Jacinda Ardern: Australia Must ‘Answer to the Pacific’ on Climate Crisis
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had strong words for Australia as both nations attend the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu this week. The climate crisis is shaping up to be a major issue at the 18-nation forum, as some members want Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to sign a declaration agreeing to a global phase-out of coal, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
However, Australia has been working to water down the forum's declaration, Climate Home News reported Tuesday, fighting language around the term climate "crisis," the 1.5 degree Celsius goal, carbon neutrality, a ban on coal plants and an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Australia's conservative governing Liberal-National coalition, which retained power after elections in May, has historically refused to meaningfully reduce emissions or coal use.
The final arrivals into #PIF2019 with beautiful Tuvaluan welcome for the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Austral… https://t.co/SBpBSFiVi4— Pacific Islands Forum (@Pacific Islands Forum)1565773993.0
"Australia has to answer to the Pacific," Ardern said Wednesday, as The Sydney Morning Herald reported. "That is a matter for them."
Ardern, who arrived at the forum Wednesday, reiterated New Zealand's commitment to climate action. Her Labour government has pledged to phase out fossil fuels by 2035 and reduce emissions to 30 percent of 2005 levels.
"Like our Pacific Island neighbours, we will continue that international call, we will continue to say that New Zealand will do our bit and we have an expectation that everyone else will as well; we have to," Ardern said, as The Guardian reported.
Ardern refused to explicitly call on Australia to abandon coal, or to comment on its reported attempts to soften the final declaration. But her remarks still sparked a vicious attack from radio presenter Alan Jones, The Guardian reported Thursday.
"Here she is preaching on global warming and saying that we've got to do something about climate change," Jones said on radio station 2GB Thursday, as The Guardian reported. "I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat."
Jones' comments were roundly decried by other Pacific island leaders.
"Easy to tell someone to shove a sock down a throat when you're sitting in the comfort of a studio," Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama tweeted. "The people of the Pacific, forced to abandon their homes due to climate change, don't have that luxury."
Easy to tell someone to shove a sock down a throat when you’re sitting in the comfort of a studio. The people of th… https://t.co/jHqrwQh7Ch— Frank Bainimarama (@Frank Bainimarama)1565851056.0
Tuvalu, the island nation hosting the forum, is also threatened by sea level rise. Its Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga joined calls for Australia not to open new coal mines and to phase out existing coal-fired plants in order to meet the goals of the Paris agreement, as The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"That's what I prefer to have in the communique," he told ABC Radio, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
However, the most recent Guardian report on the declaration said that Australia had softened language around climate change in the draft. The final would likely replace the phrase "climate change crisis" with "climate change reality" and the draft to be debated by leaders Thursday will likely call on leaders to "reflect on" a ban on new coal infrastructure and an end to fossil fuel subsidies rather than endorse the measures. The final text is expected Thursday after Pacific leaders meet.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that 18 nations wanted Australia to sign a declaration agreeing to a phase-out of coal. In fact, there were 18 nations total represented at the forum, including Australia, and some of them wanted Australia to sign the declaration. The article has been corrected.
- New Zealand's Bird Biodiversity Loss Since Humans Arrived Would ... ›
- Major Threats to New Zealand's Environment Highlighted in ... ›
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.
Scientists have newly photographed three species of shark that can glow in the dark, according to a study published in Frontiers in Marine Science last month.
- 10 Little-Known Shark Facts - EcoWatch ›
- 4 New Walking Shark Species Discovered - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Incredible Species That Glow in the Dark - EcoWatch ›
FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.
- Which Is Worse for the Planet: Beef or Cars? - EcoWatch ›
- Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record High Despite Lockdowns, UN ... ›
- 1.8 Billion Tons More Greenhouse Gases Will Be Released, Thanks ... ›