Pacific Elders Group calls for action in Cairo

Pacific Elders Voice members, Anote Tong and Thomas Remengesau Jr

The Pacific Elders Group is calling for urgent action at upcoming climate talks in Egypt “to enable nations to implement the agreed goals and objectives of the Paris Agreement.”

The group is calling for the “urgent decarbonisation of the global economy and financial support to those most affected by the impacts of climate change.”

Specifically the group wants the international community to:

• Commit to the Glasgow statement and stop subsidising fossil fuels, both domestically and internationally, and to fund instead the transition to clean energy in less developed countries. For the Pacific islands, diesel and oil are bad for our people’s health, expensive to import and bad for climate change, which our leaders have identified as the biggest threat to our security and sovereignty. Major financial institutions, including multilateral development banks, must stop underwriting fossil fuels. These subsidies must be redirected to help vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and transition to clean energy. We need finance and proven technology to ensure our nations can survive

• Commit to the global methane pledge, which has now been adopted by 122 countries. 

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates has contributed around 30 percent of global warming to date. 

• Take urgent and rapid action to ensure the global temperature does not exceed 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. The recent UN Environment Programme Gap Report concludes that current climate commitments are ‘awfully inadequate to put the world on a trajectory that limits the temperature increase to well below 2°C and towards 1.5°C’. It shows what small island states know from lived experience: that every fraction of a degree matters.

• Provide new and additional sources of finance and join the agreement for New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG). We need to reform international financial architecture and the current inadequate and unjust system of climate finance.

• Commit to allocate 50 percent of the total share of pre-2025 climate finance for adaptation and significantly increase international financing. Finance is a critical enabler of ambitious climate action. There needs to be at least a doubling of funding in developing countries to enable us to adapt to existing climate impacts and to be more resilient in the face of increasing climate-related disasters. We look particularly to developed countries, who have caused so much climate change in the past, to step up to this commitment.

• Provide finance for loss and damage – a theme of COP27. Pacific Island countries are already suffering significant loss and damage from the impacts of climate change. We welcome the inclusion of Loss & Damage on the COP agenda and look to the international community to meaningfully address this critical issue.

In a statement today, Pacific Elders Voices concludes: “The stark reality is that the world is running out of time. Vulnerable countries like ours in the Pacific and around the world cannot afford to see more delay and greenwashing. We must create a world where human security is paramount. We must achieve inter-generational equity ensuring we leave a better future for our children and our children’s children.”