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Pacific – Over the weekend, the 350.org Pacific Climate Warriors together with grassroots groups and communities, kicked off a global month of action dubbed “Power Up”, with over 200 actions in over 46 countries calling for a renewable energy revolution and an equitable shift away from fossil fuels. Pacific Climate Warriors held actions in Fiji, Niue, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Aotearoa, Australia and the USA.
Joseph Sikulu, 350.org Pacific Managing Director says, “Power Up” is important to the Pacific Climate Warriors because it’s our next step into building the vision of the world we deserve. It’s about building a community of solutions at all scales, local, national and regional. All across the Pacific, all across the world, people are gathering to power up because we know the time for renewable energy and community-led climate solutions is now.”
In Gomeroi Country, Australia, Pacific Climate Warriors joined traditional land owners, school strikers and local partners in actions outside Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project on Saturday and Whitehaven Tarrawonga coal mine on Sunday. Coal from the Tarrawonga mine is transported to Newcastle coal port, the same port the Pacific Climate Warriors blockaded in 2014.
Gabriel Veigaunavinaka, Pacific Climate Warrior from Fiji says, “I felt overwhelmed looking at how vast the size of a mine is. Looking at these coal mines and reflecting back on our communities, I think of how coal mining and gas production here in Australia is affecting the Gomeroi land custodians and how, back in the Pacific, our people are also facing similar issues because of the existential threats of climate change. This weekend, we met with the custodians of Gomeroi country and shared stories on land – how we are connected to the land and how we can keep that together. How our people share similar customs and a sense of connectedness to the land. Our spiritual connectedness to the land links us to our ancestors, it links us to how we express ourselves, our identity. And we do not want that all lost.”
In April, Gomeroi traditional landowners filed a human rights complaint against 20 large Australian pension funds for investing in Santos Ltd’s Barossa and Narrabri gas projects. The Pacific Climate Warriors have historically called for a global phase out of all fossil fuels, both in public actions and multilateral negotiations. Now, they join thousands around the world in a call for community-centered climate solutions and energy justice for impacted communities.
Karra Kinchela, Gomeroi Traditional Custodian says: “It’s been really important to have the Pacific Climate Warriors come up to Gomeroi country to share culture and life experiences with us and the issues that we face with the climate crisis. It’s important for us to stand in solidarity together because we share the same fight and we must power eachother up if we are to win and have a safe place we can go home to. We have a big fight ahead of us to stop mining in our country, and to save the Pacific islands from catastrophic climate damage.”
This week, Australia and New Zealand will join Pacific governments at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Rarotonga. On the agenda will be a discussion of the Port Vila Call for a Just Transition to a Fossil Fuel Free Pacific which includes a call for a global fossil fuel phase out and Pacific-tailored development pathways to 100% renewable energy. Pacific youth activists recently presented their climate demands to Forum Secretary General Henry Puna, hoping Australia and New Zealand will commit to concrete climate action.
Joseph Sikulu, 350.org Pacific Managing Director says, “We journeyed from the Pacific to Gomeroi country to join with traditional custodians and confront the source of the climate crisis, the frontline of fossil fuel extraction. But Santos gas plants and Whitehaven coal mines are not where the problem starts, the true root of climate catastrophe lies in government offices where these projects are approved and enabled, and in regional discussions where Pacific futures are disregarded. The Australian federal government has approved four new coal mines since May 2022, and have consistently blocked the endorsement of the Port Vila Call for a Fossil Fuel Free Pacific by all Pacific Island Forum members. This week, they join our Pacific governments at the Forum meeting in Rarotonga and their hypocrisy will again be on display. Australia’s ambitious renewable energy goals are meaningless without a commitment to phase out coal, oil and gas. We want a transition to 100% renewable energy, but we want our islands to be around to see it.”
The global “Power Up” month of action will continue through to December 9, carrying demands of a renewable energy revolution into the COP28 climate talks in the United Arab Emirates.
Drue Slatter; [email protected]; +81 8075299441
Pascale Hunt; [email protected]; +62 812-3666-1189