Australia’s Ambassador for Climate Distraction is Back

Published: Tue 22 Aug 2017 11:16 AM
Australia’s Ambassador for Climate Distraction is back
By Greenpeace Head of Pacific, Matisse Walkden-Brown
Patrick Suckling, Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment, is touring the Pacific Islands again, shamelessly spreading misleading messages on Australia’s climate action and solidarity with our vulnerable states.
Last Tuesday Suckling boasted to Radio Kiribati News that “Australia’s stance on climate is very strong ... We have one of the most ambitious targets in the G20”.
This claim directly contradicts a study completed by policy watchdog Climate Transparency, who only last year rated Australia as “the worst country among the G20 when it comes to action on climate change” [1]
Continuing in Australia’s practised art of climate distraction, last Wednesday, in an exclusive interview with SIBC, Suckling called for “more Pacific consciousness in the global fight against climate change” and placed the onus on Pacific Islanders to “ work collaboratively in highlighting the challenges the face to the global community.” [2]
The seasoned diplomatic neglected to discuss what ‘pacific climate consciousness’ would mean in actionable terms for his own nation - the world’s largest and expanding coal exporter. [3]
In attempts to prove solidarity with the Pacific in the battle for climate safety, Ambassador Suckling is relying heavily on vague reports of increased climate finance to the region. Once again, this spin is directly at odds with recent research.
A research paper titled “Palm Trees and Palm Offs” presented by Economist Rod Campbell from The Australia Institute, at the Climate Action Pacific Partnerships (CAPP) meeting in early July, proved that Australia’s climate aid contributions to the region, a mere $75 million annually, is dwarfed by the tax breaks worth over $1 billion received by its domestic coal industry each year. [4]
If Australia is to be truthful in its interactions with the Pacific Islands and other vulnerable states, it must first acknowledge its overwhelming and growing contribution to the problem. Australia is addicted to fossil fuels with their domestic emissions more than 30 times that of all Pacific nations combined (including the large population of Papua New Guinea). [5]
The average Australian emits more than 12 times the carbon of an average Pacific Islander. Even more importantly, Australia currently produces nearly twice as much carbon dioxide emissions through the coal it exports, than it emits domestically.
These export emissions are set to double if the government gets its way and allows mining in the Galilee basin, most notably through Adani’s Carmichael megamine. A mine which alone will produce three times as much carbon annually as all of the Pacific nations combined. [4]
If Australia continues on its path towards becoming the largest exporter of climate change in the world, these Pacific tours to dress up facts and shuffle numbers, will fast become glaringly disrespectful.
To the Australian Government, the message from Pacific Climate activists is simple – repeating the same old lies doesn’t make them true. Please don’t treat us like we don’t have the internet and can’t read the news.
We know who is really taking action on climate change and who is not.
You’re not fooling anybody.
Greenpeace exists because this fragile earth deserves a voice.
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace.
Contact Greenpeace New Zealand

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