2 September 2022
The Canberra Times published an article by one of our members today entitled: "Australia's export job opportunities are in the global green economy". In this article, Janaline Oh describes the huge competitive advantage Australia has in energy intensive manufacturing for export, due to our abundant, cheap renewable energy. Janaline noted that high labour costs, high energy costs and high transport costs have historically focused Australia's trade strategy on exporting large quantities of raw material. She argued that while Australia's labour costs remain relatively high, our workers are also highly productive and Australia's future no longer involves high energy costs: it can produce abundant and cheap renewable energy. She urged the government to accelerate the energy transition, and turn Australia into a clean energy export manufacturing powerhouse.
27 June 2022
Diplomats for Climate Action Now member Peter Hooton (former High Commissioner to Solomon Islands) published an article in the Lowy Interpreter titled: "Pacific labour mobility and the existential threat of climate change". In this article Peter writes that "the new Australian Labor government’s commitment to listen more closely to its island neighbours is welcome, as are its Pacific labour mobility initiatives". He argues that in addition to the Pacific Engagement Visa (capped at 3,000 visas annually) Australia should consider offering a new climate change quota beyond this cap for particularly vulnerable Pacific island states. This would signal a serious commitment to jointly addressing the challenges of climate change, especially for those states whose existence is threatened by rising sea levels. This idea builds on our Climate-Focused Foreign Policy for Australia, where we argued that the new Australian government should "commit to offering vulnerable Pacific Island nations a safe-refuge resettlement program for affected populations if their homelands become no longer habitable due to sea-level rise or other effects of climate change." This will be an interesting and difficult debate for Australia, but a debate that we need to have.
10 June 2022
Janaline Oh's article in the Canberra Times today, entitled National security and future prosperity rely on climate action, highlighted how Australia's failure to lead on climate issues has had a significant negative impact on our international reputation and national security. Janaline is one of our more than 100 former Australian diplomats, development and trade specialists, calling on the government to take immediate, ambitious steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to restore Australia's international standing on this issue. In the article, Janaline argues: "Climate change does not respect national borders. It is a global challenge requiring every nation to pull its weight. It is wrong to claim that, because only around 1.3 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are released in Australia, what we do is irrelevant. Climate action by nations is a matter of political choice: Australia is a wealthy country with the resources to transform its economy and the innovation to do so in a way that we can profitably share with other countries".
28 May 2022
We wrote a letter to the 31st Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, congratulating him on his election and welcoming his emphasis at the Quad meeting in Tokyo on the urgency of addressing climate change. We also welcomed Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong's restatement of Australia's commitment to the Boe Declaration of 2018 and the steps the government of Australia will take to meeting the challenge of climate change in the Pacific.
22 April 2022
Diplomats for Climate Action Now issued a media release today titled Australia's inaction on climate change is costing us friends and influence in the Pacific. Given the current debate over the Solomon Islands-China security agreement it is timely to emphasise that Australia’s position on climate change, especially its refusal to increase emission reduction commitments at the last COP in Glasgow, has contributed to our declining standing among our neighbours in the Pacific. The single gravest threat to the viability of Pacific Islands as sovereign states is climate change.
21st April 2022
Another important article titled Solomons security pact: Sogavare, China and Australia, written by our member Peter Hooton (former High Commissioner to Solomon Islands) was published today in the Lowy Interpreter. Peter emphasises that Australia's greatest foreign policy failure - ever - is actually its failure to address (at both a national and international level) climate change, which poses the gravest single threat to the future viability of Pacific island countries as sovereign states.
18th April 2022
I highly recommend you read Janaline Oh's opinion piece titled "Australian action on climate change and why our national security and future prosperity rely on it", published in the Canberra Times on 18th April 2022. The article is on-line here. It highlights the nexus between climate change, national security and our future prosperity, and emphasises that climate change is a global issue requiring international collaboration and urgent global action. The article summarises very well the concerns of Diplomats for Climate Action Now.
