Greens call for recognition of climate refugees welcomed

Friday 6 August, 2010

Friends of the Earth Australia

MEDIA RELEASE

Greens call for recognition of climate refugees welcomed

National environmental organisation Friends of the Earth (FoEA) has
welcomed the call from Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young for Australia
to create a new visa category for Pacific Islanders affected by climate
change.

“We strongly support Ms Hanson-Young's call for Australia to do more on
this issue” said national liaison officer for FoEA Cam Walker.

“As a major per capita greenhouse gas emitter there can be no doubt that
Australia owes a 'carbon debt' to the developing nations of the planet.
We must quantify this debt and negotiate ways to settle our bill for the
disruption our lifestyles are causing to the planet.

“We owe it to poorer countries to transform our pollution dependent
economy by converting to renewable energy, greatly ramp up our support
to help affected communities adapt to the changes that will come with
global warming, and recognise and accept at least some climate refugees.

“After many years of mean spirited behaviour by the Howard government in
international climate negotiations, Australians had hoped the ALP would
act with honour in the Copenhagen climate negotiations. However, the
paltry 5% target that we offered locks many island nations into rising
sea levels for decades to come.

“Accepting climate refugees must be a central part of a meaningful
response to climate change.

“We acknowledge the leadership of Senator Hanson-Young on this issue and
urge the major parties to consider this significant proposal”.

For interview contact:

Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth campaign coordinator 0419 338 047

Media assistance: Louise Matthiesson 0417 017 844