Australia

Aid groups call for stronger government action on 'climate emergency'

A recent climate change march in Sydney. Source: City of Sydney

World Vision Australia, Oxfam Australia, Plan International Australia and Save the Children Australia have demanded stronger federal climate change action.

Four of Australia's leading international aid organisations have urged the Morrison government to take major climate change action amid the country's bushfire crisis.

World Vision Australia, Oxfam Australia, Plan International Australia and Save the Children Australia have joined forces to issue a plea for stronger climate measures.

The group wants more ambitious emission reduction targets to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C, warning many countries will face unmanageable suffering and devastation if more isn't done.

"The time for debate about climate change is over, it is now time for action. We cannot afford to waste any more time," it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Farmer assesses drought stricken land
A farmer assesses the drought stricken land.
AAP

The aid organisations also want Australia to:

  • Demonstrate strong leadership on climate action and transition to a low-emissions global economy
  • Support reforestation programs to build community resilience and act as carbon sinks
  • Fund a just transition to a zero carbon future, creating abundant job opportunities in a clean economy
  • Build the capacity of vulnerable communities in Australia and overseas to deal with the ravages of climate change

The four charities have called for the coalition government to sign the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.

"Our organisations acknowledge that this issue is so pressing, we must advocate in alliance to amplify the voices of the world's most vulnerable people," the joint statement says.

The Australian arms of World Vision, Oxfam, Plan and Save the Children describe climate change as a human rights issue impacting on health and an adequate standard of living.

"Every day, our aid workers see the very real and devastating impact of climate change on the world's most vulnerable people."

The group pointed to a food crisis in southern African, severe floods in Indonesia and a 2018 deadly cyclone in Mozambique.

"Now the climate emergency has well and truly arrived at home, too," the aid alliance says.

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"Australians are suffering through the devastating ongoing fallout from our worst fire season on record, with dozens of lives, thousands of homes and more than a billion creatures lost.

"Fires continue to rage and millions are breathing in hazardous air across three states."

Climate action has been brought into sharp focus by Australia's deadly bushfires with the issue sparking tensions within the coalition.

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