12th April 2022
Together with four other professional and former professional groups we sent a joint open letter to the incoming Prime Minister of Australia calling on the incoming government to recognise climate change as an existential threat requiring immediate national mobilisation. You can read the letter here.
25th March 2022
Our latest monthly update has been emailed to all members. The on-line version can be read here.
24th March 2022
An article entitled "Climate change in the Pacific - what Australia needs to do" by Dip4CAN member Peter Hooton, was published in the Lowy Interpreter. This article highlights that Pacific states have been frustrated and disappointed by Australia’s failure to address the issue which poses the gravest single threat to their future viability as sovereign states. Peter's article proposes Australia adopt a new climate diplomacy for the Pacific which recognises this threat and includes real and deep cuts to Australia’s emissions in the medium (2030) and longer (2050) terms; increases Australia's mitigation and adaptation support across the Pacific; and commits to assisting vulnerable Pacific island populations with viable resettlement options that are acceptable to them, if their homelands were to become uninhabitable.
23rd March 2022
On 31 October 2021 we sent a second letter to the PM, copied to the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, in which we expressed our serious concerns that the government had not committed to stronger emissions cuts by 2030 in advance of COP26. We also urged the government to “make rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions before 2030, matching and even beating the commitments made by our OECD partners”. Last week - 23rd March 2022 - we received a reply from an official in the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources on behalf of the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor. This reply arrived nearly FIVE MONTHS after our letter was sent. You can read the reply here.
Richard Mathews, Convenor of Diplomats for Climate Action Now, gave a speech to The Australian Institute for International Affairs NSW branch on 15 Feb 2022, titled: Why Australia Should be a Global Leader in Climate Action (see text of the speech here). A link to the Youtube video of the event will be available here in the near future.
Melissa Conley Tyler from the Asia-Pacific Development, Diplomacy and Defence Dialogue, recently wrote an article in the Lowy Interpreter titled "Transforming Australian diplomacy for climate leadership" (posted 23 Feb 2022), which supports our Climate-Focused Foreign Policy principles and calls on Australia to take a leading role in climate action.
Have you ever wondered what all the talk is about "climate finance"? It was a big topic at the November COP26 meeting in Glasgow, and it seems some new decisions were made on the issue, or old ones reconfirmed. It's all about how rich, developed nations have an obligation to support the costs of climate adaptation and mitigation for poorer, developing nations, right? If you would like an easy to read, clear and concise explanation of the state of play regarding "climate finance", start off the New Year with this article by Diplomats for Climate Action Now member, Dr Ruth Adler: https://ilareporter.org.au/2022/01/the-glasgow-climate-change-conference-what-next-for-climate-finance-ruth-adler/
14 December 2021
This article, by the convenor of Diplomats for Climate Action Now, was published in the Canberra Times today. Richard Mathews explains that our group of former diplomats are concerned that Australia's low level of ambition on climate change is becoming an obstacle in how we pursue our interests around the world. Once Australia was seen as a leading activist nation in world affairs, a model global citizen in areas as diverse as the Law of the Sea and depletion of the ozone layer. Now the world sees us as a "climate laggard".
Richard refers to our paper, "A climate-focused Foreign Policy for Australia" , where we argue for strong pro-climate policies. We argue that Australia has a choice: decisive domestic action on climate change – as advised by the best scientific and business minds - that will help to mitigate the climate-induced natural disasters that our people and environment are already suffering. It will open significant economic and employment opportunities for Australians to provide the world with low-carbon commodity and manufactured exports as our major international markets increasingly demand. It will secure our reputation as a forward-leaning, reliable international partner with our major allies as well as our neighbours throughout the Indo-Pacific. It will give us the international credibility to push other major emitters to take more ambitious action. We urge all parties to look optimistically to a future where Australia becomes a major supporter for our regional partners as they decarbonise their economies; and we look to Australia becoming a significant renewable energy exporter and provider of environmental and energy services.