the Pacific voice is heard at COP26 and “our ambitions to limit emissions are realised as the people of the Pacific’s very existence depends on it.”

“Here in Glasgow, our collective goal as a region is to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees. Anything above that is a matter of life and death for our region.

“Not many of our Pacific negotiators are able to be here. We’ve decided to amplify our voices, which cannot be lost because there are not many of them here. So we’ve partnered with New Zealand who have invested in two large campaigns – Mana Moana and Flex For 1.5 – that have been driven by the Pacific.”

Mana Moana – Pacific Voices is a collection of artistic short films, created in collaboration with Pacific poets, on behalf of Pacific nations for use at COP26.

SPREP is an intergovernmental organisation charged with protecting and improving the environment for the Pacific Islands.

During COP26, SPREP wants to amplify the voice of the Pacific, grab the attention of world leaders and get them to commit to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, says Cooper.

She told RNZ Pacific SPREP is seeking wide support to join the #Flexfor1pt5 movement launched last week on social media.

Photo: United Nations

“COP26 is a crucial moment in world history for those in power to commit to the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold and avoid the point of no return.

“At the current warming level of 1.2 degrees the Pacific is already suffering. Our seas are rising, our oceans are warming and extreme events are more frequent and severe.

“With this current trajectory, we are on track for a climate catastrophe. Our future is at stake and now is the time to act, to save the Pacific.”

Cooper said inaction is especially challenging for the Pacific, represented by SPREP, when you factor in their contribution to global carbon emissions – a negligible 0.03 percent.

To support the call for change and to get the attention of world leaders, SPREP is encouraging people to #Flexfor1pt5 and share their “flex” by sharing their version of #flexfor1pt5 TikTok dance created by dance crew The Royal Family, based at world-renowned choreographer Parris Goebel’s New Zealand dance studio.

“Helping our Polynesian brothers and sisters seek commitment to address the climate emergency in the Pacific, through this dance challenge, was something we’re very proud to be involved with,” said Elvis Lopeti from the Royal Family.

“We hope supporters have as much fun joining the movement on TikTok through dance, as we had creating it, and we hope world leaders listen up and do the right thing for the Pacific.”

Source: RNZ