Indigenous Torres Strait Islanders have launched a climate change class action against the Australian government over claims it has failed to tackle global warming, risking residents “becoming climate refugees.”
The landmark lawsuit is seeking to pressure the country’s government to take swifter action, implementing steeper cuts to carbon emissions to protect the islanders who are “on the frontline of the climate crisis.”
Boigu’s and Saibai landowners are urging the government to cut carbon emissions so that citizens can live in safety. “from becoming climate refugees.”
The Torres Strait has fewer than 5,000 residents across a collection of 274 low-lying islands between Australia’s mainland and Papua New Guinea. The Torres Strait is the site of Australia’s first climate change lawsuit.
“If you take away our homelands, we don’t know who we are. This is why we have the cultural responsibility of making sure it doesn’t happen.” one of the island’s residents, Paul Kabai, said, adding that “becoming climate refugees means losing everything.”
According to the legal representation of the island, the Torres Strait would be uninhabitable should global temperatures rise more than 1.5° Celsius. According to UN assessments, global temperatures will rise by 2.7° Celsius in 2100 under existing agreements.
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Australia gets the COAL BOOM to its full potential
The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a commitment that the country would achieve net zero emissions in the next 2050 before the global COP26 summit on climate change. The Australian leader’s plan seeks to reach a net zero target in a “practical way” that will neutralize emissions while not crippling the country’s fossil fuel sectors.
Australia’s government has asked the UN to drop the suit, saying it’s already taking adequate measures to combat climate change. The UN has so far not responded to the request.
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