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Australia’s leading aid agencies issue plea for urgent action to address rapidly escalating global climate crisis

The time for debate about climate change is over, it is now time
for action
14 January 2020

Four of Australia’s leading international aid agencies have joined forces to issue an urgent plea to the Federal Government to act swiftly to address the climate crisis, as fires continue to rage across Australia and millions globally face floods, crippling food shortages and other climate-related events.  

World Vision Australia, Oxfam Australia, Plan International Australia and Save the Children Australia are today calling on leaders to do all within their power to: 

  • Urgently set more ambitious emission reduction targets in line with keeping the global temperature rise to within
    1.5 ̊C, beyond which many countries will face unmanageable suffering and devastation.
  • Demonstrate strong leadership on climate action and transitioning to a low-emissions global economy.
  • Support re-greening and reforestation programs that build community resilience and act as carbon sinks. 
  • Fund a just transition to our zero carbon future, with abundant job opportunities in a clean economy.
  • uild the capacity of vulnerable communities, in Australia and overseas, dealing with the ravages of climate change. 
  • Sign the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action, to acknowledge that children and young people face heightened and specific risks due to climate change.

Our organisations acknowledge that this issue is so pressing, we must advocate in alliance to amplify the voices of the world’s most vulnerable people. The communities most affected by the climate crisis have contributed the least to it. They also have the fewest resources to adapt to a changing climate, including preparing for and bouncing back from disasters. 

Climate change is undoubtedly a human rights issue. It impacts upon the realisation of the right to life, health, an adequate standard of living and non-discrimination. Every day, our aid workers see the very real and devastating impact of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable people. This includes children, who have contributed least to the crisis but are already bearing the brunt of its impacts.

Right now, an enormous food crisis is unfolding across four countries in Southern Africa, putting an estimated 40 million lives at risk. Severe flash flooding in Indonesia has displaced thousands. And half a million people in Mozambique are living in unstable shelters after the second most deadly cyclone on record struck in 2018, killing thousands. 

Now the climate emergency has well and truly arrived at home, too. Australians are suffering through the devastating ongoing fallout from our worst fire season on record, with dozens of lives, thousands of homes and more than a billion creatures lost. Fires continue to rage and millions are breathing in hazardous air across three states. 

Children born today will live on a planet that is significantly more hostile if we fail to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees. We owe it to current and future generations to do everything we can to step up and be leaders of meaningful climate action.

The time for debate about climate change is over, it is now time for action. We cannot afford to waste any more time. 

Expert spokespeople are available for interview. Media please contact Evan Schuurman from Save the Children Australia on 0406 117 937.

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