Two questions for Chris Bowen before he leaves for COP27

SYDNEY, Tuesday 8th November 2022 - Over the weekend, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen announced Australia’s bid to co-host COP31 in 2026 with Pacific nations, and Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy has supported the inclusion of Loss and Damage on the COP27 agenda. 

Greenpeace Australia Pacific has two questions we believe Chris Bowen should answer before he jets off for COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Question 1: One of the most prevailing demands of the Pacific nations Australia is looking to co-host COP26 with is for major emitting countries like Australia and the US to financially compensate for the damage caused by climate change. What are the Albanese Government’s plans for addressing loss and damage finance?

Currently, there is no dedicated fund or funding facility for countries experiencing loss and damage. A Loss and Damage Finance Facility has been championed by countries in the developing world including the Pacific since the 1990s, to ensure the mobilisation and coordination of funds for climate-impacted countries. Australia, along with the US and EU has been a historic blocker of such a facility. At COP26 Australia joined the US and EU in doing so again, instead offering The Glasgow Dialogue, a three-year discussion process without clearly defined milestones or outcomes. 

Question 2: The Vanuatu Government is pursuing an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on the human rights impacts of climate change, which has been offered in-principle support from all members of the Pacific Island Forum, including Australia. Considering that co-hosting a COP requires unprecedented levels of alignment, will Australia vote yes on the advisory opinion?

The International Court of Justice can issue advisory opinions which inform the development of international law. In this case, force governments to consider the human rights impacts of climate policy, which would help compel more ambitious action under the Paris Agreement.

The campaign for an ICJAO has generated global support. It stands on the precipice of a historic vote at the UN General Assembly, where it must secure a majority of votes to be referred to the ICJ.

Ahead of COP27, Germany, New Zealand, Vietnam and several other nations have stepped up as high-level country champions, and advocating for a yes vote at the UNGA. Australia has offered in-principle support as part of the Pacific Islands Forum, but has yet to commit to voting yes.

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